eBike Over 20 MPH


Winston asked:

  1. My e-bike tops out at 20mph. What happens if I take it over 20mph under my own power?
  2. What if it is capable of going over 20mph on electricity alone? Does this make it a “motor vehicle”? Especially for question #1, as I’ll always be pedaling.

I have no license. I would like to know so I don’t get arrested. I can’t seem to fathom calling my 20mph++ 750 watt ebike a “motor vehicle” if I humanly propel it over 20mph and the electric help tops out at 20mph.


It seems to be clear that if you are powering the bike only by human power at any speed and the motor is not engaged, it is a bicycle by the statutory definition and does not require registration or a driver’s license. See this statute:

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(2) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.

It is also clear from the statute that if your electric assist motor is capable of powering the vehicle at more than 20 mph on its own, it is not a bicycle and would require registration as a moped and a driver’s license to be operated legally on the roads. The wattage is not relevant, since that is not discussed in the statute.

If the motor combined with human power produces speeds greater than 20 mph, it is less clear. See this post and the imbedded links that discuss that topic:


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