Many States in the U.S. have adopted a three-class system to describe the different levels of electric bikes. The classes are as follows:
- Class 1: pedal assist only; maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.
- Class 2: throttle assist only; maximum motor-powered speed of 20 mph.
- Class 3: pedal assist only; maximum assisted speed of 28 mph.
It can be clearly seen that class 1 and 2 are regulated like regular bicycles and will follow the same rules and be allowed to use the same paths and infrastructure as regular bicycles. However, because class 3 e-bikes are capable of higher speeds, they have extra regulations and require additional equipment, although, they are still technically considered a bicycle. Examples include long range electric bikes such as the Himiway Cruiser and Himiway Step-Thru.
Currently, as stated by U.S. Federal Law, class 3 e-bikes have a minimum age of 16 years old to operate and require a helmet. Class 3 e-bikes are also not allowed on standard bike paths. The reason that class 3 e-bikes are allowed to travel at speeds up to 28 mph is because the Consumer Product Safety Commission has clarified that the law does allow e-bikes to travel faster than 20 mph when using foot pedaling and the e-bike’s motor power at the same time.
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