Alejandra Prado | March 17, 2022 | Bicycle Accidents
Florida laws regarding e-bikes changed in July 2020. Prior to the change, Florida law classified e-bikes along with manual pedaling bicycles, giving riders of e-bikes the same responsibilities and rights as regular bike riders.
Now, under Florida HB 971, e-bikes are placed in their own classification. Understanding which classification your e-bike falls into can help you comply with the new laws.
Florida Electric Bicycle Classifications
Under Florida law, an e-bike is defined as a “bicycle or tricycle equipped with fully operable pedals, a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and an electric motor of fewer than 750 watts.” These bikes are broken down into three classifications:
Class 1 includes bikes with a motor that assists only when the rider is pedaling. These bikes stop providing assistance once the rider reaches 20 miles per hour.
Class 2 includes bikes with motors that propel without pedaling and stop providing assistance when the cycle reaches 20 miles per hour. Many of these models have a throttle, as the motor may be used without pedaling.
Class 3 bikes have a motor that assists while the rider is pedaling and stops assisting once the rider reaches 28 miles per hour.
Both Class 1 and Class 3 are also known as pedal-assist bikes.
Under the new laws, e-bike owners no longer have to register the bike with the state nor carry car insurance. They aren’t required to hold a license, either.
Now, e-bikes are given all of the rights and privileges of standard bike riders, holding the same responsibilities of care. In short, electric bikes can be operated anywhere a traditional bike can be operated.
Electric bikes manufactured after January 1, 2021, are required to have a permanent label stating their classification, motor wattage, and a maximum assisted speed. If the bike owner modifies the bike and changes the classification, then the modification should be noted on a new label.
Florida e-Bike Law Changes
Florida’s law also regulates the operation of e-bike motors. Now, the motors on these vehicles have to disengage or otherwise cease functioning when the rider either applies the brakes or stops pedaling.
Florida counties and municipalities can regulate the operation of e-bikes on sidewalks, roadways, streets, and highways in their jurisdictions. This means that one city may have different regulations governing where you can and cannot ride your e-bike.
For people that like to travel with their e-bikes, it’s important to note the locations that you’re not allowed to operate your bike in so that you avoid a traffic citation.
E-bike riders are also afforded the same “rules of the road” as traditional bikes. For example, bikers may use the full lane, and vehicle drivers must give at least three feet when passing an e-bike rider.
E-bike riders are considered to be “vulnerable road users,” as are regular cyclists. As such, they are protected under those regulations in the instance of a crash involving injury or death.
E-bike riders are also eligible for personal injury protection (PIP) insurance benefits if they’re injured in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle.
Understanding how your e-bike is classified and where you’re allowed to ride it can help you remain compliant with Florida’s new bike laws. Knowing what kinds of benefits you’re entitled to will also help you and your personal injury lawyer build your case for damages if you’re injured in an accident with a car or truck.
Have You Been Involved in an e-Bike Accident?
Injuries from electric bike accidents can be severe and even life-altering. Neck and spine damage, broken bones, and even scarring and disfigurement are quite common.
If another driver struck you while riding your e-bike, a reliable personal injury lawyer can help you get the settlement you deserve.
Contact the Clearwater Bicycle Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a bicycle lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655