Are Electric Bikes Legal In Texas – E-Bike Laws in Texas

Texas E-Bike laws are surprisingly modern and easy-going after recent law changes. All classes of Electric Bike are allowed and there are very few restrictions. Read on for the full Texas Electric Bike Laws.

Legal Disclaimer: We are not giving legal advice and you shouldn’t take this as the law. This is just a collection and summation based on what we interpret from local laws. We aim to keep it up to date but can’t guarantee anything.

Are Electric Bikes Legal In Texas?

Yes, it’s legal to buy and ride Electric Bikes in Texas. House Bill 2188 became effective on August 1st, 2019. All three of the E-Bike classes are allowed and the legislation is very close to the ideal that we’d like to see all states use.

There are a few restrictions on where you can ride so read on for everything and make sure you don’t get caught out by something small. Otherwise, Texas is great if you’d like an E-Bike for leisure, commuting, or souping up for off-road riding.

What Class Electric Bikes Are Allowed In Texas?

All three classes of Electric Bike are allowed in Texas. The laws define the different classes as follows, and these will line up with what most E-Bike manufacturers offer: –

“Class 1 electric bicycle” means an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that assists the rider only when the rider is pedaling and with a top assisted speed of 20 miles per hour or less.

“Class 2 electric bicycle” means an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used to propel the bicycle without the pedaling of the rider and with a top assisted speed of 20 miles per hour or less.

“Class 3 electric bicycle” means an electric bicycle: equipped with a motor that assists the rider only when the rider is pedaling and with a top assisted speed of more than 20 but less than 28 miles per hour.

E-Bike Laws Texas - Electric Bike Classes
Electric Bike Classes in Texas explained

All three classes need to have fully operable pedals – even if you don’t use them to power the motor. The motor needs to be less than 750 watts and you’ll need a permanent label with the Class, top assisted speed, and the watt power.

E-Bikes also need to have at least one wheel which is “more than 14 inches in diameter”. That could mean some very small foldable E-Bikes aren’t legal in Texas but also means penny-farthing E-Bikes are a-OK.

For more on Class 1, 2 + 3 read – What Are Electric Bike Classes?

Top Watt Power For Electric Bikes In Texas

The wattage requirements technically mean under 750 watts and most manufacturers make 750 watts exactly. This might get amended but it’s more likely your E-Bike motor’s sticker will say 749 watts instead.

How Fast Can Electric Bikes Go In Texas?

You can ride an E-Bike up to 28 mph in Texas. That’s the max speed for a Class 3 Electric Bike only, which you’ll need to pedal.

If you don’t need that much or would prefer a throttle you can go for a Class 1 (pedal) or Class 2 (throttle). Both of these go to 20 mph which is plenty for most.

Do You Need A License Or Plate For E-Bikes In Texas?

No, you don’t need to register, get a plate, or have a driving license to ride any class of Electric Bike in Texas. However, if you make or buy an E-Bike outside of the Class system you’ll probably need to register it as a moped or motorbike.

Do You Need Insurance For E-Bikes In Texas?

No, there’s no requirement to get insurance when riding an Electric Bike in Texas. However, we would recommend getting some. It’ll protect you in the case of an accident or personal claim against you, as well as for theft which can be something to think about with an expensive E-Bike.

What Is The Electric Bike Minimum Age in Texas?

Only Class 3 E-Bikes have a minimum age of 15 years old. That only applies to riders so it’s okay to have your bike in a dedicated seat. Class 1 and 2 E-Bikes have no minimum age.

Do You Have To Wear A Helmet When Riding An Electric Bike In Texas?

It’s Texas so no helmet is required for all ages. Local laws may vary. Helmets are very important though and we really do think you should wear them on Electric Bikes because of the increased speed.

Can Electric Bikes Carry Passengers In Texas?

Passengers of all ages are allowed on Electric Bikes in Texas. Passengers must be riding on dedicated seats so no quick backies or standing on BMX pegs e.t.c.

Are E-Bike Laws Different To Standard Bicycle Laws In Texas?

Are Electric Bikes Legal In Texas - E-Bike Routes
E-Bikes have basically the same rights and access as standard bicycles in Texas!

Not really. By default Electric Bikes can go anywhere standard bicycles can – though local authorities are allowed to make specific regulations on speed/classes and if E-Bikes are allowed in certain areas.

In general, you have exactly the same protections as normal bikers do. You also have to adhere to the same road laws which include passing safely, signaling properly, and using bicycle lanes where possible.

You also get the same protections as bicycle riders do. This means legally cars have to be aware of you and give space when overtaking. It also means standard manufacturing laws and consumer rights apply to E-Bikes – protecting you.

Are Throttle Electric Bikes Legal In Texas?

Yes, you can get a Class 2 Electric Bike that uses a throttle and goes 20 mph. The wording of the law means Class 1 and 3 E-Bikes can’t use throttle. Some manufacturers ignore that and add “boost” style buttons but that wouldn’t be legal.

Do You Need A Speedometer On Electric Bikes In Texas?

Only Class 3 Electric Bikes need speedometers in Texas. There isn’t anything saying it has to be miles or km on the readout.

