The cycling industry is highly accepting and recognizing of electric bikes. Nevertheless, state and county laws are unclear about where exactly the e-bikes can be ridden. As a result, pedestrians find it difficult to walk on the sidewalks.
Is it possible to ride an e-bike on the sidewalk? Certainly. It is possible to ride an electric bike on the sidewalk in the United States. But the federal government allows each state, county, and city to enact laws governing e-bike riding on sidewalks.
The majority of states and counties classify e-bikes as motor vehicles and prohibit them from riding on the sidewalks. Make sure you are familiar with the state, county, and city regulations before riding your electric bike on the sidewalk.
The purpose of this article is to provide safety tips to keep in mind when riding an e-bike on the sidewalk. In addition, I have also shared factors that influence whether you can ride an electric bike on the sidewalk in the United States.
Can You Ride an E-bike on The Sidewalk?
Electric bikes are classified as motor vehicles in New Mexico, Alabama, and Massachusetts. However, many local authorities still allow people to ride e-bikes on the sidewalks.
Electric bikes are considered regular bicycles by the federal government. Following the standard bicycle laws will make riding the e-bike on the sidewalk more comfortable. Although there are a lot of rules and regulations, these days people in the USA use e-bikes for delivery, and food delivery by e-bike is one of the best options available.
The following factors determine whether you can ride an e-bike on a sidewalk in the United States of America:
The Adjacent Road Speed Limit
Some local authorities allow cyclists to ride their electric bikes on the sidewalk if the speed limit on the adjacent road is over 20mph.
When the speed limit drops below 20mph, cyclists will be required to return to the main carriageway.
Local authorities require cyclists to ride e-bikes in the same direction as traffic in the adjacent lane. If not, it will be illegal to ride in the opposite direction of traffic.
Give Way and Warning Rules
Cyclists and pedestrians can share some sidewalks. However, cyclists must give way to pedestrians to avoid breaking local laws.
Avoid collisions by using a horn bell when approaching a pedestrian. Read the rules in your locality to stay safe and avoid tickets or fines.
In some localities, sidewalks are designated as shared pathways. At these locations, cyclists can legally ride electric bikes.
The Bike Wheels Size
Most local authorities design sidewalk cycling regulations based on the size of the bike wheels. E-bikes with 12-16 inch wheels can be ridden on sidewalks. Bicycles with larger wheels cannot be ridden on sidewalks.
Age of Rider
Children are allowed to ride their bicycles on sidewalks in most states and counties. This is a safer option than riding near vehicle traffic or bike lanes.
In Canada and the United Kingdom, electric bikes cannot be ridden on sidewalks (pavements). Before hitting the sidewalks, make sure you are familiar with the laws of your country.
Bike Lane Designation
Bikes can be ridden on regular or electric bike lanes in many cities. Every cyclist must use the lane for pedestrian safety and ease of progress.
Tips to Keep in Mind While Riding an E-Bike on the Sidewalk
If there are a lot of pedestrians using the sidewalk, riding an electric bike can be intimidating. It is common for pedestrians to walk casually and even swerve. Casual walking increases the risk of an accident.
The following are quick safety tips to keep in mind when riding an electric bike on the sidewalk to avoid causing an accident and getting fined:
- Use a Horn Bell:When approaching pedestrians from behind, a horn bell will alert them. This will prevent collisions on the sidewalk.
- Lower Speed Level: Most electric bikes have a speed control setting. If you are riding on a sidewalk, you must lower your electric bike's speed level. Cycling at a low speed allows the cyclist to control the bike.
- Give Way and Warning Rules:All cyclists must give way to pedestrians while riding on sidewalks. An e-bike horn bell can be used to alert pedestrians of the approaching vehicle.
- Flow with the Traffic:For safety reasons, most countries require cyclists to ride their electric bikes in the same direction as traffic flow. Traveling in the opposite direction increases the risk of road accidents.
Whether you can ride an e-bike on the sidewalk or not depends entirely on the laws in your state and county. Earlier in the article, I explained how or when you could ride your e-bike on the sidewalk. It is the law of your state that allows you to ride an e-bike on sidewalks.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with each state, county, and city regulation before riding your electric bike on the sidewalks. This will help you avoid getting fined for breaking the law.