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Do Electric Bikes Need Number Plates? Find Out Here!

When Do E-Bikes Have To Be Registered In The UK And US?

Electric bikes are becoming increasingly common these days.

While the answer to this question varies from country to country, the fact remains that electric bikes may require registration.

This is because they can be classified as motor vehicles under local laws.

In order to comply with these regulations, we must first learn them.

In the United Kingdom, 

What Are Considered An E-Bike In The UK?

An electric bicycle may also be referred to as:

  • E-Bike/ Ebike (from electric bike)
  • Pedelec (from pedal electric cycle)
  • EPAC (Electronically Power Assisted Cycles)

Electric bicycles are defined as:

  • A bike that has fully operable pedals that propel it.
  • An electric motor that won\’t assist you when you\’re travelling more than 25 km/h (15.5mph)
  • an electrically power-assisted cycle that doesn\’t exceed 250 watts.

These e-bike requirements apply to two-wheeled bikes, tandems, and tricycles.

But What If Your E-Bike Doesn\’t Meet These Requirements?

If your e-bike specs don\’t meet the requirements to be considered an e-bike, they will be treated as motorized vehicles. 

The speed limit allowed in the UK for e-bikes is 25 km/h or 15.5mph, but a lot of models of e-bikes have higher maximum performance speed than that.

In addition, an e-bike with a twist and go throttles that can go over the walking pace or more than the defined maximum speed limit is also considered a motorized vehicle. 

Those are still technically e-bikes, but they will be treated as a motorized vehicle, much like a motorcycle.

E-bikes, when they meet said requirements, are treated as normal bikes. You won\’t need to be registered with the DVLA, taxed, or insured. You don\’t even need a license to operate them. 

However, if your e-bike is considered a motorized vehicle, you will need to do all the documentation you would for any other type of vehicle.  

So, to answer the main question,

Do Electric Bikes Need Number Plates In The UK?

 If the e-bike exceeds the maximum speed limit of 25 km/h (15.5mph) while motor-assisted and/or has a twist and go throttles that go above 4 mph, they need to be registered like any other vehicle.

In the United States, 

Federal level E-bike definitions:

Like the UK definitions, the following also applies to two- or three-wheeled vehicles.

  • A vehicle with fully operable pedals and electric motor wattage of fewer than 750 watts (1 h.p.)
  • With maximum speed of less than 20 mph speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds,
  • The federal law also permits e-bikes to be powered by the motor alone (a \”throttle-assist\” e-bike) or by a combination of human and motor power (a \”pedal-assist\” e-bike).

Note:

The specifics of the definition of e-bikes will differ at the state level. 

For example, Delaware, Iowa, and other states define the maximum wattage for an e-bike as 750 watts or 750W motor.

Minnesota, North Carolina, and other states define the maximum wattage for e-bikes as 1000 watts or less. 

E-bike Classification System

Class 1

Class 1 e-bikes are those that have an electric motor that only assists the rider when they are pedalling. 

The engine must stop assisting the e-bike rider when the speed reaches 20 miles per hour, the maximum speed allowed.

Class 2

Class 2 e-bikes are those that have an electric motor that is only used to speed the bike through a throttle system. 

The engine must stop assisting when the speed reaches the maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.

Class 3

Class 3 e-bikes are those that have an electric motor that only assists the rider when they are pedalling. 

The engine must stop assisting the e-bike user when the speed reaches 28 miles per hour, the maximum speed allowed.

Class 3 e-bikes must have speedometers.

But What If Your E-Bike Doesn\’t Meet These Requirements?

Similar to the UK rules, US laws treat e-bikes that meet the defined requirements as normal bicycles and bikes that don\’t are considered powerful motors or motorized vehicles. 

However, because of how the laws work in the United States, the specifics will vary from state to state.  

Do Electric Bikes Need Number Plates In The US?

Again, because of how the laws in the US work, there is no one answer to this. 

In Alabama, Alaska, and North Dakota, you have to register your e-bike, and you need a driver\’s license to operate it.

In Missouri, you don\’t need to have a driver\’s license to ride an e-bike, but your e-bike must go through registration. 

In California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas, e-bikes are treated the same way as conventional bikes, so there is no need for license plates. 

Some states only require class 3 e-bikes to undergo registration. 

Final Words

Basically, as long as your local authorities consider your e-bike as a motorized vehicle, it will need to be registered, taxed, and insured just like other vehicles. 

Make sure to check the local rules and regulations in your area so you can follow them, especially if you\’re in the US, where laws can change per state. 

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Evan Medders

I'm Evan an avid cyclist and bike consultant. Besides my biking, I enjoy being a dad to two, a husband to one. Cycling is a fun and sustainable means of transportation, something not only our planet but also your body craves. We need to stay in physical shape, and keep our Earth in a good condition so we face fewer natural disasters. Biking is our way to see we do our part :)

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