In the State of Utah, a nonprofit organization is teaming up with the government, organizations, businesses, institutions, and the general public to improve the experience of the bicycling community and help everyone enjoy their bicycle rides. This is Bike Utah and its main vision is to develop a complete network of different bike lanes, paths, and trails for a healthier, livelier, and happier community.
Bicycle resources can be easily found in Bike Utah’s website, whereas it is more difficult in other sites. Electric bicycles are recognized in Utah and given importance as well. Generally, e-bikes and regular bikes are regulated similarly. However, the addition of an electric motor in an e-bike makes it subject to unique laws.
Electric bicycle definition
To start off, let’s look at the definition of an electric bicycle in Utah:
An electric assisted bicycle or e-bike is a fully operable bicycle equipped with an electric motor (not exceeding 750w) that provides electrical assistance to propel the bike and give the rider a boost, and belongs to one of these classes:
A class 1 e-bike can only be assisted when the rider is pedaling, the assistance from the electric motor ceases when the bicycle reaches 20mph
A class 2 e-bike does not require the rider to pedal for the electric motor to engage and provide assistance. The assistance from the electric motor ceases when the bicycle reaches 20mph.
A class 3 e-bike functions similarly as a class 1 e-bike but with a higher speed limit of 28 mph.
This 3-tier classification system may already be familiar with you because this is also followed by more than 40 states.
Electric bike laws
Your e-bike is considered a vehicle and therefore you are given the same rights and responsibilities as another driver of any vehicle. General rules like obeying traffic signals, stop and yield signs, and all other official traffic control devices must be followed. You should also yield to crossing pedestrians, and stop for school buses that display flashing red lights.
Electric bike-specific laws:
E-bikes may be operated on a path or trail that is designated for bicycle use.
An e-bike with an engaged electric motor is not allowed on sidewalks.
Local authorities or state agencies have the power to implement ordinances or rules to regulate or prohibit the use of an e-bike in certain roadways, paths, sidewalks, or trails, under their own local jurisdiction.
An individual below 16 years old is not allowed to operate a class 3 e-bike.
A person under the age of 14 may not operate an e-bike with the electric motor engaged on any public property, highway, path, or sidewalk unless that person is directly supervised by his/her parent or guardian.
Children below 8 years old are prohibited from operating an e-bike with the electric motor engaged on public property, highway, path, or sidewalk.
Just like in Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Indiana, the state of Utah requires helmets for class 3 e-bike riders who are under age 18.
An e-bike owner should not authorize or intently permit another individual to operate an e-bike under illegal conditions.
Drinking alcoholic beverages while driving is prohibited.
Riders or passengers keeping possession of an alcoholic beverage in the compartment of class 2 e-bike when riding on any highway or waters of the state is strictly prohibited.
Starting January 1, 2017, every Utah-based e-bike manufacturer or distributor is required to permanently affix a label in a distinguished location of the electric bicycle. The font must be printed in Arial, at least in 9-point type, and should indicate the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage.
Violations of this section are subject to an infraction.
Electric mountain bike (eMTB) guidelines
eMTB rules and access vary significantly on different trails.
Trails that are designated for both motorized and non-motorized uses are generally open to eMTBs as well.
For trails that only allow non-motorized activities, eMTBs may be prohibited.
Check the local rules in your area before attempting to ride on a specific trail.
For local questions, your local land management agency is open for inquiries.
For state-specific questions, you may contact Utah State Parks.
For federal-level, you may contact the U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Regional Office or the BLM Utah State Office Bend National Park for more information.
Electric bicycle requirements
Front white headlight, rear red tail light or reflector, and side reflectors: at least 500 feet visible
Fully functional brakes capable of stopping the e-bike within 25 feet from a speed of 10mph on dry, level, clean pavement
A siren or whistle is prohibited
The lighting requirements must be followed when riding half an hour before sunrise, half an hour after sunset onwards, or whenever vehicles 1000 feet away are not clearly visible.
License, insurance, and registration
Helmet for riders above 18 years old; highly recommended to wear a helmet for safety purposes
Safety guidelines for bicycle riders
Ride in the same direction as the traffic.
Position yourself in the most practical far right unless
You need to overtake another vehicle or bicycle
You need to avoid hazards
You are preparing to make a left turn
You are about to enter an intersection past a right-turn-only lane
The lane is too narrow to safely ride
The following are the acceptable hand signals:
Left turn - extend left hand and arm horizontally
Right turn - extend left hand and arm upward; or extend right hand and arm horizontally
Stopping/slowing down - extend left hand and arm downward
Save emergency hotline numbers in your phone to easily contact them when you are in need of emergency assistance.
Stay calm, take your time to recover, and move slowly
If possible, take a picture for documentation (note the license plate number of any vehicle involved)
Move in a safer place, preferably the sidewalk or shoulder
Move you bike as well if you are able to, ask help when necessary
Conduct a head scan
Any signs of concussion
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Are you able to look in every direction without any pain
Are you aware of your surroundings (date, time, location)?
Conduct a body scan
Broken or dislocated bones, blood loss
Wounds or injuries
Limit your movement to prevent any further injuries
Contact your local emergency services for fast medical attention
Bystanders are always there to provide assistance
Do a safety check on your bike
Do not travel with your e-bike, if you are not capable of doing so or the e-bike is not functioning properly and safely
There is a non-profit organization called Bike Utah which coordinates with the government, businesses and institutions, and the general public to improve the bicycling experience in Utah. There are 3 classes of e-bike in Utah’s definition. There are e-bike specific laws such as age, helmet, and protective equipment requirements.
To be safe, obey traffic rules at all times, be cautious and prepared, and be mindful at all times. Always remember that a safe ride is a happy ride!
Want to learn more about Electric Bikes? Check out some of our most recent article below!
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