Electric bikes have been increasingly popular for commuters and people who want to travel around while reducing their carbon footprints. Not only will they allow you to swerve through traffic seamlessly, but they will also provide you with a great workout like a traditional bike.
While electric bikes can be great on off road terrain and on paved road surfaces, you still have to abide by traffic rules to prevent you and other vehicles from getting into accidents, which begs the question, are there age restrictions when it comes to riding an electric bike?
Age limits on electric bikes can vary depending on which country you are from and what type of electric bike you have. Most countries require a minimum age of 14-16 before they can ride an electric bike. In addition, if you have a throttle assisted bike, you might need a driver’s license to use them; however, if you have a pedal assisted bike, you can use them as long as you abide by your country’s age limit laws.
In this article, we will tackle everything there is to know regarding the requirements to ride electric bikes.
Let’s get right into it.
How old do you have to be to ride an electric bike?
State and local laws determine the correct age for an electric bike. Some states require children to be 14-16 years before being able to ride bikes with assist pedaling speeds of 25 mph.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many states which are currently updating the laws on electric bicycles. In addition, different laws mean that requirements regarding riding electric bikes can be pretty confusing.
Here are some tips you can keep in mind.
Are electric bikes legal in your country or city?
Before purchasing an electric bike, you first have to make sure that your electric bikes are legal to use. Electric bikes produced by manufacturers that have not passed proper safety tests are considered illegal in most countries.
Other than this, electric bikes are legal in almost all countries worldwide. They only become illegal once you violate traffic rules, such as in the UK, Japan, and China, which banned electric bikes on main public roads.
Also, electric bikes become illegal once the rider doesn’t meet the appropriate age limits in their state and local laws.
Age restrictions for electric bikes depend on the country.
Age requirements might vary a lot in different countries. Here are some of them.
Based on federal laws, there is no age requirement for kids to ride electric bikes. However, some states in the USA have added extra precautions to provide safety for young riders.
According to Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Washington, and California law, there is no age restriction for an individual to ride an electric bike. However, they do restrict Class 3 electric bikes for riders 16 and above.
Georgia and Indiana also apply the same rule. However, they restrict Class 3 bikes to children 15 years and above.
In states such as Tennessee, New Dakota, Hampshire, Alaska, Michigan, and Alabama, the minimum age requirement is 14 years old. For states such as Ohio, Kentucky, Idaho, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Oregon, PA, Vermont, Washington DC, Rhode Island, and Illinois, the minimum age requirement is 16 years old. While states like Hawaii, Minnesota, and New Jersey, the minimum age requirement is 15 years old.
In Australia, the minimum age requirement is 16 years old. However, they are only limited to use pedal assisted bikes with max power ratings of 200W and 250W. For a high performance electric bike with a more powerful motor, the minimum age requirement is 18 years old and must have a license, registration, and insurance.
In Singapore, the age requirement to ride an electric bike is 16 years old, and riders must always wear a helmet. In addition, the maximum power output is limited to 250 W, and the max speed is capped at around 25 km/h.
In India, the age requirement for a young child to ride e bikes is 18 years old. After this, your e bike must have a motor power output of less than 250 W and have a maximum speed limit of 15.5 mph. Otherwise, your e bike must be registered and licensed before it can be used on public roads.
Anyone aged 16 years and above can ride an electric bike in China. However, your e bikes must be registered in the Traffic Management Bureau and must not exceed a motor output of 400W.
In European countries like Belgium, riders must be 12 years old or above to ride 250W/15.5mph electric bikes. However, once the power output from your electric motor exceeds this value, you must be 16 years or older.
In the UK, the age requirement for riders to ride 250W electric bikes is 14 years old. If you want to know how fast can a 250w ebike go, you may read our article discussing that.
In Canada, there is no general age requirement as it depends on your state. In Alberta, riders must be 12 years or older; in Quebec, the age requirement is 14.
However, British Columbia and Ontario laws require riders to be at least 16 years old or older. In addition, an electric bike with an electric motor power output of 500W or greater and exceeds the 20 mph speed limit will be considered as motor vehicles and will require additional requirements such as a license and registration.
Age restrictions for electric bikes depending on the type.
Despite this, country laws are not the only ones that dictate the age requirements for kids to ride an electric bike. The different types of electric bikes can also directly affect the age limit because of varying motor wattage and their maximum speed limit.
There are two main types of electric bikes. Specifically, the pedal assisted and the throttle-assisted electric bike. Pedal assisted electric bicycles are an excellent option for people who want to ride their electric bikes like normal bikes; turn the assistance on and pedal along.
Depending on the e bike, there will be up to three or five levels of pedal assist; this will depend on varying brand names. Each mode will vary on the amount of assistance they provide you with.
The other type of electric bike is the throttle assisted electric bicycle; this type of e bike will help by either gripping the handlebars like in a motorcycle or pushing a small button near your handles.
You don’t need to pedal along to access the speed boost, which means they are great for people who have underlying medical conditions and get tired very quickly. However, a downside to this type of e bike is that they can drain their batteries much faster than pedal assisted e bikes.
Three classes of e bikes
Other than the type of e bike, they will also be categorized according to their classes. Here are the different classes of e bikes.
