In 2019, an act regarding electric bikes was signed into law. The swift and prompt enactment of the law brought joy to the e-bicycling community. In Maine, electric bicycles are given appropriate regulation and specific definition. If you are living in Maine, or planning to take a ride there, here’s what you need to know about e-bike regulations.
The rise in the number of e-bike users are caused by several factors. People ride their e-bikes to be healthy. Families use cargo e-bikes to transport their children or bond with them. Recreational activities with social groups are held once in a while. Using e-bikes as an alternative form of transportation is eco-friendly, practical, and sustainable.
The growing popularity of e-bikes caused the e-bike laws to be implemented.
In summary, Maine’s e-bike laws:
Electric bicycles are defined as a bicycle equipped with a 2 or 3 wheels, fully operable pedals, an electric motor of less than 750 watts, equipped with a speedometer, and belongs to one of the three e-bike classes:
These definitions are very important because the term “e-bicycle” is often confused with mopeds, motorized scooters, or motor vehicles before the law was enacted. E-bikes are different from motorcycles or motorized vehicles that are fueled with gasoline because e-bikes are powered by electricity.
The law specifies that e-bike manufacturers and distributors shall affix a permanent label indicating the class number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage of an e-bike. No person shall tamper with or modify the e-bike to the extent that it exceeds the speed it was designed for and sold. Once an e-bike is modified, it loses the rights and protections dedicated to e-bike users.
The law ensures that all e-bikes must comply with equipment and manufacturing requirements for bicycles adopted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. This increases the safety of all Maine e-bike riders.
Generally, class 1 and 2 e-bike operators are given the same rights, travel privileges and duties as human-powered bicycle riders with some exceptions. Both classes are allowed on roadways and public ways. However, the local authority that has jurisdiction over a bicycle path may regulate or prohibit the use of both classes on certain bicycle paths.
Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are prohibited from any bike paths and trails that are designated for non-motorized activities and portions that are natural in surface. The power of local authority over regulation and prohibition is also applicable here.
For Class 3 e-bike operation, you can only ride it on any bicycle path that is within a highway or roadway. You can also ride it if the local authority or state agency permits so. Make sure to check your local laws regularly to avoid any violation.
Children below sixteen years old are prohibited from operating Class 2 and 3 e-bikes. The law requires children under sixteen years of age to wear a fully secure helmet whenever riding as an operator or a passenger on an e-bike. E-bikes are not subject to license, insurance, and registration requirements.
The state of Maine now belongs to the group of states that have clear and concrete definitions and guidelines for electric bicycles. There are currently 44 states, and the District of Columbia, who have set specific definitions for e-bikes. The remaining states usually incorporate e-bikes along with mopeds, or motorized vehicles.
Maine also uses the three-tier classification system, just like 25 other states. For helmet laws, 25 states have at least helmet guidelines for both riders and passengers. Note that e-bike laws vary significantly from state-to-state. To know more about e-bike laws in the US, check out our detailed list of all state specific ebike laws as well as the National Conference of State Legislatures and PeopleForBikes.
E-bike laws are implemented for a reason. Before taking a ride in another state, make sure that you are familiar with the state-specific laws of the state you are riding. You don’t want to end up committing violations or paying possible fees.
Safety equipment is essential when riding your e-bike. The simple act of wearing a helmet increases your overall safety. Adding lights to your e-bike allows you to have increased visibility at night, or in the rain. You can also equip your e-bike with an audible signal like a horn or bell.
In 2019, Maine joined the group of states which implements specific e-bike laws. The rise of numbers in the e-bike community is one of the reasons for implementing it. An electric bicycle offers health, recreation, travel, and environmental benefits. E-bikes are classified in three classes.
The law also addresses consumer protection, modification, age and helmet requirements, and permitted roads to travel to. You should always follow the law because it is the right thing to do. When you ride responsibly, you become safer on the road. As always, have a safe and fun trip!