Legislation, Laws and Regulations
Federal Electric Bicycle Regulations
Federal law says that an electrically driven bicycle is considered a "bicycle" and the laws of bicycles apply if:
- Electrically driven bicycle has less than 750 watt motor
- Functional pedals
- Max speed is less than 20 mph
The Federal law shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect to low-speed electric bicycles. (The state must regulate the electric bicycle as a bicycle.)
Here is a more detailed PDF version of this Electric Bicycle Regulation that you can print. We suggest you laminate it and keep with you when riding.
Pennsylvania Bike Laws
Pennsylvania's bicycle laws help insure the safety of everyone on the road. All riders should become familiar with their state's regulations.
Print out the various PDF documents listed below or visit the PENNDOT BikeSafe website for more information about safety and regulations for riding any type of bicycle on Pennsylvania roadways. The site includes some Bike Safety Games that test your knowledge of bike safety and regulations with some short interactive quizzes and interactive graphics.
PDF documents you can view and print:
Pennsylvania Bike Law
Road Riding Tips:
Where to Ride on the Road
Riding through Intersections
Getting Across Non-Standard Intersections
Steer Out of Trouble
Ways to Deal with Tough Situations
The pages above are PDF printouts of the Road Riding Section of the PENNDOT BikeSafe website.
REDUCING FRICTION BETWEEN BICYCLISTS AND MOTORISTS
The main way bicyclists annoy motorists is by doing unpredictable maneuvers the above pages warns against.
There will always be people in cars who yell, "Get off the road." Don't let them bother you. Position yourself to encourage drivers to maneuver around you correctly. Learn the correct hand signals or equip your bike with after-market turn signals. Read and learn the correct maneuvers for bicyclists. Know the law.
The number of bicyclists is increasing, and in the long run, more drivers will come to understand that it makes sense to share the road. Bicycles use less road space than cars; every person who chooses to ride a bicycle is reducing traffic problems.
Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has established a definition of Low-Speed Electric Bicycles.
"SUMMARY: Public Law 107-319, 116 Stat. 2776 (the Act), enacted December 4, 2002, subjects low-speed electric bicycles to the Commission's existing regulations at 16 CFR part 1512 and 16 CFR 1500.18(a)(12) for bicycles that are solely human powered. For purposes of this requirement, the Act defines a low-speed electric bicycle as "a two-or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph." Public Law No. 107-319, section 1, 116 Stat. 2776 (2002). The Commission is issuing this immediately effective amendment to its requirements for bicycles at 16 CFR part 1512 to promptly inform the public of the newly enacted statutory requirement on low-speed electric bicycles."
Department of Transportation
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has established a definition of Low-Speed Vehicles or LSVs and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles or NEVs.
If LSVs or NEVs are originally manufactured so that they can go faster than 20 miles per hour, they are treated as motor vehicles under Federal law.
"As low-speed vehicles, these 20 to 25 mile-per-hour vehicles are subject to a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 500 (49 CFR 571.500) established by this final rule."
"The standard requires low-speed vehicles to be equipped with headlamps, stop lamps, turn signal lamps, tail lamps, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, windshields, seat belts, and vehicle identification numbers. The agency believes that these requirements appropriately address the safety of low-speed vehicle occupants and other roadway users, given the sub-25 mph speed capability of these vehicles and the controlled environments in which they operate."