Class i e bike
The first class of e bikes has an installed motor that will only provide assistance up to 20 mph. Though a rider can pedal to speed up, the engine will stop working once the current speed of the e bike is 20 mph.
In addition, all class i e bikes don’t have throttle assistance, which means a rider must pedal along to get the motor working to have the speed boost. Class i e bikes have the lowest max speed limit, which is great for kids who want to ride safely.
Class ii e bike
A class ii e bike also has a motor that will only provide assistance up to 20 mph. However, a class ii e bike is also throttle assisted, allowing the rider to turn on the motor by cranking the handlebars.
A rider can choose to pedal along to get the motor started or use the handlebars.
Class iii e bikes
Class iii e bikes can offer assistance up to speeds of 28 mph with their pedal assistance. However, the motor will only provide speed assistance once the bike reaches 20 mph if you are using the throttles.
Most states and countries are not too strict with class 1 ebikes as they are the slowest among the three and are typically made for kids. For class 2 ebikes, some states require some minimum age and will need kids to wear safety gear like a helmet to ride them.
For class 3 ebikes, most states consider them as electric vehicles like motorcycles because of their bigger motor that provides riders an extra push and will treat them as such, requiring registration, a license plate, insurance, and many more.
Class 3 ebikes are limited to riders 16-18 years or older.
Are ebikes safe for children?
Absolutely. Ebikes provide children with a great form of workout, especially for kids who love going outdoors e mountain bikes will allow them to travel long distances and in higher elevations without much effort.
An ebike does not pose much danger to children as they function similarly to standard bikes when traveling at low speeds. Despite this, ebikes can be more dangerous in some cases if you are constantly using the throttle and pedal assist.
Here are some tips to keep in mind before allowing your kids to ride an electric bike.
If your child doesn’t know how to ride an electric bike, then it’s best to teach them how to ride the traditional bicycle first. Not only will this let them know the basics of riding a bike, but this will also be great in case of accidents as traditional bicycles travel a lot slower and are much lighter, which means they will not cause too much harm when your child accidentally falls.
Once your child learns how to ride the standard bicycles, you can now move on to ebikes, but be sure to stick to a class 1 ebike as they are safer because of their slower speed. Always encourage using safety gear like helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards to protect your child if they get into minor accidents.
In addition, encourage your child to only use the lower settings for speed assistance. A lower setting on your ebike will ensure that your child is traveling at a safe speed; this will also save much of your battery power. And lastly, this will also provide an excellent workout for your kids, improving their physical and mental health.
Quick Tips for Buying a Kids ebike
Looking for the best electric bikes for your children can be quite a hassling task because of the many factors you have to consider, like their type, class, and price. Some electric bikes cost up to $1500 to $2000 and more, depending on the brand name, and many more.
To filter the number of bikes flooding the electric bike market, here are some tips before buying a kid’s ebike.
It would be best if you first read up on your local laws as most states restrict kids to only use class 1 ebikes. In addition, you should ask what the primary purpose of the bike would be, does your child like to go to off-road terrain, or does your child prefer to ride an electric bike on paved surfaces; these questions will allow you to choose the type of electric bike easily.
Also, you should look for an ebike equipped with a torque sensor as this will allow your kid to control the bike’s speed with their pedals; not having this feature can be dangerous, especially at high speeds.
It would be best if you also avoided throttle assisted e-bikes as they are harder to control and travel considerably faster than pedal assisted ebikes. Lastly, you should also pay attention to the bike’s weight, as a heavier bike can be pretty hard to maneuver, especially for young kids.
Tell me the best way to teach a child to ride an electric bike.
The best way to teach a child to ride an electric bike would be to encourage them not to use any assistance at first.
If your child has not ridden a standard bike in the past, you should purchase a cheap ordinary bike with stabilizers that will allow them to learn the basics of balancing themselves on a bike.
Once they are ready to remove the stabilizers, try to let them ride normal bikes and then gradually move on to an ebike. Once they learn how to ride an ebike, they can gradually move on to more powerful ebikes with a more extensive power output.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a 13-year-old ride an electric bike?
This depends on which country and state you are living in. While most countries limit electric bikes to children between 14 and 16, some places allow 13-year-olds to ride an ebike.
However, 13-year-olds are limited to class 1 ebikes and must always wear protective gear.
Are electric bikes OK for kids?
Yes, electric bikes are great for children as they will ensure to give your child a great workout, but they will not tire them as much as standard bikes if ever they are going out on trips in rough terrain.
How far can an electric bike go?
The distance an electric bike can go depends on its battery and motor efficiency. However, most electric bikes can go anywhere between 20-50 miles after one full charge.
What is the top speed of electric bikes?
Some high-end electric bikes can go as fast as 125 km/h.
How much do electric bikes cost?
Most electric bikes can range anywhere between $600-$1000. However, high-end bikes can run you up to $5000.
Ebikes are not only great for commuters and adults, but they are also fantastic for kids and adolescent riders. Not only will this provide them with a great workout, but ebikes will also train them how to ride and operate a motorcycle in the future.
We hope this informative article has helped you become more knowledgeable on the age requirements of kids before letting them ride an electric bike.
Andrew Strider is an electric bike enthusiast. He currently owns 5 electric bikes and is an active member of his local electric bike club where he is able to test many other models/brands a few times a month.
When you purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.