Classes of eBikes
Denis asked: I read the different classes for evoke in Florida 1, 2 and 3. I see people with bikes that have throttle and pedalec combined in the bike lanes all the time. I was under the impression throttle is class two and not allowed to go where regular bicycles go. Is it a class two and class three combined that allows it to use bicycle lanes?
At present, there is no distinction between the types of ebikes in Florida. There is only the statutory definition that allows an electric assist motor for an ebike.
s. 316.003 – Definitions
(4) 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. A person under the age of 16 may not operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.
That ebike is a bicycle and can be used like any other bicycle on the roadway and does not require registration or a driver’s license. Lacking a local ordinance the contrary, it is not allowed on sidewalks or bike paths when under power other than only human power.
s. 316.1995 – Driving upon Sidewalk or Bicycle Path
(1) Except as provided in s. 316.008 or s. 316.212(8), a person may not drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.
There could be more powerful electric motors on other similar vehicles but they would be classified as mopeds or motorcycles and must be registered as such and would necessitate a driver’s license.
There is a national group that is attempting to have states’ legislation changed to have different classes of ebikes, some of which would be similar to the present statutory definition. They would also have the laws changed to allow ebikes under motor power on sidewalks and bike paths. The FBA is presently studying the proposals to determine whether or not to support them.
Several states have adopted the Class 1/Class 2/Class 3 classification scheme for e-bikes; Florida has not. The e-bike description in Florida’s definition of “Bicycle” is a little ambiguous; does “propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor” mean the rider >must< pedal in order for the electric motor to operate? If so, it would be classified as a Class 1 e-bike in the states that use the scheme.
Or, at least it would be if the motor cut out once the speed exceeded 20 mph. If rider gains speed on a descending grade, does Florida’s definition mean that the motor must cut out once the speed exceeds 20 mph? All the description says about that is that the motor cannot be capable of propelling the bike faster than 20 mph on level ground.
when you say “The FBA is presently studying the proposals to determine whether or not to support them.” what is the best way to get involved in this study effort?
Separately, I will forward your request to the FBA Executive Director. You can also contact the FBA directly at this address. Please refer to this post when doing so.