Kansas e-bike laws

Last Edited
January 8, 2022

Kansas e-bike laws

Christian Angelo

You may find the general bicycling laws in Kansas a little peculiar. As a cyclist, you are given the same rights and duties as vehicles. However, your bike is not considered a vehicle when it comes to traffic laws like stop lights, using safety gear, and drunk driving. 

If you have an electric bike, there’s no need to worry because e-bikes are treated like regular bicycles in Kansas. You just have to remember some rules on places where you can ride, things to do when riding, a helmet requirement, and some traffic laws pertaining to e-bikes. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re taking an e-bike ride in Kansas.

How are electric bikes defined in Kansas?

An electric assisted bicycle or e-bike is defined as “a two-wheeled device with fully operable pedals, an electric motor with a power output not exceeding 1000w, and has a maximum speed on a paved level surface of 20mph” 

The state of Kansas does not use the three-tier classification system for electric bicycles. The total number of states that use this three-class system is 36. Kansas may become a part of this group soon as a House Bill regarding e-bike definition and regulations was introduced in March 2021. It seeks to implement the three-tier system for a more refined definition.

This House Bill is a significant start for implementing the model e-bike law that is in line with federal standards.

Do I need a license to operate an e-bike?

The short answer is NO. Since e-bikes are regulated like bicycles, you won’t need to have a license to ride your electric bike. You also won’t have to register your bike or apply for insurance. This is also one of the reasons why e-bikes are perfect for alternative transportation. 

Can e-bikes be used by all ages?

Yes, there are no minimum age restrictions when it comes to operating an electric bike in the state of Kansas. However, it is advisable that parents must watch their children carefully when riding an electric bicycle. 

Are helmets required?

If you are below 18 years old, you are required to wear a helmet whenever you ride. While Kansas is a bit loose in requiring other safety equipment, it is still recommended to wear additional safety gears as they may save your life.

So where can I ride my electric bike?

You may ride your e-bike on city streets but you have to ride on the most right side of the lane unless it is unsafe to do so. You cannot ride your electric bike on county highways and interstates. You should also be able to use it on bike paths, unless there is a local law that says otherwise.

Aside from remembering where you can ride, you should also keep the Idaho stop law in mind. Basically, the Idaho stop means that you can proceed to a defective red stop light that fails to turn to green in a reasonable period of time because it failed to detect your arrival. The purpose of this law is to keep traffic moving.

Are e-bikes allowed on trails?

In 2019, The Commission on Kansas Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism approved the use of e-bikes at Kansas state parks. When it comes to trail use, you can ride your e-bikes if the trail allows regular bicycle use. You can check the official website of the Department of Wildlife and Parks to see the complete list of trails for e-bike use.

Things to remember when riding

  • You are expected to ride on the most right side of the road, unless it is unsafe to proceed, there are hazards to avoid, or making a turn
  • You can ride on the left side of the road if it is a one-way highway that has at least two marked lanes
  • It is mandatory to use the available bike paths beside the road
  • There’s no state law that prohibits bikes on sidewalks, but this depends on local laws so make sure to check first.
  • There is a law that prohibits vehicle doors from being opened on the same side as the moving traffic if it’s dangerous to do so. This prevents cyclists from getting hit when someone opens their doors. If you get hit because of this, you can report it to an enforcer.
  • Kansas also observes the three feet passing rule wherein a driver must pass a cyclist within a distance of at least three feet in between.
  • No cyclists should ride more than two abreast when riding on the road.
  • You are prohibited from attaching yourself to a car while riding your e-bike.
  • E-bikes at night must have a front white light lamp that is visible within five hundred feet. A rear light must be visible within six hundred feet.
  • Your pedals must have reflectors for your e-bike to be legal.
  • You cannot carry a package that would make it impossible for at least one hand to be kept on the handlebars.

Safe riding tips

  • Make sure that your seat is properly attached to avoid losing balance.
  • Always keep your e-bike in good condition.
  • Do not go against the traffic. Ride along with it.
  • Be careful when overtaking vehicles that are slower than you.
  • Do not carry more people than your e-bike is designed for.
  • Always wear a helmet even though it is not required.
  • While drunk driving does not cover e-bikes, you should never ride when under the influence.
  • You should not text or call when you are riding. 
  • Ride defensively and carefully at all times. Use hand signals to indicate movement.
  • In an unfortunate event of a crash, check out this video from Global Cycling Network to know what to do.

The takeaway

Electric bike laws in Kansas are quite lax compared to other states such as California or Oklahoma. This does not mean that you should ride without care. Keep in mind that the road belongs to everyone and you should be mindful of others as well. Always remember the guidelines so you can have a fun and legal e-bike ride!

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