Do Electric Bikes Need to Be Registered? A State-by-state Registration Guide Plus Other Rules to Consider

Most countries have rules regarding e-bikes as they are equipped with electric motors. Whether you have a new e-bike or need to be made aware of the rules, you may have questions about whether you need a license or registration to ride. 

Even though many states have the same requirements and laws regarding these bikes, a few factors will determine whether you need to register. This article will provide everything you need to know, including a state-by-state guide. 

Key Takeaways

  • An e-bike is considered a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with an electric motor and operable pedals.
  • You will need to determine the class of e-bike you have and look up your state and local laws to know if you need to register your bike. 
  • Only about ten states require your e-bike to be registered.

What Is Considered an E-bike in the U.S.?

Before registering your e-bike, the first thing to determine is if what you have is considered an electric bike. Note that e-bikes are technically called low-speed electric bicycles and refer to two or three-wheeled vehicles.  

More specifically, a low-speed electric bicycle is a vehicle with fully operable pedals that has two or three wheels and an electric motor with 750 watts of power or lower. The maximum speed of these e-bikes when only relying on motor power is 20 mph or lower. An electric bicycle is considered a motor vehicle if it goes over 28 mph.  

What Are the Different Classes of E-bikes?

When looking up local laws and licensing requirements, there are three terms you will most likely come across, including class one, two, and three e-bikes. 

In this section, I will explain each class of e-bike. Being familiar with the different classes is essential when figuring out e-bike registration. 

Class One

Class one e-bikes have a maximum speed of 20 mph and have no throttle. These models are also only pedal-assisted, meaning the motor only provides power when the rider is peddling. Unlike other models, you can’t apply motor power while coasting.

Class Two

Like class one bikes, class two e-bikes also have a maximum speed of 20 mph. However, unlike class one, class two bikes are throttle-assisted. This means the bike can be powered solely by the motor; you don’t need to pedal to utilize the bike. Once you reach the speed limit of 20 mph, the motor will stop working.

Class Three

Class three electric bikes are more similar to class one than two as they have a pedal assist system. What differentiates class three from all the others is that these models have a max speed of 28 mph. Once you reach this speed, the electric assist motor will stop working. 

How to Know If Your Electric Bike Requires Registration

So, do electric bikes need to be registered? While most states don’t require registration or a driver’s license to ride electric bicycles, it all depends on local authorities, laws, and the type of electric bike you have.  

Determine What Class Your E-bike Is 

Before registering your e-bike, you must know what class it is. While it will depend on your specific city and area, most class three bikes have different rules than class one and two. 

While helmet requirements differ between different classes, you may need to register your bike if it goes over a certain speed. Most electric vehicles requiring registration will be class three as they can hit higher speeds than one and two. 

Look up Your State Regulations

Even though many states have similar rules, you’ll need to look up your state regulations to know if you need a license and registration to ride.  

Furthermore, you must always check with local authorities and local law for your area, as rules can differ between cities and towns in one state.

