Do you Need A License to Ride An E-bike? Europe & US Laws Are Here

Do you Need A License to Ride An E-bike? Europe & US Laws Are Here

E-bikes are one of the most popular modes of transportation for urban riders nowadays, it is a vehicle that allows you to exercise without getting tired, you can get to destination quickly and easily. You can find electric bike for sale in about any country, but as you can imagine, things vary from one region to another.

Do you need a license to ride an e-bike? In most countries, they are treated similarly to regular bicycles, without a required separate license. Nonetheless, in other countries the regulations for e-bikes are different. Make sure to check country-specific licensing requirements.

Can You Ride an E-bike without a License in the US?

The regulations surrounding e-bikes in the US are pretty complex and specific. This means they vary with each state, and you need to identify one that best applies to you. For e-bike enthusiasts, it is much easier to understand the laws surrounding its usage in the US and implement them.



Identifying the E-bikes Rules and Regulations in your Locality

Since e-bikes regulations vary with locations, you need to identify the rules stated in your province. For clarity purposes, this article will focus on US rules and regulations. You can also apply the method discussed here to your country.

If you are a US resident, your state is probably among the 36 regions in the country. The US has three main categories of e-bikes, which are adopted by 2/3 of the state's population. The e-bike legislative body has grouped them into three main categories. This also implies that most states in the US do not require special registration as long as they follow these categories.

  • The class one e-bike: E-bikes in this category only have the pedal-assist feature. The maximum speed you can ride on this e-bike is 20 mph.
  • The class two e-bike: E-bikes in this category have only the throttle feature on the handlebars. The maximum speed at which you can ride is 20 mph.
  • The class three e-bike: These e-bikes have the pedal-assist feature as in class one. However, the maximum speed a rider can attain is 28 mph. Only professional riders can commute with this class of e-bike in the US.

Although most states in the US mostly follow the class categories, other states place some strict rules on electric bike usage. Once you ride in an unacceptable condition under specific trails, the legal forces can quickly be alerted. Hence, you will need to register your e-bike and obtain a driver's license if you are a resident of these states:
● Alaska
●New Mexico
●Rhode Island

Having understood the policies guiding e-bike usage in the US, there are also other top countries you should consider. You want to be sure if a license is needed in your location or not.


The Legislative Laws Guiding E-bike Rides in European Union

Europe is known to record the first cases of e-bike usage. Meanwhile, EU countries still have an extensive record of e-bike users. Usually, the e-bike laws in the EU are not very strict. Also, the regions do not impose a tax on e-bikes, but you must follow the cycling regulations.

European countries follow a standard four classes of electric bikes. Europe categorizes e-bikes based on their technicality and engineered features.

  • The L1e-A E-bikes: The maximum speed and power output for this category of e-bikes are 25km/h and 1000W, respectively. These bikes are also built with both pedal-assist and throttle functions. This helps users to switch between both options while riding.
  • The L1e-B E-bikes: The maximum speed and power output for the e-bikes in this category are 45km/h and 4000W, respectively. However, e-bikes are known to perform with only the pedal-assist function. This also applies to other two-wheeled transportation modes, apart from e-bikes.
  • The L2e and L6e E-bikes: These are the last two categories. They have the same speed limit and required power output as L1e-B e-bikes. However, L2e also applies to three-wheeled transportation modes, and L6e applies to four-wheeled transport.

Every country that belongs to European Union is expected to follow these four categories of e-bikes. Although each country under European Union has specific rules, the commons or related requirements are below.

  • Riders need to make hand signals whenever they are making a turning.
  • While making signals, the other hand should not be removed from the handlebars.
  • Countries allow riders to ride in cycle lanes. If your country does not have, there must be designated areas where you can ride.
  • An e-bike is not allowed to carry heavy loads or objects.

Does UK Require an E-bike License?

There are really not too many regulations surrounding e-bike usage. Most of the rules are also peculiar to many other European countries. For instance, citizens or residents cannot ride an e-bike until they are 14.  Hence, the UK is one of those countries where you freely want to enjoy your electric bike ride.

However, you must ride specific lanes when taking your e-bike to UK street. Every rider must always stay on the left lane, which also applies to Ireland riders. If you will receive electric assistance from your bike, the rule does not permit you to ride above 25 km/h.

How to Confirm if You Need an E-bike License or Not

Although the regulations for many top countries have been discussed above, an individual would want further convictions. Hence, the first process is to explore your e-bike labeling. Ensure your manufacturer has a label containing the e-bike's speed, class, and motor wattage. Since you know the maximum requirements in your province, you can decide if you are buying the product or not. Honbike includes necessary information in its product labeling to help potential users make the best buying decisions.

Another way to confirm if you need a license is by researching the e-bike's product online. You should also understand the technical characteristics and verify if it matches your locality rules. You can reach your manufacturer if you still have doubts about the e-bike license.


Electric bicycles are really not different from traditional bicycles, other than the electrically powered function. Since users do not need a license to ride their bikes, the same energy is applied to e-bikes.

However, electric bicycles have more regulations guiding them because of their high speed. Most countries that do not require e-bike licenses often focus on speed regulations. Meeting these laws should not be challenging since you are less worried about the license and registration stress. 

1 commentaire

  • fiona summers-smith

    I feel your website is extremely misleading “Electric bicycles are really not different from traditional bicycles, other than the electrically powered function. Since users do not need a license to ride their bikes, the same energy is applied to e-bikes.”

    This is incorrect as far as the UK law is concerned.

    As far as the UK is concerned there are two types of e-bike:

    1. ‘Twist and go’
    2. Electrically assisted pedal cycle known as EPACs.

    “Under UK law, you won’t be able to legally ride a ‘twist and go’ electric bike that’s not restricted to 250w power output on UK public roads, as it wouldn’t be classed as an EAPC.
    It would instead require vehicle tax and insurance under the Road Traffic Act, and the rider would need a driving licence and motorcycle helmet. This is the law for public roads. "

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