Is there an e-bike law in Florida? Yes. Florida has joined a number of other states in defining what an e-bike or electric bike actually is: it’s a bicycle. And so it has the same rights and responsibilities as a traditional bicycle.
2021 E-Bike Law in Florida
But Florida in 2021 has adopted a three-classification system for defining an e-bike. So a Class 1 e-bike has pedal assistance with a top speed of 20 miles per hour. It’s operated by the rider moving the pedals with the motor giving some assistance to the rider. After reaching 20 mph, the motor phases out. You can actually ride an e-bike faster than 20 mph, but you’re pedaling a much heavier bike all on your own energy. The Class 2 e-bike is throttle only. This is one where you could actually have an e-bike with no pedals. I assume most of them do have pedals, but a throttle-only is just what it says. You have a motor that runs the e-bike entirely up to 20 mph. Lastly the Class 3 e-bike is pedal-assisted up to 28 mph.
The important thing to remember when you consider buying an electronic bike is that some vehicles being sold today, generally lumped under the category of an e-bike, are no longer bicycles as recognized by Florida under the three-tier system. There are allegedly e-bikes out there that will go 30, 35, 40, 45 or even more miles per hour. So if they have the ability to go in excess of 28 mph (more than a Class 3), then they’re entering the description of something else—a moped or an electric motorcycle.
Florida eBike Regulations & Insurance to Protect Yourself
All these facts and regulations are important because you don’t need a tag or a driver’s license or specific insurance to ride a bicycle in Florida. But if you get an electric vehicle—a bicycle if you want to call it that, capable of more than 28 miles per hour—then you’re going to fall into a category that may require a tag, specific insurance, and a driver’s license.
The other thing to remember is when you’re riding an electric bike on the road you have the danger of being struck by a car just like riding your bicycle. We have a big problem in Florida in that there is no mandatory bodily injury liability insurance that automobile/truck/van drivers have to buy. That means the possibility of no insurance payout in the event of an injury.
So you can self-protect by buying uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your auto policy. That will protect you, as a cyclist, against a driver who has no liability insurance or who has some but not enough to pay the full value of your claim. E-bikes, as defined under Florida’s three-tier classification law, are covered under this type of insurance as are traditional bicycles.
Can You Ride Your E-Bike on Trails & Sidewalks?
Another factor to consider is that bicycles in general are permitted to ride on sidewalks. But e-bikes are restricted in some areas (as are bicycles) in certain urban sections of cities like Sarasota or St. Augustine where the influx of tourists makes riding bikes on sidewalks hazardous to everyone. When Florida enacted this e-bike law, it gave municipalities the right to control e-bikes on sidewalks in their own jurisdictions. So you need to make sure that where you live and ride there may be places where you may or may not ride your electric bike.
One more thing to keep in mind is that we have an extensive trail system in Florida, which is wonderful and improving all the time. In general, the major trails do permit e-bikes. But there are trails that are shared use, non-motorized, like the Sun Trail. So an issue exists as to whether you can take an e-bike on a non-motorized trail. You don’t want to be given a citation for riding on a trail that doesn’t permit an e-bike.
The Ultimate Florida eBike Buyer’s Guide
If you have questions about e-bikes, we created our own e-bike buying guide; you can download it for free on our website here. Start with that information because we explain e-bikes and the mechanisms and all the classifications. Just download it. Take care, wear your helmet, and be safe on your bicycles and e-bikes!