These are Federal regulations for electrics, which supercede any state law which
is more stringent. For gas, 48 cc engines traveling less than 20 M.P.H. are
STREET & BIKE PATH LEGAL in most states. For legal concerns, we recommend
checking with your local DMV to determine if 48cc gas-powered or electric
bicycles require registration.
Section 2085. Low-speed electric bicycles
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, low-speed electric
bicycles are consumer products within the meaning of section
2052(a)(1) of this title and shall be subject to the Commission
regulations published at section 1500.18(a)(12) and part 1512 of
title 16, Code of Federal Regulations.
For the purpose of this section, the term ''low-speed electric
bicycle'' means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable
pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose
maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such
a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less
than 20 mph.
(c) Promulgation of requirements
To further protect the safety of consumers who ride low-speed
electric bicycles, the Commission may promulgate new or amended
requirements applicable to such vehicles as necessary and
This section shall supersede any State law or requirement with
respect to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such
State law or requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or
requirements referred to in subsection (a) of this section.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in
relation to the definition of electric assisted bicycle
PURPOSE: This bill clarifies the vehicle and traffic law to
define electric assisted bicycles; establish that electric assisted
bicycles, as defined, are bicycles, not motor vehicles; and establish
safety and operational criteria for their use.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill adds a new Section
102-c to the vehicle and traffic law, defining electric assisted
A bicycle with two or three wheels which has a saddle and fully
operative pedals for human propulsion, and also has an electric motor.
However, the electric motor should not have a power output of more
than one thousand watts, and should be incapable of propelling the
device at a speed of more than twenty miles per hour on level
ground. The electric motor should also be incapable of further
increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is
used to propel the device at or more than twenty miles per hour.
Section 2 adds an exception in section 125 of the vehicle and
traffic law to the statutory definition of motor vehicle for
electric assisted bicycles.
Section 3 adds a new section 1240 to the vehicle and traffic law,
making the rules, regulations and provisions of the vehicle and
traffic law applicable to bicycles applicable to electric assisted
bicycles; makes the federal equipment and manufacturing requirements
for bicycles or motor driven cycles applicable to electric
assisted bicycles; and adds the following operational and safety
requirements for electric assisted bicycles: electric motor
disengagement criteria; all operators and passengers are required
to wear bicycle helmets; and no-one under the age of 16 may operate
or as a passenger on an electric assisted bicycle and establishes
the civil fine and enforcement procedures for failure to wear a helmet.
Section 4 is the effective date.
EXISTING LAW: None.
JUSTIFICATION: Defining and establishing operational criteria for
electric assisted bicycles will clarify for authorities that these
vehicles are more akin to bicycles than motorcycles. This will
assist in interpreting the application of the appropriate vehicle
and traffic laws to operators and passengers of these vehicles.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2004 A.588 - Passed Assembly; S.7389 - died in Senate Rules Committee
2000 Original bill - Died in Assembly Transportation Committee.
1999 Original bill - Died in Assembly Transportation Committee.
1998 Original bill - Died in Assembly Transportation Committee.
1997 Original bill -Reported by Assembly Transportation Committee;
Died in Assembly Rules Committee
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.