Is it ok to ride on restricted trails if you take off the battery

eDean

Active Member
Let's say a trail is restricted to non motorized bikes, if you take off your battery and put it in a pannier or leave it at home, are you legal?
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
Wouldn't chance it unless I could take off the motor personally. Go stealth , hide motor w/large panniers,bike should have battery in frame and motor smaller than discs. Ride intelligently and don't get any extra attention...hope for the best :)
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
I suspect it depends on if you encounter an A-hole with a power complex or a reasonable official that has no ego need to suppress you. Your attitude could be a factor so play it cool (humble and respectful), but it won't matter with some jerk that kicks dogs, and or beats his wife and kids to feel like a man. Battery at home is a stronger position in my sardonic opinion. -S
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
The key word, at least in Florida is "bicycles must be human powered on trails and bike paths." If the battery is not on the bike anywhere, you would have a defensible position of meeting the law.. Question is what fun would it be to pedal a 50 lb electric bike?
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
You can ride an ebike under power on bike paths and trails in the US due to the ADA if you are physically and legally disabled. A cop or ranger is likely going to want you to prove it, if you can't you may have to prove it in court.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Why aren't electric bikes allowed on certain trails?
@bareyb There is a longstanding misunderstanding of what the word 'motorized' legally means. Based on the history of local park trail signs that all say 'no motorized vehicles' some Parks managers have randomly chosen to include ebikes in that definition. Historically, the signs posted in the parks originate from very old definitions of 'motorized'-- meaning gas powered vehicles with engine displacement measured in cubic centimeters, or cc's. When this signage was originally adopted only gas powered motors existed, so local Parks departments have had to revisit their regulations. in Texas it is spelled out in the Texas Transportation Code that Electric Bikes are by law the same as a regular bike and have all the same rights; however, that hasn't stopped squabbles about access to the park trails. Please remember that National and State Parks also allow the use of Ebikes or Escooters on the premises.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
@bareyb There is a longstanding misunderstanding of what the word 'motorized' legally means. Based on the history of local park trail signs that all say 'no motorized vehicles' some Parks managers have randomly chosen to include ebikes in that definition. Historically, the signs posted in the parks originate from very old definitions of 'motorized'-- meaning gas powered vehicles with engine displacement measured in cubic centimeters, or cc's. When this signage was originally adopted only gas powered motors existed, so local Parks departments have had to revisit their regulations. in Texas it is spelled out in the Texas Transportation Code that Electric Bikes are by law the same as a regular bike and have all the same rights; however, that hasn't stopped squabbles about access to the park trails. Please remember that National and State Parks also allow the use of Ebikes or Escooters on the premises.

@ann you're making general statements about state laws, which I know isn't true in Florida. They are pretty clear where only human powered bicycles are permitted.

People have to read the state statutes like I did to know what is and isn't permitted for electric bikes in their state.
 
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pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
@ann you're making general statements about state laws, which I know isn't true in Florida. They are pretty clear where only human powered bicycles are permitted.

People have to read the state statutes like I did to know what is and isn't permitted for electric bikes in their state.

I didn't read her entire post as a general comment since she went on to explain that in Texas e-bikes meeting the federal definition (under 20mph unassisted, under 750w) are to be considered a normal bike in her state. The same rule applies here in Minnesota. I do agree anyone looking should look up their state laws surrounding e-bikes in particular - some have specific guidelines whether positive (here in MN, TX as has been noted by Ann), or negative in the case of FL.

The OP should check the laws for their particular state or locale.

I carry a copy of the state law in my pack when I am out on my bike - bottom line is that if you have a less conspicuous e-bike and ride it reasonably, the likelihood of harassment is probably low.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
I didn't read her entire post as a general comment since she went on to explain that in Texas e-bikes meeting the federal definition (under 20mph unassisted, under 750w) are to be considered a normal bike in her state. The same rule applies here in Minnesota. I do agree anyone looking should look up their state laws surrounding e-bikes in particular - some have specific guidelines whether positive (here in MN, TX as has been noted by Ann), or negative in the case of FL.

The OP should check the laws for their particular state or locale.

I carry a copy of the state law in my pack when I am out on my bike - bottom line is that if you have a less conspicuous e-bike and ride it reasonably, the likelihood of harassment is probably low.

I can't speak for other states but Florida was very clever about stating that 20 mph electric bikes are to be considered bicycles; that's the Federal compliance part.. Then they subtlely exclude the locations electric bikes can be ridden by allowing only "human powered bikes" on bike paths sidewalks and trails... Someone has to read all the state statutes on bicycles to gain this understanding.
 

eDean

Active Member
I live in the US in Maryland and ride in Maryland, DC, and Virginia almost every day so there are three states to worry about! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws pretty much seems to say my bikes are classified as ebikes but what I don't know is if an ebike is trail valid.

Great idea of carrying the law with me assuming I'm in compliance, to resolve any issues. Right now I have a Neo Jet and it is stealth. But the Haibike is overtly electric. Whenever I bike to Wholefoods on the Jet I am usually asked by at least one woman about my bike and if it is electric so I know that I might just be fooling myself to how stealth it is.
 

bareyb

Active Member
I'm in California, so I'll need to check it out. I agree most of this HAS to be because of gasoline powered motors, not e-bikes. It makes no sense not to allow them. Unless "jealousy" is a valid reason, then all holds are off. ;)
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
I live in the US in Maryland and ride in Maryland, DC, and Virginia almost every day so there are three states to worry about! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws pretty much seems to say my bikes are classified as ebikes but what I don't know is if an ebike is trail valid.

