Do I need a licence to ride an electric bike on the road?

No – you do not need a licence to ride an electric bike in most jurisdictions.

Licence to ride an electric bike

The BiciMad system.
No licence to ride an electric bike is required in Madrid.

You do not need a licence to ride an approved electric bike in the UK, Europe, China, Canada, Australia, Israel, New Zealand and most states of the United States . For individual US states and other countries check with your local regulators.
Age restrictions, however, do apply in many countries.
Riding any sort of electric bike on the roads of Hong Kong is strictly illegal. Offenders face a fine and maximum penalty of three months imprisonment.

Electric Bicycles are also banned in New York. Fortunately, many more cities have embraced the electric bike. For example, Madrid and several other cities provide electric bikes for public use. Age limits apply but you don’t need a licence.

Where can you ride your Electric Bike

If your bike complies with local regulations it is usually subject to the same rules as a traditional pedal bike. In most cases, you can ride your eBike anywhere you can take a pedal bike. But, there are exceptions. A small number of jurisdictions have specifically excluded electric bikes from cycle routes, national parks and even whole states.

If your electric bike doesn’t comply with the local power limitations and ‘pedal assist’ rules you will need to either register it as a motorcycle/moped or use it solely on private land. You will require a licence to ride an electric bike classed as a motorcycle/moped.

To be classed as a bicycle (and therefore exempt from licensing requirements) your bicycle will need to comply with local regulations regarding:

  • The power output of the electric motor.
  • The need for the cyclist to provide pedal power in addition to the motor input.
  • The electrical assistance reducing or cutting out above certain speeds.
  • Weight of the bike (a factor in a few jurisdictions).

Regulations regarding electric bike use and licencing in Canada and the US vary from one state to another.

A licence to ride an electric bike is currently required in some states of the U.S.

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