Owning an electric bike is one of the best decisions you can make in your lifetime, especially if you reside in a city that allows for its easy usage.
In the past two decades, electric bikes have gained popularity because they provide a unique solution to a transportation problem that persists in many countries. They are both environmentally friendly and effective, which is why so many people all over the world are opting for this product.
Electric bikes are similar to regular bikes, meaning children can easily use them to get around. However, these bikes are different since they also have an electric power source.
For this reason, they’re a lot faster than regular bikes due to their motor and electric battery—which raises the question, do electric bikes need to be registered as a vehicle?
In this article, we’ll share some reasons electric bikes may differ from regular bikes, and why the state may want to register them.
Are There Global Rules for the Registration of Electric Bikes?
Electric bikes have been around for a long time. Maybe they weren’t advertised so prominently as a significant alternative to cars previously, but it’s not a recent invention. Before electric cars came out, we had electric bikes, so society has had a while to create laws and regulations for their registration.
The simple rule in most countries is that if the bike has a power rating of fewer than 750 watts and a maximum speed of 20 mph or 32 km/h, it can be classified as a bike that doesn’t need registration.
The UK, the US and Australia are still quite lax about the rules around electric bikes. However, Canada requires the battery power for an electric bike to be less than 500 watts. Only then will it be classified as a bike that doesn’t need registration.
Furthermore, in the US, a few more categories of electric bikes allow you to decide how to classify your electric bikes. If you know how to classify them, you can easily understand whether you need to register them.
Electric Bike Cycling in the US
Electric bikes are classified differently in the US than in the rest of the world. There’s a lot more categorization in the US for these bikes, which are often accompanied by an electric motor with less than 750 watts. The three major classes include:
1. Class 1 Electric Bicycles: Bikes of this category are low speed and use pedal assistance to get you to your destination. It has a motor that will only work to a certain extent i.e. when the bike reaches 20 mph. The motor will only work while the person riding the bike is pedaling alongside the motor.
2. Class 2 Electric Bicycles: These bikes are throttle-assisted, which means that they operate in a way that only involves motors. The cyclists will not have to worry about pedaling. However, the throttle assistance will also end when the bike reaches 20 mph speed.
3. Class 3 Electric Bicycle: This category has bikes that are speed pedal-assisted. The motor of the bike will assist the rider only when the rider is actively pedaling alongside the motor. But the assistance will end when the bike comes to a terminal speed of 28 mph.
If your bike fits any of these three categories, you don’t need to get it registered, but if it goes over the limits, chances are that you will have to register your e-bike.
Do You Need to Register Your Electric Bike?
The simple answer is that registration truly depends on where you’re living. There are developing countries where cars are barely registered, and thus, they will clearly not require you to register bikes.
But electric bike registration is quite a varied occurrence even in developed countries like the United States, Canada and Australia. There are certain states in the United States where you must register your electric bike under any condition.
However, even in these states and countries, there are different classes that electric bikes may be divided into, and thus, you can register your electric bike if you fall into the specific classes that require registration. Check what category your electric bike falls into before you go through the registration process.
Why May Law Require You to Register Your Electric Bike?
Several states require registering your electric bike with a manufacturer or state. Registration has many benefits, which means there’s always something to gain from registering your electric bike, even when you’re not sure:
Fewer Chances of Stolen Bike
One of the easiest ways that registering your e-bike is helpful is through the deterrence of theft. When registering the electric bike, you can ensure you have a better chance of getting it back when it is stolen.
Some states will even require you to carry a license and a license plate or a sticker that gives your bike an identity. There are many places where registered bikes and cars are added to a database, increasing their chances of recovery.
Registering your electric bike can also mean meeting the required safety standards to operate within the necessary limits. If you’re registering your electric bike, you would need to update your bike regularly.
There are certain features you would have to ensure work as they should. The issue with most electric bikes is that people sometimes replace safe motors with higher-amped motors. These high-amp motors will also mean more chances of an accident.
Legality is of the utmost importance when it comes to any accidents involved with electric bikes. If you’re going to have a registered bike, it’s one of the easiest ways to get out of any legality or liability when in the middle of an accident.
When you’re registered, there are also much higher chances of having insurance to protect yourself financially. Thus, getting your electric bike registered is of the utmost necessity.
Proof of Ownership
When you’re registering your electric bike, you are laying claim to the fact that you own the bike. No one will be able to list your bike as their own. Secondly, if you also want to make a warranty claim, then you would be able to do so with ease.
Allows Easy Access to Bike Lanes and Trails
You may not get access to certain biking trails and lanes with your electric bike. They may be meant for a manual bike instead.
However, when you register your electric bike with the DMV, your state authorities are much more likely to allow you on trails for regular bikes and thus, you can gain all of the amenities of a regular bike with your electric bike.
How to Get Your Electric Bike Registered?
One of the easiest ways to register your electric bikes is by ensuring you know everything about the process. Vehicles of any kind follow the same registration procedures. However, you won’t have to worry about parking with electric bikes.
Verify with Your Local DMV
You can contact the nearest Department of motor vehicles so that they can inform you about any laws regarding registering your e-bikes. They can always provide you with the latest information regarding your area and county.
List Your State’s Laws
One of the simplest ways to get your bike registered is to go online and look at your state laws. If they require you to register your e-bike, you can use the DMV website.
Check out the Local Bike Shop
If you’re unsure how to get your electric bike registered, one of the simplest ways to get some information is by talking to people who are driving electric bikes all around you. It may seem like a bigger task, but you can gain much more information simply by heading to the bike shop and asking around.
Suppose you must register your electric bike with a manufacturer or a governing body. In that case, the experts here can tell you the details and also inform you about the methods to do so.
What are the Cons of Electric Bike Registration?
Possible cons of electric bike registration can be that you would have to spend time, money and effort during registration. However, if you think about it, the benefits will outweigh the cons.
Suppose you’re not entirely sure about how to register your electric bikes or whether the laws in your state require registration, then you’re not the only one confused. Electric bikes as fast as the ones we have working for us today come with their own legislation, and you want to ensure that you’re acting like a dutiful citizen.
Registration is one of the best things you can do to legitimize your electric bike. You want to ensure that you do your absolute most to make riding on it as safe and legal as possible. These electric bikes can be quite fast-paced, which is why you want to ensure that all the components on it are working well and there are no dangers with you riding it on the street.
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