The New 2024 Regulations for Electric Bikes


Can you ride an electric-assist bike like a conventional bicycle? Maximum speed, registration, insurance, helmet, approval… In 2024, the United States of America established a regulatory framework for e-cycling. We’ve broken down the e-bike law in three States here to help you navigate your e-bike legally.

What Is the Maximum Speed for Electric-Assist Bicycles Under the 2024 Legislation?

In California

In accordance with standard 312.5 and 21207.5 of the California Vehicle Code (CVC), legislation authorizes electric bikes with an electrical power rating (which is different from the motor power rating) of no more than 750 W, i.e., a speed of 28 mph. Above this speed, it’s up to the user to pedal without assistance if they wish to go faster. So there’s nothing to stop you from going faster than 28 mph, but you won’t have assistance.

Fast electric bikes with a speed above 28 mph (known as “speedbikes,” “speedelec,” or “speed pedelecs”) are also authorized under certain additional conditions. They must be registered and insured as mopeds and require an appropriate driver’s license.

In New-York

In New York State, speed regulations depend on the posted speed limit in most places. However, in urban and residential areas, speed limits are generally lower, often around 25 mph, while on main roads speed limits are higher, ranging from 55 mph to 65 mph or higher.

In Texas

Similar to New York State, in Texas, speed limits for electric bikes depend on the speed limit of the road you’re on.

What Does the 2024 Law Say About Powerful Electric Bikes (Exceeding 28 mph)?

In California

In California, this type of electric bike is treated as a moped. You’ll need to take out moped insurance and hold an M1 or M2 driver’s license.

Bikes must also have a license plate (Source: California Vehicle Code (CVC)). It will be considered a fast electrically-assisted bicycle, and therefore a moped. You’ll need to comply with the Highway Code for this type of vehicle and wear a helmet.

The minimum age for using this type of bike in California is 16. For more information, please read our article on speedbike regulations.

In New-York State

Above 28 mph, your electrically-assisted bicycle is no longer considered a bicycle, but a moped. However, if you own a bike that can reach speeds of over 28 mph, you will need insurance.

The minimum age for riding a bike that exceeds 28 mph is 16. Helmets are not compulsory, but are strongly recommended. Above this speed, cyclists must carry their certificate of conformity, which is mandatory for electrically-assisted bikes over 28 mph.

Speed pedelecs must be ridden by a person aged 16 or over. The rider must hold a type M or MJ driver’s license. The electric bike must be insured and have a license plate. Please note that the bike’s approval certificate is required to obtain this plate.

In Texas

The use of slow electrically-assisted bicycles (28 mph maximum) is reserved for people aged 14 or over. If you or your child would like to have a bike of this type, you won’t need an M driver’s license (moped license).

If you’re using a fast electric bike (28 mph maximum), you’ll need to be 16 and a category M or MJ driver’s license.

Bike Path or Road: Where Should an Electric Bike Go?

In California

Electric bike users traveling at speeds of up to 28 mph are permitted to ride on bike paths in California. They are considered regular bicycles and are subject to the same traffic rules as traditional bicycles.

Where cycle paths are available, they must be used by the cyclist. If none are available, you must ride on the road, keeping to the right.

If you’re riding an electric bike traveling faster than 28 mph, it’s possible to ride on bike paths, but some municipalities may restrict Class 3 e-bikes to bike paths due to their higher speed, while others may allow them with additional restrictions. Keep this in mind if you usually use this type of lane.

In New-York State

Like in California, electric bikes not exceeding 28 mph are permitted on bike paths and can ride on the road it there is no bike path.

If they exceed 28 mph, they’re also permitted, unless the municipality where you’re riding has specific regulations regarding high speeds.

In Texas

Similar to California and New York, users with electric bikes exceeding 28 mph need to determine whether they can ride on the bike path. If your bike is going slower, you can use the bike path, or the road if there isn’t one.

Does My Electric Bike Need to Be Registered?

Only high-speed electric bikes (which go up to 28 mph) are required to have a license plate and are considered to be mopeds.

Homologation and Conformity: What Does the Legislation Say?

Whether you’re in California, New-York State, or Texas, and whether you’re using a fast or slow bike, you must have a certificate of homologation, which stipulates that your bike complies with your State’s standards.

If you’re wondering how to find out whether an electric bike is homologated, you should know that the homologation certificate is generally supplied by the seller. If this isn’t the case, you can still have your electric bike homologated by certified bodies such as CARB, NYSDOT, or TTI. Their aim is to check that your bike complies with American standards and to ensure user safety.

Does an Electric Bike Need Insurance?

In California

Although specific insurance for traditional electric bikes is not compulsory, it is recommended. For fast bikes, moped insurance is required, as we explained in our guide to electric bike insurance. If you own a fast electric bike, you’ll need moped insurance. In the event of damage to a third party, the insurance will cover the costs.

In New-York State

In the state of New York, electric bikes going over 28 mph are classified as mopeds and must be registered and insured accordingly. This means they need liability insurance, similar to other motor vehicles.

In Texas

In Texas, electric bikes are not subject to the same insurance requirements as motor vehicles. There are no specific insurance requirements for electric bikes in Texas, regardless of their speed capabilities.

Are Helmets Mandatory for Electric Bikes?

In California, New-York State and Texas

In these three states, wearing a moped-type helmet is compulsory for users of fast electric bicycles under 18. Helmets are not compulsory for slow electric bikes, but are still highly recommended to avoid shocks and head injuries.

Are Lights Compulsory on an Electric Bike?

In California, New-York State and Texas

White lights are compulsory on all bicycles in these states. Reflectors must be fitted on the pedals, front wheel, and rear wheel to help you find your way around. A red and a white reflector must also be present on the rear of the bike.

When using your electric bike at night or at dawn, lights must illuminate the front of your bike, and a red light must be present at the rear so that other users can spot you.

Final Tips

With a bicycle, whether electric or not, you’re not protected by a shell or a housing. It’s best to be as vigilant as possible. We strongly encourage you to comply with electric bike legislation and not to put yourself in unnecessary danger. Above all, maximize your visibility (lighting, high-visibility vest, reflective elements on your arm, flashing helmet, etc.).

As you’ve seen, legislation differs to a greater or lesser extent from statee to state.

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