Are e-bikes topic to any legal guidelines? Ask the lawyer

Q: More and more people are riding e-bikes. Is a license required? Any age restrictions? Do basic laws apply?

-J.L., Marina Del Rey

Ron Sokol

A: Under the California Vehicle code, electric bicycles are classified as conventional bicycles. Thus the “rules of the road” apply, but e-bikes are a little different. An e-bike, for example, cannot exceed 750 watts and must not exceed 28 miles per hour on level ground. While a license or registration is not required, e-bikes may only be operated by those at least 16 years old. Research further indicates that e-bikes may be ridden as far to the right as practical, but are not allowed on dedicated bike paths unless the path runs adjacent to a roadway or allows motorized bicycles. This is not exhaustive of the laws and rules with respect to e-bikes, but certainly indicates that they are subject to rules and regulation.

Q: Is a helmet required to ride an e-bike?

-M.C., Glendale

A: Under California law, a helmet must be worn by anyone under the age of 18 who is riding an e-bike.

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