It’s very important to note that different states in the USA have different electric bike laws. In addition, these vehicles haven’t been around for a long time, which means they can sometimes be a grey area. To remain safe, you need to remain informed.
How does the state of Tennessee declares what an electric bike is.
The state of Tennessee declares that electric bikes are motorized bicycles with two (three) wheels and a 750W motor at most. In addition to that, they are categorized into three classes:
- electric bikes that reach 20mph max using a pedal-assist motor
- electric bikes that reach 20mph using a motor that stops when the before mentioned maximum is reached
- electric bikes that assist when you’re pedaling, only until you stop or reach the maximum velocity of 28 mph
Now that you know whether your vehicle falls under the “electric bike” category, let’s discuss some key points that you need to know about the Tennessee electric bike laws.
How powerful can my bike be? The motor of your electric bike shouldn’t be any more powerful than 720W.
Do I need a license or insurance? If you are over 16, you can drive without any restriction, while those over 14 (yet under 16) require a restricted license. With this license, they can ride during the day, but only within a 7-mile radius from their home.
Do I need to wear a helmet? Yes, all riders do. Besides general safety, it’s important to obey the law.
Are there age restrictions to look out for? Unfortunately, yes! Besides the license mentioned in the paragraph above, the bikers enjoying their class three (see the categorization above) bike need to be over 14 if they want to ride on public spaces - streets and highways.
Can I ride on the road? Yes, you can. All roadways are allowed, as well as recreational trails made for bicycles. However, you’re not allowed to ride on the sidewalk.
Can I modify my bike? Of course, you can, but you may not change the bike’s speed capability, especially if you’ll be uncategorized (according to the three classes above) after you do.
Do I ride in the same direction as traffic? Yes, you should always be on the right-hand side of the trail you’re riding on.
Do bike riders need to obey all the traffic signs? Yes, just like car drivers - all signs and signals need to be obeyed.
Do I need white lights? Yes, you need to have a source of white light that casts light visible from at least 500 feet of distance. Besides that, you also need a ref reflector/lamp on the rear portion of the bike, also visible from at least 500 feet.
Are there any forbidden stunts? Of course - anything that might endanger others. So, for example, you cannot cling to cars or do stunts on highways unless there is a specific portion of the road for such activities.
Make sure to find out whether you fall into the categories mentioned above, and then obey the simple rules. Always make sure to visit your county’s local police stations for more updated info.