Maryland Ebike Laws

Last Edited
November 8, 2021

Maryland Ebike Laws

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. 

Objectives of the new legislation

Here’s a quick summary of the objectives of the new legislation:

  • Establish the 3 classes of electric bicycles adopted by most states
  • Exclude electric bicycles in the definition of “off-highway recreational vehicle”
  • Establish the general rule that e-bikes can be ridden on the same places where regular bicycles are allowed to, under certain restrictions.
  • Prohibit a rider under a certain age from riding an e-bike on a public highway
  • Allow a person of a certain age to ride as a passenger under certain circumstances
  • Require manufacturers and distributors to affix a permanent label starting January 2020.
  • Prohibit e-bike owners to tamper or modify their electric bicycles
  • Require e-bikes to comply with certain federal regulations about bicycle equipment and manufacturing.
  • Ensure that the electric motor disengages or ceases to function under a certain speed.
  • Require a certain class of e-bike to have a speedometer.
  • Alter definitions regarding equipment and operation.

Maryland’s new E-bike Laws

Definition of an electric bicycle

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


  • Maryland considers an e-bike with three wheels in its definition. Other states only consider two wheels.
  • Previously, the electric motor requirement was 500 watts. 

Three classes of e-bikes

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:

  • E-bikes are allowed on roads where regular bicycles are allowed to travel, including bike lanes
  • A Local authority or state agency has the power to prohibit any operation of a class 1 or class 2 e-bike on a bicycle path that is under its own jurisdiction
  • A class 3 e-bike is prohibited on a bike path unless:
    • The bike path is within or adjacent to a highway right-of-way
    • Allowed by the governing authority or agency
  • Trails that are designated for non motorized vehicles may be prohibited from electric bicycles
  • Anyone who is under 16 years old is prohibited from operating a class 3 e-bike on a public highway
  • There is no age requirement for a passenger, but the e-bike must be designed to accommodate a passenger.
  • E-bike riders and passengers under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet.

Labeling, Manufacturing, Equipment

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.

State Park Policies

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:

  • E-bikes are permitted on State Parks where motorized vehicles are allowed.
  • E-bikes are prohibited on State Parks that are not designated for motorized use regardless of trail width or surface, unless regulated by local authority.
  • In the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail and Western Maryland Rail trail, only Class 1 e-bikes are permitted. E-bikes here are subject to the same rules that regular bicycles adhere to. 

Comparison with other states

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.

Follow the law, enjoy the ride

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.

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