How Old Do You Have to be to Ride an Electric Bike

How Old Do You Have to be to Ride an Electric Bike?

Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are bicycles with a small motor that helps you pedal faster and easier. They are becoming more popular among people of all ages, but especially among young adults who want to enjoy the benefits of cycling without getting too tired. 

People used to think of e-bikes as a way to keep cycling in their golden years. With a handy lithium battery, they could overcome sore joints and tired knees.

Now electric bikes have also become popular among young adults. They are like a hybrid of a bike and a moped, offering freedom and convenience for a generation that often depends on rides or limited public transport.

But how old do you have to be to ride an electric bike? What are the legal restrictions on who can ride an e-bike? And why do we need laws for electric bikes?

The legal age for riding an e-bike is not always clear, especially in regions with different levels of authority.

In this blog post, we will explain the e-bike laws and where they apply. We will explain the laws in different countries and regions, and what you need to know before buying an e-bike for your teen. 

Whether you are interested in e-bikes for commuting, recreation, or fitness, this post will help you make an informed decision.

Who Can Ride an Electric Bike?

Electric bikes are not for everyone. These are pedelecs or EAPCs – bikes that have electric motors to assist pedaling. 

They can go very fast, so many places have set age limits for riding them, even without a license. You need a helmet to ride a pedelec in countries like Denmark, Canada, and some parts of the US.

Some areas even consider e-bikes as cars. This is rare, but in these cases, you have to follow the same rules as car drivers. That means getting the right licenses, insurance and number plates for your bike.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Ride an Electric bike?

Electric bikes are accessible to most people before they can drive a car. In the UK, you have to be 14 or older, and in the EU, the age limit is similar but varies by country.

The US does not have a uniform policy on e-bike riding. The federal government has not passed any national laws, so each state sets its own minimum age.

State laws can differ a lot when it comes to e-bikes. For example, Arizona has no age limit for electric bike riders, while Idaho requires them to be at least 16 years old.

To find out more about the rules around the world, keep reading.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Ride an Electric Bike in the USA?

The situation is a bit tricky. There is no clear-cut minimum age for e-bike riding in the US. 

Depending on where you are in the country, you might need to be at least fourteen years old to ride one. Or you might be able to hop on a battery-powered bike from the moment you are born.

But there is one thing that most states agree on. They require that riders under sixteen years old wear a helmet when they ride an e-bike. Delaware, Florida, Maine, North Carolina, Maryland, and Montana are some of the states that have this rule.

In some other states, like New Mexico and Indiana, you need to wear a helmet until you are eighteen years old. And since e-bikes in the US can go as fast as 25mph, you should consider wearing a helmet even if you are much older than that.

For more specific information on each state, you can check out the People for Bikes website. They have useful factsheets that explain the e-bike laws and regulations in all fifty states. 

They also cover the use of e-bikes in the country’s huge National Parks, in case you want to enjoy the scenery of Yosemite’s redwoods or the Rockies’ mountains.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Ride an Electric Bike in Canada?

Electric bike age laws vary across Canada’s diverse provinces. For example, on the scenic Prince Edward Island, e-bikes are considered mopeds, so you need to be 16 or older and have a license to ride them.

You also need a license to ride in the green province of Quebec. But in some provinces, like coastal New Brunswick, there is no age limit for electric bike riders.

It is fascinating to see how Canada’s bike-friendly cities, such as Montreal and Vancouver, are responding to the growing popularity of e-bikes – and it’s important to know the rules before you ride.

If you ride an electric bike underage in Ontario, you could face a fine of up to $500. So your e-bike use could be not only unlawful, but also very expensive.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Ride an Electric Bike in the UK?

The minimum age for riding an e-bike in the UK is 14. But you have to be at least 18 to rent an e-bike from a public scheme like Lime or Santander.

Parents or carers can take their kids aged 14 or older for a ride in London’s parks using TFL Santander bikes. They can hire an extra bike for their child, but they must be responsible for them and check that this TFL rule is still valid.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Ride an Electric Bike in Australia?

