Everything You Should Know About California’s E-Bike Laws

California e-bike laws

E-bikes are amazing vehicles that let you go through the streets of California. If you’ve ever been on one, you may have thought about the rules that regulate them. There are rules about how electric bikes can be used in California, such as what kinds of bikes are allowed and how old riders must be.

One of the laws in California is that if there are signs posted prohibiting operation, it is unlawful to ride a motorized bicycle, electric bicycle, moped, or cycle on a freeway or expressway.
Laws and rules are changing that’s why any cyclist should be aware of the California e-bikes laws in order to ensure their safety and legal compliance.

Regardless of your level of experience with e-bikes or your recent introduction to the sport, reading this article will help you stay educated about the regulations and ensure a safe and legal ride.

Types of E-Bikes Allowed in California

In California, various types of e-bikes are permitted under state laws.

Class 1 e-bikes, equipped with pedal assist, are allowed on bike paths, lanes, and trails unless prohibited by local authorities. These e-bikes have a maximum speed of 20 mph and provide assistance only when you pedal.

Class 2 e-bikes, which also have a maximum speed of 20 mph, feature throttle-assist in addition to pedal-assist. They’re permitted where traditional bicycles are allowed, offering you the option to ride without pedaling.

Class 3 e-bikes, similar to Class 1 but with a higher maximum speed of 28 mph, are typically allowed in the same areas as Class 1 e-bikes. Remember to always check local regulations, as some cities or counties may have specific rules regarding e-bike usage.

To guarantee safe and authorized riding in California, it’s necessary for riders to understand these classifications and abide by the associated laws. It’s also essential to verify with local authorities for any extra requirements, as they may have their own unique rules and restrictions.
Maximum Speed Limits for E-Bikes

When riding e-bikes in California, adhere to the specified maximum speed limits to maintain safety and compliance with state regulations. E-bikes are classified into three categories based on their maximum speed capabilities: Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3.

Class 1 e-bikes, equipped with pedal assist up to 20 mph, are allowed on bike paths and roads where traditional bicycles are permitted. These bikes are ideal for leisurely rides and commuting within city limits.

Class 2 e-bikes, with a maximum speed of 20 mph and throttle-assist features, are also permitted on bike paths and roadways. The throttle allows you to cruise without pedaling, making them convenient for riders seeking a more relaxed experience.

Class 3 e-bikes, known as speed pedelecs, have pedal assist up to 28 mph. While these bikes offer faster speeds, they’re restricted from bike paths and limited to roads with speed limits of up to 35 mph. Regardless of the class, always prioritize safety by riding within the designated speed limits and following traffic laws to enjoy your e-bike experience in California.

Age Restrictions for E-Bike Riders

Adhere to the specified age restrictions when riding e-bikes in California to ensure compliance with state regulations and promote safe riding practices.

In California, riders must be at least 16 years old to operate Class 3 e-bikes, which have a maximum speed of 28 mph. However, there’s no minimum age requirement for riders of Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes, which have maximum speeds of 20 mph.

It’s important to note that riders under 18 are required to wear a helmet while operating an e-bike, regardless of the class. These age restrictions are in place to prioritize the safety of younger riders and ensure that they’re capable of handling the higher speeds of Class 3 e-bikes.

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Where You Can Ride E-Bikes in California

To fully enjoy your e-bike in California, familiarize yourself with the designated areas where riding is permitted. E-bikes are generally allowed wherever traditional bicycles are permitted, such as bike lanes, paths, and roads. But California has specific regulations regarding where Class 2 and Class 3 e-bikes can operate.

Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes are allowed on multi-use paths unless local authorities prohibit them. Class 3 e-bikes, however, aren’t permitted on paths unless they’re part of a specifically designated bike lane. When riding on the road, e-bikes must follow the same rules as traditional bicycles, staying in the bike lane when available or on the right side of the road.

It’s essential to note that individual cities and counties can impose additional restrictions on e-bike usage, so it’s advisable to check local ordinances before riding in a new area. By understanding where you can ride your e-bike in California, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

Safety Equipment Requirements for E-Bike Riders

As you explore where you can ride your e-bike in California, understanding the safety equipment requirements for e-bike riders is crucial for a safe and enjoyable riding experience. California law mandates that e-bike riders under 18 years old must wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet. However, it’s highly recommended that all riders wear helmets to protect themselves in case of accidents or falls.

It’s advisable for e-bike riders to wear bright or reflective clothing to increase visibility, especially when riding at night or in low-light conditions. Reflective gear helps other road users, pedestrians, and vehicles spot you more easily, reducing the risk of accidents.

Wearing closed-toe shoes is essential for e-bike riders. Closed-toe shoes provide better protection for your feet compared to sandals or flip-flops, reducing the risk of injuries from debris or accidents.


Now that you know the ins and outs of California e-bike laws, you can confidently ride your e-bike throughout the state. Remember to always adhere to the maximum speed limits, age restrictions, and safety equipment requirements to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. Stay informed and stay safe on the road!