Christian Angelo 9-20-21
In 2019, Maryland adopted a new legislation that establishes certain classes of electric bicycles, lays out guidelines to where bicycles can be ridden, establishes a minimum age requirement for a class 3 e-bike operator, requires a permanently visible label on e-bikes, and calls for e-bike safety compliance with federal regulations.
In this article, you’ll learn about the new e-bike laws in the state of Maryland.
Here’s a quick summary of the objectives of the new legislation:
An electric bicycle is a with the following characteristics:
1. Designed to be operated by human power with the assistance of an electric motor
2. Equipped with fully operable pedals
3. Has two or three wheels
4. Has a motor with a rating of 750 watts or less
5. Meets the requirements of the three classes
The main differences between these classes are the available electric assistance and top assisted speed. Class 1 e-bikes only provide electric assistance when the rider is pedaling and it ceases to provide at 20 miles per hour. Class 2 e-bikes can provide electric assistance whether the rider is pedaling or not and it ceases to provide at 20 miles per hour. Class 3 e-bikes only provide electric assistance when the rider is pedalign and it ceases to provide at 28 miles per hour.
The new law removes electric bicycles from the definition of “off-highway recreational vehicle”, giving e-bikes new guidelines for operation. Here are the key points for e-bike operation:
Starting January 1, 2020, all manufacturers and distributors of e-bikes are now required to affix a permanent, visible, standardized label that indicates the classification, top assisted speed, and motor wattage of the bike. This label must be printed in Arial, at least 9 point type.
No person shall tamper or modify the e-bike specs included in the label unless that person updates or replaces it with a correct one.
All e-bikes must meet the standards adopted by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission. E-bikes must be fully functional in the manner that the electric motor disengages or ceases to function when the brakes are applied, the rider stops pedalign (Class 1 and 3), and the top assisted speed is reached.
A speedometer, in miles per hour, must be equipped on all class 3 electric bicycles.
There are also state park policies in Maryland. Before taking your e-bike to a state park, make sure that you have read all its policies. State park policies include:
Maryland follows the 3-tier system just like 25 other states. More states are adopting this classification system because e-bikes are becoming more prominent nowadays, thus, needing more specific regulatory guidelines.
Maryland also implements helmet requirements just like 25 other states. There are states that do not require helmets and this is quite alarming. At least 8 of the 25 states that do not have helmet guidelines have already enacted other e-bike laws. Organizations like People for Bikes have been pushing states to enact more specific laws for e-bikes.
Laws are implemented for a reason, and there’s always a reason why you should follow it. First of all, it’s for your safety. Proper law orientation will allow you to know the proper behavior on the road. By behaving properly, the chances of getting involved in an unfortunate accident is lessened.
You should also follow the law because you will be penalized if you do not. Penalties include traffic violation tickets, fines, and even license suspension for some. These penalties are hefty and annoying so make sure to follow the law.
Lastly, you’ll enjoy the ride more when you follow the law. When you know that you are on the right path, there’s nothing to be afraid of. You’ll be more confident when you are with the side of the law and not against it.