Wisconsin eBike Law Summary

Smaug

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I was thinking that a lot of us have researched our state's eBike laws extensively. I have done so for Wisconsin, and I thought I would share what I've learned in concise English. Feel free to copy & paste this post, then adapt the contents of the bullet points to your own state's (or country's) laws.

Wisconsin uses the federal 3 Class system, where:
  • Class 1 is pedal-assist only. Assistance cuts out at 20 mph.
  • Class 2 is pedal-assist or throttle, with assistance for either mode cutting out at 20 mph.
  • Class 3 is throttle up to 20 mph, pedal-assist only up to 28 mph.

Wisconsin laws:

eBikes:
  • Need to be 16+ to operate Class 3
  • Legal for road use, forbidden on interstate expressways and some US highways (like all bicycles)
  • No driver's license required
  • Local DMV doesn't title or register eBikes (would need a VIN)
  • Local ordinances may be more restrictive; you'll have to check by locality
  • If over 28 mph, it may become a Moped. To do, it would need a VIN, so it can be titled and registered. If no VIN, then it is never legal for road use and can only be used offroad. This is why a lot of the high speed "eMopeds" have the off-road-use-only disclaimer.
  • Passengers are not discussed, so two-up is OK!
  • Use on state trails are on a case-by-case basis. Details are here: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/parks/recreation/biking
Mopeds:
  • Engine is integral to the vehicle. (as opposed to a bolt-on motor to a bicycle)
  • Engine displacement is < 50 cc, if it has an automatic transmission
  • Engine displacement is < 130 cc, if it is a bicycle type, with fully operative (for propulsion) push pedals
  • No passengers allowed
  • Class D (car) driver's license required
  • Needs WI title & plates
  • Not allowed on sidewalks, along fence lines or the untraveled part of the road. (eBikes are)
  • Entitled to a full traffic lane, but may not impede the flow of traffic. (means you have to move over to the edge of the lane to let cars pass if needed)
  • May park in a regular parking space, on sidewalks and bike racks
What I found interesting and noteworthy for Wisconsin:
  • Throttle only operation above 20 mph is illegal for eBikes. We have to at least ghost pedal a Class 3 eBike. It's stupid, but there it is.
  • Mopeds have no speed limits, only displacement limits. So a 2-stroke 49 cc scooter that can go 50 mph is OK and a 130 cc pedal-style moped is OK. (these types of mopeds are both rare and will probably fetch a premium because of how this law was written) On the flipside, they cost more to operate and keep legal; and are higher maintenance than eBikes.
  • There's no mention of whether mopeds have to be insured

Source: https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/motorcycles/mc-how-aply/cycle.aspx
 
I was thinking that a lot of us have researched our state's eBike laws extensively. I have done so for Wisconsin, and I thought I would share what I've learned in concise English. Feel free to copy & paste this post, then adapt the contents of the bullet points to your own state's (or country's) laws.

Wisconsin uses the federal 3 Class system, where:
  • Class 1 is pedal-assist only. Assistance cuts out at 20 mph.
  • Class 2 is pedal-assist or throttle, with assistance for either mode cutting out at 20 mph.
  • Class 3 is throttle up to 20 mph, pedal-assist only up to 28 mph.

Wisconsin laws:

eBikes:
  • Need to be 16+ to operate Class 3
  • Legal for road use, forbidden on interstate expressways and some US highways (like all bicycles)
  • No driver's license required
  • Local DMV doesn't title or register eBikes (would need a VIN)
  • Local ordinances may be more restrictive; you'll have to check by locality
  • If over 28 mph, it may become a Moped. To do, it would need a VIN, so it can be titled and registered. If no VIN, then it is never legal for road use and can only be used offroad. This is why a lot of the high speed "eMopeds" have the off-road-use-only disclaimer.
  • Passengers are not discussed, so two-up is OK!
  • Use on state trails are on a case-by-case basis. Details are here: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/parks/recreation/biking
Mopeds:
  • Engine is integral to the vehicle. (as opposed to a bolt-on motor to a bicycle)
  • Engine displacement is < 50 cc, if it has an automatic transmission
  • Engine displacement is < 130 cc, if it is a bicycle type, with fully operative (for propulsion) push pedals
  • No passengers allowed
  • Class D (car) driver's license required
  • Needs WI title & plates
  • Not allowed on sidewalks, along fence lines or the untraveled part of the road. (eBikes are)
  • Entitled to a full traffic lane, but may not impede the flow of traffic. (means you have to move over to the edge of the lane to let cars pass if needed)
  • May park in a regular parking space, on sidewalks and bike racks
What I found interesting and noteworthy for Wisconsin:
  • Throttle only operation above 20 mph is illegal for eBikes. We have to at least ghost pedal a Class 3 eBike. It's stupid, but there it is.
  • Mopeds have no speed limits, only displacement limits. So a 2-stroke 49 cc scooter that can go 50 mph is OK and a 130 cc pedal-style moped is OK. (these types of mopeds are both rare and will probably fetch a premium because of how this law was written) On the flipside, they cost more to operate and keep legal; and are higher maintenance than eBikes.
  • There's no mention of whether mopeds have to be insured

Source: https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/motorcycles/mc-how-aply/cycle.aspx
I would not be surprised to see a vin# on your new Juiced Hyper Scambler. I'm seeing some ebike/emoped manufacturers adding it for another option to legalize the bike.
 
I would not be surprised to see a vin# on your new Juiced Hyper Scambler. I'm seeing some ebike/emoped manufacturers adding it for another option to legalize the bike.
Well, it seems like they have Serial Numbers:

What is traced by serial numbers can vary and may only be decodable by the manufacturer. VINs have a certain specified format and a lot of information contained within. Here's an interesting history on VINs: https://www.motorcycleproject.com/text/VINs.html
 
When i was building ICE bikes (gas engine powered bicycles) i'd often wondered that as well....
Some states/cities/counties townships are different and ask that on a gas powered bicyles to add 2 numbers and 1 letter to the end of the
already there bicycle serial number.

I'd heard from other people that it was more numbers and letters so i dont know how true all that is.

Someone from motoredbikes.com would know though, i think...that is our Sister Forum.
 
What I meant to say is, some ebike/emoped manufacturers I believe are putting a 17digit serial # on some of these ebike/emopeds frames.
Then that opens up the opportunity to title the bike if the owner wants to.
 
When i was building ICE bikes (gas engine powered bicycles) i'd often wondered that as well....
Some states/cities/counties townships are different and ask that on a gas powered bicyles to add 2 numbers and 1 letter to the end of the
already there bicycle serial number.

I'd heard from other people that it was more numbers and letters so i dont know how true all that is.

Someone from motoredbikes.com would know though, i think...that is our Sister Forum.
Retrofit gas engines on bicycles is another loophole here. One can mount a 130cc motor-driven bicycle and go 50, but brakes won't be up to the job...
 
Retrofit gas engines on bicycles is another loophole here. One can mount a 130cc motor-driven bicycle and go 50, but brakes won't be up to the job...
Yeah we got that loophole in Kansas as well. It's worded about the same in my state.
 
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