California Assembly Bill 1096 became state law on January 1, 2016 and clarifies the legal questions regarding use of electric bikes in California.
1. Defines what an “Electric Bike” is and clarifies that an e-bike is not a Motor Vehicle, Moped or Motorized Bicycle. An "electric bicycle" is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.
2. Established three “Classes” of e-bikes, and where those types are allowed to be used.
- Class 1 and 2 are allowed anywhere normal bikes are
- Class 1 and 2 do not require a helmet and may be used by any age person
- Class 1 and 2 are governed at 20 mph
- Class 3 may go as fast as 28 mph but require a helmet, riders age 16 or over and are NOT allowed on Class 1 Bike Trails, which are trails separated from motor vehicle traffic.
For full details please refer to the LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST online at:
The following table gives more details about each Class:
Manufacturers and distributors are required to apply a permanent label in a prominent location to each electric bicycle that specifies which Class Number, Top Assisted Speed and the Motor Wattage.