Is a License Required to Ride an Electric Trike?

By Addmotor | 05 January 2023 | 0 Comments
Electric tricycle for adults is a great alternative to traditional bicycles and tricycles and have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their numerous benefits. Adults who couldn’t enjoy riding bicycles after a certain age due to age-related weaknesses can no longer miss out on riding tricycles, as three wheel electric bikes for adults are manufactured to their best comfort and stability. It’s very much similar to traditional tricycles but with an addition of an electric motor that provides assistance in paddling when adults get tired and can no longer paddle. But with all other confusions arise a valid question in every consumer’s mind, do I need to get a license to ride an electric trike? So this article contains all the answers to the questions regarding license and riding a fat tire electric trike.
As many people see an electric tricycle for adults as an alternative to a traditional bicycle and a license isn’t required for manual bicycles, they do not find it necessary for electric trikes. But that is not true in every state and shouldn’t be taken casually as some states require a driver’s license and have the same process of acquiring it, as that of a car. Some states have a law regarding the license of an electric trike depending upon the type of electric vehicle you own. So how would you know in which category your fat tire electric trike falls and if you need a license to ride it? To answer this, we have gathered some information for you to know that clears your confusion
• Federal law
The federal law defines low-speed electric bicycles as “A two-or three-wheeled vehicle with pedals and an electric motor of fewer than 750 watts, whose maximum speed on a full throttle mode is less than 20 mph when ridden by a rider who weighs 170 pounds.” According to this definition by federal law, three-wheel electric bike for adults classifies under the category of low-speed bicycles. The maximum speed can increase when human power adds to the motor power during pedaling, as the law only states the maximum speed when the electric trike is driven solely by the motor power. Still, it is not stated by federal law if the license is required for low-speed bicycles, as it only regulates the manufacturing and first sale of electric trikes, leaving the rest of the regulations, such as the traffic rules and laws to be made by the state. But knowing this definition is important as the state laws depend upon this definition, stated by the federal law.
• State law
Each state has its own set of rules and regulations regarding fat tire electric trikes. Some states classify and incorporate electric bikes and electric trikes in the category of mopeds and scooters, which require licensing and registration. Some states have developed laws based on a three-tier classification system of electric bikes depending upon their speed and also classify electric tricycle for adults based on it, while other states have implemented some new laws regarding three wheel electric bikes for adults.   

What is the three-tier classification system?

Twenty-six US states classify electric bikes and electric tricycles for adults based on a three-tier classification system.
Class I: Electric bike with an electric motor that only provides pedaling assistance till the electric bike reaches 20 mph.
Class II: Electric bike with an electric motor that can exclusively propel the bike till the electric bike reaches 20 mph.
Class III: electric bike with an electric motor that only provides pedaling assistance till the electric bike reaches 28 mph.
The twenty-six US states consider electric tricycle for adults that fit in any of the above definitions as low-speed electric bicycles, which doesn’t require any license but has some traffic rules that riders need to follow. The rest of the states classify fat tire electric trikes as mopeds and scooters for which the license is necessary. The electric trike, which exceeds 28mph speed, would be categorized under motor vehicles, and the rules and regulations will be different for it. So before you buy 3 wheel electric bike, read the laws of your state, and find out how they define three wheel electric bikes for adults and if a license is required. 

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Age requirement

Since manual bicycles and tricycles do not require an age limit to ride, people may think there wouldn’t be any age requirement to ride an electric tricycle for adults. But that is not true, as we are talking about the license of an electric trike, there might be a law regarding the minimum age limit of a rider to ride one. There is no federal law regarding the age limit for riding a fat tire electric trike, but some states have rules regarding it, so it also varies from state to state. Many states, such as California, Florida, Ohio, Arkansas, Alabama, Illinois, etc. have set a minimum age limit of 16 to ride an electric trike that lies under class III of the three-tier classification, while state such as New York has an age requirement of at least eighteen years. So you need to look up the laws of your state to know about the minimum age requirement before you buy 3 wheel electric bike. But the rules and regulations regarding helmets are very strict and clear in most states, regardless of the age of a rider. In many states, wearing a helmet is necessary for both the rider and the passenger.
Some people might wonder why there is a requirement for an age limit and license for riding three wheel electric bikes for adults when anyone can easily ride a manual tricycle. An electric trike may be tricky to ride due to its heavy weight and broader base. There’s a certain level of maturity and expertise required to control a fat tire electric trike, especially when using brakes or turning the electric trike in narrow passages. Not only this, all motorized vehicles need a sharp and mature mind to ride them, which is necessary for the safety of the riders and pedestrians.
Electric tricycles for adults may be popular in the market due to their numerous benefits but before you buy 3 wheel electric bike, all the information regarding the laws of your state is necessary for you to know so that you enjoy riding your fat tire electric trike freely and safely without getting into any trouble.  


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