July 22, 2022

PSA: Rules of the Road

Hi there,

One question I often hear from customers new to the ebike space is: How fast can I ride an ebike in my neighborhood or local trail?

As simple and innocuous as this question might sound, the answer is actually more complicated and lengthy to explain than one might expect. However, it’s an incredibly important question to ask and find an answer to, as ultimately, it will determine where you can actually ride.

Let me explain further.

In the United States, ebikes are regulated at the state level, and they have created a Class 1, 2, 3 system. All three classes have a maximum power rating of 750W and then specific speed and throttle restrictions:

  • Class 1 - Pedal assist only with no throttle, maximum 20 mph
  • Class 2 - Pedal and throttle assist, maximum speed 20 mph
  • Class 3 - Same as Class 2 (Pedal and throttle assist to a maximum speed 20 mph) however the top speed is 28 mph (and pedal assist only aft 20 mph)

So you’ll have to do your homework before hitting up roads, multi-use paths and off-road trails during your travels. Luckily for us, our friends at People for Bikes have created an extremely useful database of state regulations that help determine where you can and can’t ride in each state.

In Canada, unfortunately the same level of complexities exist when it comes to where an ebike can be ridden. To date, the only federal limitation is that ebikes are limited to a maximum 500W power and top motor-assisted speed of 32 km/hour. Otherwise, similar to the United States, where exactly you can ride is regulated by provincial and municipal (local) bylaws.

As mentioned in an earlier post, DŌST is a supporter of non-profit Biking Advocacy Organizations including Velo Canada and People for Bikes in the US. These organizations are doing important work lobbying policymakers and government bodies in each respective country, to create universal standards and regulations when it to comes to ebike use.

By removing these current layers of complexity, ebike (and really all micromobility) use throughout North America can reach more elevated and mainstream levels of adoption.

And we can finally answer that ‘simple’ question without pulling up various charts and local government bylaw pages!

Happy Riding!