What are Florida’s e-bike riding restrictions and laws? First of all, the state has adopted the three-class system—one, two, and three—for defining e-bikes. Class one is pedal-assisted, which gives assistance up to 20 miles per hour. Increasing speed beyond 20 mph is all-pedal power only. Class two is a throttle bike, one that will go up to 20 mph without pedaling by running on a motor. Class three is a pedal-assisted e-bike that goes up to 28 mph. And there are motor size restrictions in Florida of 750 watts. Anything higher/faster than that falls out of the category of an e-bike and would exceed the state standard. It would also probably need a license, a tag, and insurance. Think moped.
Who is Allowed to Ride an e-Bike and Where Can You Ride Them in Florida?
Electric bicycles can be ridden by all types of individuals, from age 16 to seniors. They can enjoy e-bikes on streets, roads, and even on sidewalks where local ordinances in Florida don’t forbid them. There are certain places such as St. Augustine, Sarasota, and other frequently visited towns and cities where city officials may potentially restrict bike use on sidewalks, particularly inside tourist corridors where large numbers of people are known to congregate. No one sitting in an outdoor restaurant relaxing with friends and having lunch or dinner wants to be startled by an e-bike zooming past at 20 to 28 miles per hour.
So it’s good to remember that e-bikes require extra vigilance in terms of pedestrian safety when riding in neighborhoods or high foot traffic areas such as shopping districts, downtown businesses, and mixed-use bike paths or greenways/greenbelts.
Understanding the Legal Classes and Laws of e-Bikes in Florida
Understanding the category distinctions for e-bikes is important, particularly if you are in an e-bike-related accident. All three legal classes are covered by uninsured and underinsured motorist’s coverage on your auto policy. There’s also potential protection on a homeowner or renter’s policy for anything qualifying as a bicycle.
Just as Florida considers a bicycle to be a vehicle, so do the surrounding states of Alabama and Georgia on its immediate borders. When riding a bicycle on Florida roads, you’re subject to all the motor vehicle rules and restrictions that apply to traffic, yielding, signaling, passing, stopping, etc. But in Georgia and Alabama, bicycles and e-bikes are not permitted to ride on sidewalks. While Georgia does have the three-tiered classification system, each state has its own requirements about what they will and will not allow in terms of where bikes of all types can be ridden.
As the popularity and use of e-bikes grows in our state, it’s vital that cyclists keep up with the most up-to-date legal requirements and e-bike laws in Florida that have been put in place for everyone’s enjoyment and safety.
My name is Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. Our firm is a personal injury law office located in Clearwater. We represent cyclists and other injury clients throughout Florida. If you need us, we’ll come to you and answer any questions you may have.