Some Questions and Answers Regarding Florida Electric Bicycle Laws
Electric assisted bicycles are becoming a very common sight on bike paths, sidewalks and even beaches. They come in all different forms and have names like Pedego, Prodeco, Haibike and Rad. There are commuter models, mountain bikes and even lightweight folding models. The one thing that these increasingly popular electric bikes have in common is that they are pedal assisted and are classified as bicycles in the state of Florida. That is providing they do not exceed a top speed of 20 MPH. Below are some frequently asked questions:
Do I need a license to operate an electric bicycle in Florida?
No. To operate an electric bike in Florida does not require a license but unlike traditional pedal powered bikes, the rider must be over the age of 16.
Does an electric bike require a registration and license plates?
There are no registration and license plate requirements for electric bicycles if the maximum top speed of the bike is less than 20 mph.
Am I required to wear a helmet?
There is no helmet requirement, but wearing a helmet is always a wise choice, as with any bicycle. Wearing long pants and over the ankle shoes are also recommend for protection.
Am I required to carry insurance to operate an electric bicycle in Florida?
Electric bicycles do not require insurance in the State of Florida. However, insurance is available from several insurance companies to protect against theft and damage to the bike. When considering the cost of some electric bikes can reach $20,000 or more, insuring the bike would be a right choice to make. Liability insurance is available for injuries to others as well as property damage. Personal medical insurance is also available in case of injury as is vehicle contact insurance in case of a collision with another vehicle.
How far can an electric bike travel without being recharged?
Most electric bicycles have a pedal assist system that recharges the battery. There are optional controls that permit the bike to operate on electric power only, pedal assisted power or pedal power only. The average range of the electric motor without a charge is around 25 miles. This will vary between models. The batteries are rechargeable lithium with the average motor power being about 300 watts. It can take 3 or 4 hours to fully recharge the battery.
What if I buy an electric assisted bicycle that can exceed 20 mph?
Florida law places a 20 mph cap on the top speed of the electric bicycle. Any electric assisted pedal bike that exceeds that top speed capability to 30 mph is considered a Class E moped and a license and registration is required. Class E bikes are only allowed on sidewalks under pedal power. There are high performance models available that can reach speeds of 80 mph and are classified as motorcycles.
Am I permitted to ride my electric bike on the road in Florida?
Electric bicycles are allowed on roads in Florida. As with all vehicles, riders are required to adhere to traffic laws such as keeping right, obeying stop signs and signaling turns.
Can I get a DUI if I operate an electric bike while impaired?
DUI laws apply to all vehicles in Florida including bicycles. Electric assisted bicycles are no exception. The same penalties can be applied including license suspension, fines and even jail time.
What should I do if I am injured in an accident that is the fault of another driver or poorly maintained road conditions?
Seek medical attention immediately. Get the names of any witnesses and, if possible, take pictures of the entire scene. Do not give a statement to anyone representing the other parties insurance company. Call a bicycle accident attorney to explore your legal options.
Dolman Law Firm has represented many victims of bicycle accidents in Clearwater, Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville as well as the entire state of Florida. If you were injured on a bicycle or motorcycle call the Dolman Law Group at 727-451-6900 for a free, confidential evaluation of your case.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765