Australia is a huge country, but its electric bike age laws are mostly consistent across its territories. 

In Queensland, riders under 16 need adult supervision, and in West Australia, they can’t ride e-bikes at all.

In Tasmania, you need to be 16 or older and wear a helmet. In Victoria, the minimum age is 12. In New South Wales, there is no age limit for e-bike riders. 

The Northern Territory has the toughest rules, with cyclists having to be 18 or more and wear a snug bike helmet.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Ride an Electric Bike in Europe?

E-bike power was agreed upon by the 27 EU member states more than three years ago, but minimum age is still a tricky issue. 

In countries such as Belgium and Denmark, there is no age limit for riding a 250W bike on the roads.

However, in Denmark, the only bikes that have an age limit are the new ‘speed pedelecs’ – which can go on cycle paths, but can reach speeds of 28mph. For these bikes, the Danish authorities require riders to be fifteen.

Since the rules vary so much, it’s a good idea to check with the authorities of any country you plan to visit, especially if you are cycling on a cross-European route like EuroVelo.

When and Where You Need a License for an Electric Bike?

The rules for riding an electric bike differ depending on your location. In the US, each state has its own regulations for e-bikes, and some of them treat them like luxury cars.

In the UK, you don’t need a license to ride an e-bike – or EPAC as they are officially called – as long as you meet the minimum age requirement and your bike is not modified. 

In mainland Europe, there are EU directives that set the standards for e-bike power and speed limits, but they don’t say if you need a valid driver’s license to ride one. 

Therefore, you have to check the e-bike licensing laws of each of the 27 EU countries.

Are Helmets Required For Riding an Electric Bike?

There is no common law for e-bike riders to wear helmets. In the US, many states ban teenagers from cycling without helmets.

In some EU countries, the helmet rule is stricter. Italy and Ireland make it compulsory for e-bike riders under eighteen to wear a helmet.

The Highway Code advises that all cyclists should wear a helmet, but it is not legally mandatory in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

However, wearing a helmet can greatly lower your chance of a serious head injury – and e-bike accidents can be more severe, so you shouldn’t skip buying one just because it’s not required by law.

Additional Regulations on Electric Bikes

If you are legally allowed to ride and own an e-bike, you should be aware of the general rules that apply to them, such as power limits, pavement access, and bike lane usage.

Electric bike laws vary widely depending on where you are in the world. Even within the same continent or country, different regions may have different regulations. 

To help you understand e-bike ownership better, we have gathered electric bike regulations from the UK, USA, EU and Asia.

Electric Bike Regulations in the UK

Before you ride your electric bike in the UK, you should check out the Discerning Cyclist’s article on the essential laws you need to know.

The main UK e-bike laws are about the power and speed of the bike. The power limit is 250W and the speed limit is 15.5mph. The bike can only use the throttle up to 3.7mph.

The bike must be mainly pedal-powered, or else it will not count as a bicycle.

The bike must also show its power output on the frame and the details of the motor, speed and battery on the bike.

You can ride your e-bike anywhere you can ride a normal bike, such as roads, bike paths and trails and bridleways. But you cannot ride on the pavement.

You also need to be at least 14 years old to ride an e-bike, and sometimes 18 years old if the bike is from a ‘city bike’ scheme.

Electric Bike Regulations in the USA

The US federal government has only one rule for e-bikes: they cannot go faster than 20mph on motor power only. If you pedal along, you can reach up to 28mph.

But the rest of the rules depend on your state, and they are not the same everywhere. This can be puzzling for both buyers and sellers of e-bikes. We suggest you look at People for Bikes to find out more about your local area.

Electric Bike Regulations Around the World

Sixth Tone, a Chinese state-owned media, reports that China produces about 30 million e-bikes every year – but what are the regulations for the riders? 

Electric bike use is defined and governed differently by different regions in China. This is because local laws can override national cycling laws.

For instance, in Beijing, e-bike riders have to register their electric bike with the local government and also have a driver’s license. The country has over 200 million registered electric bikes.

