Iowa Ebike Laws — What Are The Restrictions?

Last Edited
May 8, 2022

E-bike sales are expected to expand by about 10 percent in 2020 to about 15 percent by 2024. The regulation has not remained the same as in most emerging technologies. Recent legislative changes have seen a huge influx of activity across states on the issue and among the reason is the pandemic where people are looking for alternative means of transportation.

If you recently owned an e-bike and want to ride around the multi-use paths or trails for electric bicycles, make sure to read this article first as this provides useful information for Iowa Ebike laws.

Iowa Electric Bicycle Legislation: Newest Update

The state legislature recently adopted House File 493, which regulates electronic bikes. Bikes that have two or more wheels equipped with pedals have an electric engine that is not more than 250 horsepower and is not more than 650. The bill further exempts electric low-speed vehicles from a definition by state legislation that excludes bikes.

What's the definition of electric bikes in Iowa?

Iowa defines an electric bicycle as a machine having a saddle and fully functioning pedals, and electric batteries under 750W. The maximum allowed speed for flat surfaces with a single engine is 20 miles per hour.

Registration, license, and insurance requirements — Is it needed in Iowa?

Registration, license, or insurance requirements are not needed in the state of Iowa for you to ride an electric bicycle.

Licensing and operation of bicycles

At least six states in the country are required by law to operate an electric motorbike. Utah and Vermont have recently withdrawn requirements on motorcycle registrations and licenses. Several countries, including Alaska and Alabama, which define an electronic bicycle as such, still require operators to operate their own motorcycles.

Are there any age restrictions for riding an electric bike in Iowa?

A person under the age of 16 is not permitted to use an electric motorized bike.


Iowa Ebike Laws Infographic
Iowa Ebike Laws Infographic

The three-tiered classification of e-bikes

In some countries, the three-tier system of classification is typically excluded. However, all states in the United States have three-tier classification systems. E-bike labels must include classification numbers, high-assistance speed, and motor wattage.

Like most states in the United States, the state of Iowa also adapts three-tiered e-bike classes, which are:

Class 1 - A motor-driven bicycle that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.

Class 2 - bicycle equipped with a throttle-actuated motor that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.

Class 3 - Class 3 e-bikes are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 28 mph.

Related topic: What Is An Ebike?

E-bike operation on multi-use paths

Some federal law requiring e-bikes to be regulated on bicycle paths and greenways is specific to Arizona, Minnesota, Utah, Washington. Electric bikes have been established under the Delaware, Iowa & Nebraska definition of bicycle, thus requiring no distinction in the operation of trails.

Vermont explains that motorcycle bicycles are treated as bicycles and have the same duties and responsibilities as bicycles. Be sure to always check your local state's rules and regulations with regard to the use of multiple paths and e-bike operations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are electric bikes allowed in Iowa?

Local lands law is often changed and varies from state to state. In Iowa, the term bike has the meaning that it is an e-bike if its motor is under 700w, whose peak torque is less than 20mph with motor power alone, and with completely operational power e-bicycles can only be seen on street paths.

Is 1000W e-bike legal?

What is the legality of a 1000W Ebike? Six states allow bikes with a maximum capacity of 1000W: Georgia - K, Minnesota - Oklahoma - Oregon, and Virginia. The current limits for power on an electric bicycle have been eliminated.

What are the best bike paths and trails in Iowa?

Iowa has wide-ranging spots for bike trails that are scattered around the state. They have a lot in common which is having fresh and ecstatic sceneries the only difference is the experience that every bike path and bike trail offers. Whether you're going for e Mtb or any decent electric bicycles, these lists are great for your e-bike riding experience.

High Trestle Trail

The High Trestle Trail is a point-to-point trail spanning from Ankeny to Woodward, which has 40.1 km. It's among the best because it's the longest and highest pedestrian bridge in Iowa and the world.

It's also family-friendly and ideal for beginners because the roads are fully paved. One of the best experiences here is to ride or walk across Des Moines River Valley through the bridge. However, during peak hours, this can be heavily trafficked, and low-speed electric bikes are ideal in this trail.

Kruidenier Trail

The Kruidenier Trail is a 3.4 km loop which is located near Des Moines. What's great about this is you can see the lake view of Gray's Lake at 360 degrees. The bike trail is great for kids and for friends or family who want to enjoy a simple yet fun experience while riding on your e-bike. They also offer different kinds of activities.

Wabash Trace Nature Trail

For bicyclists who want to experience ultimate bike trails, the Wabash Trace Nature Trail is a must-try experience. Spanning over 100.1 km, which starts from Council Buffs, Iowa, to Blanchard, Iowa, this bike trail may be used as training for enduro or if you are up to the challenge to traverse rough terrain and complex roads.

You might want to check our Best Hill Climbing Electric Bicycles.

Important Note:

All of our e-bike rules and regulations are based on each local state's e-bike laws. In addition, our information and details regarding these e-bike laws are not permanent and are subject to change, especially when there are updates and missed out details.

We highly encourage that you check with local authorities or check the website of your State, County, City, and other agencies.

See more information about bike laws in every state with our article: Ebike Regulations State Specific

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