Alabama E-bike Laws

Last Edited
January 8, 2022

Alabama E-bike Laws

The state of Alabama is one of the few remaining states that categorize electric bicycles as a “motor-driven cycle”. The state requires e-bike operators to have a license. When it comes to helmet laws, riders under the age of 16 must always wear a helmet when riding an e-bike. 

You may notice that e-bike laws are not as regulated as in the other states that use the model e-bike legislation. So that you can also be familiar with other states e-bike laws, we have included a comparison between Alabama and the usual e-bike laws. 

What is an electric bicycle?

An electric bicycle is a bicycle that is equipped with an electric motor used to assist the rider in propelling the bike forward. There are different variations around the world, but e-bikes are mainly categorized in two types. First is the pedal-assist which needs pedaling in order to be activated. Second is the throttle-mode, which allows the rider to enjoy a moped-style functionality.

Electric bicycles offer a new riding experience for a wide range of people who are not used to cycling, or not physically fit to ride a regular bike. E-bikes are perfect for daily commutes, exercise, and social activities. 

How are e-bikes defined in Alabama?

Alabama is one of the few states who still define electric bicycles under the “motor-driven cycle” category. Due to this, the same rules of the road that apply to traditional bicycles are not applicable to electric bicycles.

According to Alabama State Traffic Code, the category of motor-driven cycle covers every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, that has a motor:

  • That has less than five brake horsepower 
  • That does not exceed 150 cubic centimeter engine displacement
  • That weighs less than 200 pounds when fully equipped

The definition also includes every bicycle with a motor attached --- an electric bicycle for example. E-bikes do not have any restrictions on the motor power of the throttle. 

Do I need a license to ride?

Alabama e-bike laws belong to the group of six states that require a license to ride an e-bike. Vehicles under the  motor-driven cycle classification are subject to licensure and registration. However, you only need a license and there is no need to register your electric bicycle. Here’s what you need to know about the license requirement:

  • At age 16, any person can apply for a class “M” driver license for motorcycle or motor-driven cycle operation.
  • A person of at least 14 years of age can apply for a motor-driven cycle only license. This is a restriction “B” license for ages 14 and 15 only. 
  • The restricted motor-driven cycle license is valid for 4 years.
  • If the person who applied for a restriction “B” license, he/she can shift to class “M” to ease the restriction.

You only need the restriction “B” license to operate your e-bike. It is not necessary to transfer to a class “M” if you are not planning to ride a motorcycle regularly. 

Are there age restrictions?

Since the minimum age to get a license for a motor-driven cycle is 14, all e-bike operators must be at least 14 years old to legally ride an electric bike.

Is wearing a helmet required?

Alabama implements helmet requirements for riders and passengers under the age of 16. Alabama has the same helmet laws with Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and D.C.

Are there any equipment requirements?

YES. You must follow these requirements when operating an e-bike:

  • Have your e-bike equipped with fully functional brakes when riding on the highway
  • Wear a helmet if under the age of 16
  • Wear shoes while riding
  • From any time half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise, all e-bikes must have sufficient lighting that is visible within 1,000 feet ahead

You have to ensure that you always follow these requirements because brakes are subject to the inspection and approval or disapproval of the Director of Public Safety. Helmets for e-bikes must meet the standards of Alabama law.

What is the proper way of riding e-bikes?

Electric bicycles are easier to pedal because of the help from the motor. Because of this, many riders may be tempted to go faster, or beginners may be surprised at the speed when riding for the first time. 

The higher speeds of e-bikes are attributed to certain accidents where e-bike riders are involved. The lack of specific regulations, guidelines, and bicycle lanes also increases the risk of accidents. This is why safety is always the utmost priority when riding your e-bike.  Here are general guidelines on motor-driven cycle (e-bike included) riding:

  • You cannot ride your electric bike on sidewalks and bike paths.
  • You must only ride upon the permanent and regular seat intended for the rider.
  • You should not carry any other person unless your e-bike is designed for carrying a passenger.
  • You must not carry any package or bundle that prevents you from having both hands on the handlebars.
  • You must always wear shoes when riding your e-bike.
  • Your handlebars should not be 15 inches in height above your seat.
  • You cannot attach your e-bike to any other vehicle on a roadway.
  • You should avoid overtaking faster vehicles.
  • You should not ride two abreast, unless it is permitted on that certain path.
  • You must always follow the traffic, do not counterflow to avoid a head-on collision.
  • Always use hand signals when preparing to make a turn, or a stop.

What happens if I violate the law?

You could face a potential misdemeanor charge if you violate any Alabama bicycle law including Alabama E-bike Laws. The state follows contributory negligence rules when it comes to personal injury cases. Because of this, you cannot recover damages even if you are slightly at fault for the bike accident. In this case, you might want to hire an experienced personal injury attorney.

Summary table

StateIdentityMax speedMax powerHelmetMinimum ageDriver’s license
AlabamaMotor-driven cycleNot specifiedNo restrictionsUnder age 1614At least restriction “B”

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