Great idea of carrying the law with me assuming I'm in compliance, to resolve any issues. Right now I have a Neo Jet and it is stealth. But the Haibike is overtly electric. Whenever I bike to Wholefoods on the Jet I am usually asked by at least one woman about my bike and if it is electric so I know that I might just be fooling myself to how stealth it is.

A little bit of internet searching seems to indicate you have a new law in Maryland classifying 500w, max 20mph e-bikes as a bicycle, with no registration required - beyond that there are no specific laws yet as this senate bill 378 was just enacted in 2014. I would bring that one with you, you might lose the argument that it is still motorized however the new law states an e-bike meeting those guidelines is not considered a motorized vehicle but a bicycle, so unless there is a specific local/municipal law banning e-bikes that meet those state requirements, you could probably get away with that argument.

Virginia calls an e-bike anything with a motor under 1000w, and it can be used anywhere unless the posted laws specifically prohibit an electric power-assisted bicycle (their words) - so they are pretty broad and do state that local ordinance would have to specifically prohibit that type of vehicle: https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+46.2-904

Washington - well, their ordinances still reference steam powered vehicles, no joke. Kinda doubt they are going to be addressing e-bikes anytime soon.

Really, no joke! Check out their PDF - internal combustion, electricity or steam powered - first sentence. They have made it to the segway era, so it'll be a few more years:

http://dmv.dc.gov/sites/default/fil... 2013 Non-traditional Motor Vehicle chart.pdf
 

eDean

Active Member
Thanks Pxpaulx. It seems like unless the sign says electric bike restricted, ebikes are ok. An the signs I've seen all mentioned motorized vehicles which we now no is not an ebike. It's time to starting planning my routes for summer which are a combination of MTN and road, one less thing to worry about.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Hey everyone, sometimes there is confusion on what the legal status is and its a great idea to carry a copy of the federal & state laws concerning ebikes. I know that the state laws can vary; however, some of that requires that we be proactive to let local parks people and city & state legislatures know what an ebike is. Not every legislator is clear on that and when that's the case laws get written like an ebike is some sort of evil, dangerous 'thing.' In Austin, where the Texas legislature meets every 2 years, our local bike advocacy group, Texas Bike Coalition (www.biketexas.org) has worked together with are ever growing ebike community to include us in laws promoting bikes. We've even done ebike demo days just for the legislators and get the shops together to loan ebikes when the Bike Coalition is doing a special ride so that those that make the rules get the opportunity to experience an ebike and hopefully, defuse some of the fear.

Everyone has to be proactive on the education side when it comes to the local powers and not be rude on the trails, bridges, bike lanes & possibly sidewalks where we share the space with pedestrians & other bikes.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
@bksmithers

Wow, only 9 states have adopted the Federal definition of an ebike as a bike. Very solid document.

The federal governments of the United States and Canada have provided a framework for states and provinces with regard to e-bikes. Policymakers must now work to incorporate the federal law into local statutes. More populous provinces have been successful at adopting the federal law, but only nine of 51 U.S. states have amended their vehicle code to accept CPSC’s definition. The question of what kinds of bicycles we wish to see in our transportation facilities, such as protected lanes, shared used paths, sidewalks and trails, remains open to debate
 

GatorBob

Member
After a lifetime of biking conventional and expensive upright and recumbent bikes (I'm 86) I can testify that bike trails are dangerous places when roadies ride faaaast on their trail-legal road bikes. If I am pedaling along at 15 mph on my Pedego Interceptor with electric assist there is no logical reason to prohibit me from the trail. Sadly, more time will have to pass before the bloody bureaucrats figure that out.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
Yes is the short answer in California, an eBike is not a motorized vehicle.

Personally, I would get off the bike and walk it around pedestrians. In my case, people have complained about traditional bikes going too fast. The law is easily amended.

The long answer follows.
  • EBikes are "motorized bicycles", which may not be used in dedicated bicycle paths (see below).

Electric Bicycles are defined by the California Vehicle Code.[59][60]

  • In summary, electric bicycles are to be operated like conventional bicycles in California.

There are several exceptions to this. A person must be at least 16 years old, and anyone riding an electric bicycle must wear a bicycle helmet. The e-bikes must have an electric motor that has a power output less than 1,000 watts, is incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground, is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour, operates in a manner so that the electric motor is disengaged or ceases to function when the brakes are applied, or operates in a manner such that the motor is engaged through a switch or mechanism that, when released, will cause the electric motor to disengage or cease to function.

Driver's licenses, registration, insurance and license plate requirements do not apply.

  • An electric bicycle is not a motor vehicle.

An electric bicycle may only be operated by a person 16 years of age or older. Drinking and driving laws apply.

  • Motorized bicycles may not be operated on dedicated bicycle paths unless it is within or adjacent to a roadway or unless allowed by local government ordinance.[61]

  • Additional laws or ordinances may apply to the use of electric bicycles by each city or county[62]