Tennessee Electric Bike Laws
If you’re thinking about buying one or possibly looking to use yours for the first time, Electric Bikes have been a popular trend in recent years. Just the thought of zipping around town on an electric-assisted bike brings thoughts of fun and freedom.
But before you strap up to hit the road, it’s very important to go over your local state laws. For those of you from the Volunteer State, here are the Tennessee Electric Bike Laws.
Tennessee does not require a license or registration for Electric Bicycles. They are allowed on the same trails and paths as Bicycles and any rider under 16 must wear a Helmet when operating on a highway, street, or sidewalk. But there may be additional restrictions.
Tennessee allows Electric Bicycles exceeding no more than 750 watts, classified in the categories below:
- Class 1 – An Electric Bicycle that only provides assistance up to 20mph while pedaling.
- Class 2 – An Electric Bicycle that provides assistance up to 20mph, independent of pedaling.
- Class 3 – An Electric Bicycle that provides assistance up to 28mph while pedaling.
Electric Bicycles are not subjected to any laws or requirements applicable to motor vehicles. With the exception of Class 3 Electric Bicycles, they are allowed to operate on the same trails and pathways as standard bikes and are subjected to the same laws when operating on roads or highways. On roads or highways, riders must adhere to the same duties applicable to drivers of motor vehicles.
Following the law
As you may have expected, certain rules will apply for different situations, riders, and bicycles:
- All riders under 16 must wear a Helmet when riding on any highway, street, or sidewalk
- Riders of Class 3 Electric Bicycles must wear helmets, regardless of age
- Riders under the age of 14 may not operate Class 3 Electric Bicycles
- Electric assistance must be Disabled when riding on sidewalks that allow bike traffic
- Similar to normal bikes, Electric Bicycles must adhere to the same rules when riding on the road, including; riding close to the right side of the lane, Riding no more than 2 wide, and giving the right of way to other operators
- When riding at night, all bicycles must be outfitted with a headlight and taillight visible up to 500 feet
- No clinging to cars
- No carrying of packages requiring more than one hand off the handlebars
- No “Play” allowed on highways except at designated areas
- No modifications to the engine
Please be advised, this is not a full list of Tennessee’s Electric Bike laws , please research TDOT‘s website for additional information. As well, please be aware that local government or state agency reserves the right to change or remove any right or law at any time.
Helmets are required for any rider of Class 3 Electric Bicycles and any rider under 16 who wishes to ride on highways, streets, or sidewalks. Just like standard bicycles, Headlights and Taillights are required for riding at night. Class 3 electric Bicycles must be outfitted with a speedometer before operating on streets or highways.
This post is not a comprehensive list and is not intended for legal use or guidance. Laws and policies can change at any time and it is advised to check with your local agencies for proper guidance and direction.