California State Electric Bike Laws, Definition & Legal Operation

 

Definition of Electric Bike:

Per the California (CA) Vehicle Code, electric bicycles are classified as conventional bicycles. Electric bikes must not exceed 1000W and must not exceed 20 mph on level ground. Electric bikes motors must disengage when brake functions are applied and use a switch or mechanism that, when released, will cause motor function to cease.

Licensing and Registration:

Electric bike operators do not need to be licensed. Electric bikes may only be operated by persons aged 16 years and older. Electric bikes do not need to be licensed or registered.

Helmet Law:

Under California state law, anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet.

Where to Ride:

Electric bikes may be ridden on roads as far right as practical.  Electric bikes are not allowed on dedicated bike paths unless the path runs adjacent to a roadway or is posted to allow motorized bicycles.

Additional Restrictions:

California law prohibits any operator of a motorized vehicle (include electric bikes) to use a wireless device unless it is specifically designed to allow hands-free listening and talking and is used in this manner while operating a motorized vehicle.

Any person under the age of 18 that not operate an electric bike using a wireless telephone, even if equipped with hands-free device or using a mobile service device.

Under California state law, cities and counties may pass additional laws and ordinances governing electric bikes.

Disclaimer:
Laws and policies can change at any time rendering the above information outdated and non-applicable. EVELO strongly encourages checking with City, County, State and other local agencies for the most recent laws governing the proper, legal use of electric bicycles in your area.

Source:
California D.O.T.
California DMV – Bike Safety Division 

 

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