The information below is provided by the State of California DMV. It has been reposted here for your convenience.

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electric bicycle classes

Electric Bicycles (AB 1096, Chiu):

This law adds an entirely new definition of an electric bicycle to the California Vehicle Code.

An electric bicycle is defined as a bicycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts. The law creates three classes of electric bicycles.

A person riding an electric bicycle is subject to the same provisions as a person riding a bicycle, as described in Chapter 1 of Division 11, commencing with Section 21200 CVC.

 

Defined Classifications:

  • Electric Bicycles (3 Classes)

  • Moped or Motorized Bicycles

  • Motor-Driven Cycles

  • Motorcycles

  • Motorized Scooters

  • Electrically Motorized Boards

  • Motorized Skateboards

  • Pocket Bikes / Mini Motorcycles

definitions

Source Link: State of California CHP

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electric bicycles

An electric bicycle is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts, and is categorized by the following:

  1. Class 1 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.

  2.  Class 2 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.

  3. Class 3 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 28 miles per hour.  This bicycle is equipped with a speedometer.

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A person riding an electric bicycle is subject to the same provisions as a person riding a bicycle, as described in Chapter 1 of Division 11, commencing with Section 21200 CVC.

  • Must be 16 years of age or older to ride a Class 3 electric bicycle. 

  • A person under the age of 18 must wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet when riding on a public roadway or bikeway.

  • Use may be restricted or prohibited by local ordinance.

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moped / motorized bicycles

Section 406(a) CVC refers to a moped or motorized bicycle as any two or three wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, or having no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy, has an automatic transmission, and a motor which produces less than 4 gross brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on level ground. 

  • A driver license with an M-1 or M-2 endorsement is required.

  • A DOT compliant helmet is required.

  • It is unlawful to operate a moped or motorized bicycle on a roadway while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

 
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motor-driven cycles

 A motor-driven cycle is a motorcycle with a motor that displaces less than 150cc per CVC 405.  

  • Two-wheeled motor-driven cycles require an M-1 endorsement. 

  • Three-wheeled motor-driven cycles require a Class C driver license.

  •  A DOT compliant helmet is required. 

 
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motorcycles

 A motorcycle is a motor vehicle that has a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground per California Vehicle Code (CVC) 400 (a) and whose motor displaces more than 150 cubic centimeters (150cc). 

  • Two-wheeled motorcycles require an M-1 endorsement.

  • Three-wheeled motorcycles or motorcycles with an attached sidecar require only a Class C driver license per CVC 12804.9.

  • A Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet is required.

 
 
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motorized scooter

 A motorized scooter is any two-wheeled device that has handlebars and a floorboard that is designed to be stood upon when riding, may have a driver seat that does not interfere with the ability to stand and ride, and is powered by electricity or other power source but may also be designed to be powered by human propulsion.  A motorized scooter shall at all times be equipped with a muffler, and the exhaust system shall not be modified to amplify or increase noise level.  The maximum speed limit scooters may be driven is 15 mph, and scooters may be operated on a bicycle path, trail, or bikeway unless prohibited.  If operated on a roadway with a posted speed limit greater than 25 mph, scooter must be operated in a Class II bicycle lane.  If operated on a roadway with a posted speed limit less than 25 mph, riding in a bicycle lane is not required.

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  • A Class C driver license or driver permit is required.

  • A properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet is required.

  • It is unlawful to operate a motorized scooter on a roadway while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

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electrically motorized board

 An electrically motorized board, or hoverboard, is any wheeled device that has a floorboard designed to be stood upon when riding, that is not greater than 60 inches deep and 18 inches wide,  and designed to transport only one person. The device has an electric propulsion system averaging less than 1,000 watts, with a maximum speed of no more than 20 miles per hour when powered solely by the propulsion system on a paved level surface.  The device may be designed to be powered by human propulsion. The maximum speed an electrically motorized board may be operated is 15 miles per hour, and only on roadways with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, unless on a Class II or Class IV bikeway.   If operated during darkness the device must be equipped with, or the operator must have attached to their person, a headlamp that emits white light that is visible from 300 feet, a red reflector on the rear that is visible from 500 feet, and white or yellow reflectors on each side visible from 200 feet.

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  • Operator must be 16 years of age or older.

  • A properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet is required when operating on public roadway or bikeway. 

  • Must not be operated at a speed greater than is reasonable for conditions.

  •  It is unlawful to operate an electrically motorized board (hoverboard)  on a roadway while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

  • Use may be restricted or prohibited by local ordinance.

  • A motorized skateboard is not a hoverboard.

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motorized skateboard

  •  Operation permitted on private property only. 

  • Illegal on highways, sidewalks, bikeways and hiking or recreational trails. 

  • A hoverboard is not a motorized skateboard.

 
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pocket bikes / mini motorcycles

 

A pocket bike is a two-wheeled motorized device having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, that is not designed or manufactured for highway use.  A pocket bike does not include an off-highway motorcycle, as defined in CVC 436.

  • Operation permitted on private property only.

  • Illegal on highways, sidewalks, bikeways, and hiking or recreational trails.

 
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