Is There A Weight Limit For E-Bikes In Texas?

No, there’s no weight limit for Electric Bikes in Texas. This applies to the bike, the rider, passengers, and cargo.

Can You Get Fined For Riding An Electric Bike In Texas?

As long as you stay within the Class system then you shouldn’t have any reason to get a fine. You should be aware of local laws that apply to certain areas that could supersede the state laws.

Standard traffic violations do apply to E-Bikes though, as do DUI and DWI laws. Turning without a hand signal, weaving across lanes, not overtaking safely, and holding on to a moving vehicle are all traffic offenses.

Drinking / Drug Laws For E-Bikes In Texas

Texas doesn’t have specific DUI or DWI laws for Electric Bikes or bicycles but you should expect a ticket if you are caught riding impaired.

If you are caught with any alcohol in your system and you are under 21, you will get charged with a DUI. For everyone else, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is 0.08. Fines can be up to $500 with a license suspension and classes.

A BAC of over 0.08 or where you are clearly impaired is a DWI and comes with a higher tier of punishments. Blowing over 0.15 BAC is a misdemeanor. Points and DUIs can go towards losing your driving license too.

Where Is It Legal To Ride An Electric Bike In Texas?

By default, the House Bill that got passed was pretty good for allowing access by default. Essentially you can go anywhere a normal bicycle can go, as well as on the road.

The “but” here is that local areas can ban E-Bikes from certain paths, sidewalks, or areas and set speed or class limits. This means some counties could be very prohibitive and some could be very open.

Are Electric Bikes Legal In Texas - E-Bikes in State Parks
Electric Bikes in Texas are great for city commuting

Can You Ride An Electric Bike On The Sidewalk In Texas?

Yes, it’s legally fine to ride an Electric Bike on Texas sidewalks. The catch is that the local authority can decide E-Bikes aren’t allowed or set speed limits if they’d like.

Can You Ride An Electric Bike On The Road In Texas?

Yes, Electric Bikes are allowed to be ridden on roads in Texas. The law states that “The department or a local authority may not prohibit the operation [use] of an electric bicycle… on a highway that is used primarily by motor vehicles”.

Stick to speed limits and try to stick to bicycle-specific lanes where appropriate. Also bear in mind it’s a fairly new law to other drivers may not be aware it’s legal – or care.

Can You Ride An Electric Bike In Bike Lanes In Texas?

Yes, by default you are allowed in bicycle lanes in Texas. However, local authorities can say Electric Bikes aren’t allowed in bike lanes if they choose to do so. They can also set a speed limit for E-Bikes in bike lanes. Check local laws and signage.

Can You Ride An Electric Bike On Bike Paths In Texas?

Again, yes you can ride on bike paths in Texas by default but there are restrictions. Local areas can set speed limits or restrict E-Bike usage completely if they’d like. Check locally.

Can You Ride An Electric Bike On Trails In Texas?

It’s another case of “Yes by default” – it’s fine to ride E-Bikes on trails. However, you should check local laws and restrictions for E-Bikes, especially on trails in Texas.

Electric Bikes on trails tend to get the most opposition from local users. The perceived problems are increased wear of the trail, and potential for accidents because of speed and not seeing/hearing the E-Bike.

However, probably the biggest reasons people dislike E-Bikes on trails are that using them is seen as “cheating” because you get more trails in a day. It’s also because people are understandably scared when they see riders going too fast toward them.

People can also be frightened when riders don’t give notice and get right behind someone at top speed, or annoyed when E-Bike riders don’t give way on approaches.

Can You Ride Electric Bikes In National and State Parks In Texas?

It looks like by default, if a bicycle is allowed in a State Park in Texas then an E-Bike is OK. You can check local park information by looking at the specific park or trail at the Texas Parks and Wildlife site here, or look at the State Park map here.

All classes of Electric Bike are allowed in all National Parks wherever normal bicycles are allowed. National Parks are governed by the National Park Service (not the state), who are given jurisdiction over E-Bike use.

However, the intent is that E-Bikes should be used (pedaled) like regular bicycles, and exclusive use of a throttle for all riding is prohibited. Put simply you should be pedaling all of the time, though a little throttle use is OK.

Some parks do have their own restrictions so check the specific park you’d like to visit. National Forests also have their own jurisdiction and often restrict Electric Bikes.

Are Electric Bikes Legal In Texas - E-Bike On Trails
Riding an Electric Bike in a State Park sounds like a great idea

Are DIY E-Bikes Legal In Texas

DIY E-Bikes are legal in Texas. You can build your own from scratch, modify your Electric Bike for more power, a larger battery, or upgraded software.

However, you must still stay within the State’s class system and guidelines, as well as follow standard bike safety laws. You can also modify an E-Bike outside of these limits if it’s used solely on private land. If that bike goes back onto public land it must adhere to the class system.

You’ll also need to affix a new permanent label with the new class, top assisted speed, and watt power. The label must be in Arial font of at least 9-point type.

Full Electric Bike Laws In Texas

The bill passed that updated all of Texas’ E-Bike laws was HB 2188. You can read the full thing here. You can see the history of the bill here. It took a few months of reading, public hearings, and voting but eventually got passed.