In Japan, e-bikes also need to be registered and their top speed is capped at 24mph. In the past, some cycle sellers have been charged for selling faster imported models, which are considered as motor vehicles and need plates under Japanese law.

Why We Need Electric Bike Laws

You might wonder why this rule exists, since EAPCs are legally the same as normal bikes without power. Kids under 14 can ride bikes, so what’s wrong with electric bikes? The Department for Transport says it’s all about safety.

Riding a vehicle with power needs some skill and responsibility, and the more power the vehicle has, the more skill and responsibility you need. 

You have to be at least 16 to ride a moped. “But for EAPCs, this was lowered to 14 years old” because they have less power and danger than mopeds (and other vehicles with power). 

Also, the youngest riders of vehicles with power are more likely to get injured, so these laws are there to keep them safe.

What is the Penalty for Breaking the Age Limit on E-Bikes?

If you are under 14 and ride an electric bike, you can get fined according to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. It is not a very serious offense, but the fine is high enough to make parents and guardians follow the law.

How Old Must You Be to Ride an Electric Bike?

Unlike electric bikes, traditional bikes require physical effort and balance and are easy to find for young people. But electric bikes have a motor, so kids need to be responsible and skilled enough to handle something faster.

Even though they are not cars, lawmakers often treat electric bikes as motorized vehicles. So they made laws to protect children’s safety.

Some states like California, Florida and Washington have divided electric bikes into classes. Some low-speed models may not have any age limits, but many authorities limit what they call Class 3 bikes: bikes with a motor that stops working when the bike reaches 28 miles.

Right now, the lowest allowed age for this kind of product is 14. But you should check your local laws to see the youngest age to ride an electric bike where you live.

Does Your City or State Allow E-Bikes?

Electric bikes are popular in California, where people use them for fun and convenience on different terrains. Only teens 16 and up can ride a Class 3 e-bike, and they need a helmet and no passengers. But they don’t need a license.

There is no age limit in Arizona, and Utah lets kids eight and older ride an electric bike with an adult. Teens can ride by themselves when they turn 14.

In New York City, a busy place for commuters, electric bikes are allowed in the regular bike lanes and on roads with a low speed limit. Teens have to be at least 16.

Some states like Alabama, Alaska, Idaho and Massachusetts require riders to have a license before they can use e-bikes on the roads.

Safety on Electric Bike 

Riding electric bikes is a fun activity, but it also requires care and attention. Like any other vehicle, e-bikes can be involved in crashes. 

That’s why more than half of the US states mandate helmets for riders, such as in Florida, Connecticut and Maine. Teens should wear this protection to prevent head injuries in case of a fall.

Moreover, as your teens explore the world on their e-bikes, they should remember these guidelines:

  • Follow the traffic rules
  • Be aware of their surroundings 
  • Don’t exceed the speed limit 
  • Learn the roads and paths 
  • Make themselves visible to other drivers

Advice on Buying an Electric Bike for Your Teen

Different riders have different preferences, so companies offer a variety of products to match different needs and locations. 

To start your e-bike shopping, make a list of what your teens want and need from their bike. Think about these questions:

  • What will the bike be used for mainly? 
  • What kind of terrain is in your area? 
  • Does your child need extra motor assistance? 
  • What colors does your child like? 
  • Do you want a basket or a place to store things? 
  • Does your teen need a better physical support system? 

Use these answers to narrow down your choices.

An electric bike is a wonderful gift for your kids. But before you buy one, check your local laws first. Find out what the age limits and requirements are in your area. 

If your teens are old enough, get them the best ride, and teach them how to follow the rules and stay safe.

Also Read: Best Electric Bikes for Teens


In conclusion, electric bikes are a great way to enjoy the outdoors, exercise, and commute. However, they also come with some rules and regulations that vary by state and country. 

Before you buy an e-bike for yourself or your kids, make sure you check the local laws and requirements. You also need to follow some safety tips and best practices to avoid accidents and injuries. 

E-bikes are not toys, but vehicles that need to be handled with care and responsibility. If you do that, you can have a lot of fun and benefit from riding an e-bike.

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