StateWhat Kind of Vehicle the State Considers an E-bike to BeWhere You Can RideRequirements to Ride
Alabama Motor-driven cycleRoad onlyOperators license, bike registration, must wear a helmet, must be 14+
AlaskaMotor-driven cycleRoad onlyOperators license, bike registration, must wear a helmet, must be 14+
Arizona Regular bicycleAnywhere (Sidewalks, bike paths and roads)N/A
ArkansasRegular bicycle AnywhereMust wear a helmet if riding a class 3 e-bike under 21, must be 17+ to ride class 3 e-bike
CaliforniaRegular bicycleBike paths and roadsMust be 16+ to ride class three e-bikes, must wear helmet while riding class 3 e-bikes
Colorado Regular bicycleAnywhereMust wear helmet if riding a class three e-bike under 21, must be 17+ to ride class 3 e-bike
Connecticut Regular bicycleRoads, bike paths and multi-use pathways Must wear a helmet, only people 16+ can ride class 3 bikes
DelawareRegular bicycle AnywhereMust wear helmet if under 18
FloridaRegular bicycleRoads and bike pathsMust be 16+ to ride an e-bike, must wear helmet
GeorgiaRegular bicycleRoads and bike paths Must wear a helmet, must be 15+ to ride class 3 bikes
HawaiiLow speed electric bicycleAnywhereMust pay $30 registration fee if 18+, must wear a helmet if younger than 16
IdahoRegular bicycleRoads and bike paths N/A
Illinois Low speed electric bicycleRoads and bike pathsN/A
Indiana Regular bicycleAnywhere Helmets required under 18
IowaRegular bicycle Road onlyN/A
Kansas Electric-assisted bicycleRoad onlyN/A
KentuckyRegular bicycleAnywhereN/A
LouisianaMotorized bicycle Road and bike pathsOperator’s licence and bike registration
MaineRegular bicycleRoad and bike pathsHelmets required under 16, must be 16+ to ride class 2 and 3
MarylandRegular bicycleAnywhereN/A
MassachusettsMotorized bicycle AnywhereOperator’s license, registration, must have helmet and be 16+
MichiganRegular bicycleBike paths (class one), road only (class two and three)Helmets required under 18 
MinnesotaElectric-assisted bicycleRoad only 15+
MississippiBicycles with motors attachedAnywhereN/A
Missouri Motorized bicycles Road and bike paths 16+
Montana Electric-assisted bicycleAnywhereN/A
NebraskaElectric-assisted bicyclesRoad onlyN/A
NevadaElectric bicycle Road and bike pathsN/A
New HampshireRegular bicyclesRoad and bike pathsHelmets required under 18 and must be 16+ on class 3 bikes
New JerseyLow-speed electric bicycleRoad and bike pathsN/A
New MexicoMopedsRoad onlyOperators license and registration, must be 15+
New YorkMotor-driven cyclesRoad onlyN/A
North CarolinaElectric-assisted bicyclesAnywhere16+
North DakotaMotorized bicycleRoad and bike pathsOperators license and registration
OhioElectric bicycleRoad and bike pathsHelmets required for class 3
OklahomaRegular bicycleRoad only16+ to ride class three
OregonElectric-assisted bicycleRoad and bike paths16+
PennsylvaniaPedal cycles with electric assistAnywhereN/A
Rhode IslandElectric motorized bicycle AnywhereN/A
South CarolinaMopedRoad onlyOperator’s license and registration
South DakotaElectric bicycleRoad and bike paths16+ for class 3
TennesseeElectric bicycleRoad and bike pathsHelmets required and must be 14+ for class three
TexasRegular bicycleAnywhere15+ for class 3
UtahRegular bicycleRoad and bike pathsN/A
VermontMotor-assisted bicycleRoad and bike pathsN/A
VirginiaElectric power-assisted bicycleAnywhere14+
WashingtonRegular bicyclesRoad and bike paths16+
West VirginiaMopedsRoad and bike pathsHelmets required, must be 15+ and have operators license and registration
WisconsinMotor bicycles Road onlyLicense and registration, must be 16+
Wyoming Regular bicyclesRoad and bike pathsN/A

Where Can I Legally Ride My E-bike?

While you can refer to the above guide to find out where you can ride your e-bike and whether you need a license, sometimes the classes of electric bikes affect where you can legally ride. Let’s take a closer look at the most common rules for the different classes.

Class One and Two E-bikes

Most low-speed electric bicycles belonging to classes two and three are seen as regular bikes and are allowed on bike paths and bike lanes on the road. Depending on rules set by local authorities, you can sometimes ride them on sidewalks and shared pathways. 

Class Three E-bikes

Since these are sometimes considered to be closer to motor vehicles than bikes, class three’s are sometimes street legal, meaning you can ride them in road lanes. In other cases, these models are seen as similar to classes one and two and are only allowed in bike lanes and bike paths.   

Other Electric Bike Rules to Consider

Now that you know more about state laws regarding electric bikes, there are a few other rules to consider before hopping on your new electric bike. 

Do You Need a License to Ride E-bikes?

One of the most common questions cyclists have is if they need a license to ride an e-bike as they are equipped with an electric motor. As always, this will depend on the state and the rules of the local government. 

Even so, multiple states have similar rules. The majority of states do not require riders to have a driver’s license. Only nine states require those riding an electric bike to have a valid driver’s license.

Are There Age Restrictions for Riding E-bikes?

Since some electric bikes are more similar to motor vehicles than regular bikes, it would make sense for some states to have age restrictions. Approximately 25 states have age restrictions ranging from 14 to 17. 

While most age restrictions mean that only those above the age limit can ride, there are also rules regarding the cyclist’s age when it comes to helmets. For instance, New Hampshire requires cyclists under 18 to wear helmets. 

Furthermore, some restrictions are directly related to the type of electric bike one rides. For instance, there are rules in a few states regarding class three bikes. Since their top speed is higher than other models, riders need to be a certain age in some areas to ride them. 

Do I Have to Wear a Bike Helmet?

Similar to other rules, helmet laws will differ from state to state. About 18 states require riders to wear helmets, whether that is all riders or riders of a certain age. 

For example, in West Virginia, helmets are required for everyone, while riders in Michigan only have to wear helmets if they are under 18. It’s also important to remember that while your state may not require you to wear a helmet, there may be local laws specific to your area that have different helmet requirements. 


Electric bikes may need to be registered depending on where you live, depending on local regulations. You may also need a helmet and a valid operator’s license. 

Ultimately, to determine whether you need to register your bike, you’ll need to know what class your e-bike is and look up state and local laws. 

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