What Is a Class 3 Electric Bike?

Published on January 14, 2023

Often considered the big shots of the e-bike world, class 3 cruiser e-bikes are the most powerful and quickest e-bikes among the three classes. 

An e-bike is considered class 3 when it reaches the top speed of twenty-eight miles per hour with pedal-assist. Once this speed is reached, the pedal-assist system in the bike is disengaged. Class 3 e-bikes fall just a tier below mopeds and motorcycles, which means there are additional legal restrictions and safety laws class 3 e-bike riders must follow. 

In many states, these bikes are often restricted to road-adjacent bike lanes and selective bike paths. Because speed is an important factor to consider, riders also have to be more careful when selecting their bike–solid tires, good brakes, and a stable ride are all essential for ensuring safety when riding a class 3 e-bike. 

Legal restrictions aside, there are still plenty of reasons class 3 e-bikes are a fan favorite. Their speed and added convenience make them perfect for busy commuters racing the clock to get to work or an early class. But even without the added speed, class 3 e-bikes are perfect if you’re just looking to have an incredible time biking down the road on a smooth-sailing ride. 

Legal Requirements and Restrictions Across States

If you’re jumping on the e-bike bandwagon, you’ve signed up for some great exercise, added convenience, and the much-craved adrenaline rush for hours on end. But before you go riding, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different e-bike regulations across the United States. 

Class 3 e-bikes are the most regulated type of e-bikes. In many states across the U.S., they are prohibited on bicycle trails or multi-use trails, or paths where other types of bikes are allowed. 

The exact legalities vary from area to area, but all local governments have the power to impose restrictions on the use of e-bikes using motor power while on bike paths. We highly recommend checking the specific e-bike laws and regulations in your town, city, or state before you hit the roads. 

Insurance and Registration

Most states in the U.S. follow a three-tier classification system when making legislation on e-bike usage. A majority of states do not require e-bikes to be registered or insured. However, there are several states that require e-bikes to have a visible label displaying top speed, class, and motor wattage. 

In states that lack a classification system or recognize only two tiers, you may need a license, registration, and vehicle insurance to ride a class 3 e-bike. It’s essential to check with your local authorities to ensure you comply with all rules. 

Helmets

State law has set unique helmet requirements for e-bike riders and passengers, and these also often vary from state to state. Many states require helmets in some capacity, depending on the age of the rider, the class of the bike, or both. 

For instance, Connecticut requires all riders to wear a helmet when riding an e-bike. Make sure to check with your local transportation department to ensure you comply with all helmet and travel safety requirements. 

Road and Sidewalk Regulations

There are also varying laws on whether e-bikes can be ridden on roads and sidewalks. In some states like Alabama, Virginia, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, e-bikes can share the road with other cars and must adhere to the same rules. 

In other states like Arizona, Utah, Washington, and Minnesota, e-bikes can be ridden on both sidewalks and roads. Even then, there may be restrictions depending on the class of bike, so make sure to verify whether you own a class 3 e-bike from the company you buy. 

For all e-bike-related questions–whether in regards to class 3 e-bikes, class 2 e-bikes, or others–be sure to reach out to the electric bike experts at Ride1Up. We’ll make sure you find the perfect model to suit your riding needs and be sure you’re well on your way to riding safely and adhering to all state laws and regulations–so you can take off with zero worries!