Power to the Pedals: The Case for Allowing E-Bikes on Trails in Oregon and Beyond

Power to the Pedals: The Case for Allowing E-Bikes on Trails in Oregon and Beyond

Electric Bikes, also known as e-bikes or e-assist bikes, are a growing trend in Oregon and worldwide.

So, are e-bikes legal to ride like an unassisted bicycle? Yes, but with some significant differences.

What is an E-bike?

An e-bike is an electric motor-assisted bicycle that makes riding more accessible. Different models of e-bikes offer diverse prospects for assistance, with the most familiar being either throttle or pedal assist.


An e-bike can travel at a maximum pace of 20 MPH with the help of its electric motor. Depending on the sort of assistance built into the bike and its speed capacity, each electric bike model is divided into one of three categories–Class 1, 2, and 3.

The legal definition of an e-bike includes a number of specific requirements. Some electric cycles have motors that are over 1,000 watts and cannot go faster than 20 mph, while others have motors that are 1,000 watts and can go faster than 20 mph.

"According to Oregon's electric bike laws, e-bikes that run more than 20 mph are not classified as electric-assisted bikes or bicycles and do not follow the same privileges as riders of such vehicles".

E-Bikes on Trails in Oregon and Beyond

"Power to the Pedals" is a law and advocacy reference to help know Oregon's bicycle movement and advance knowledge of Oregon law for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.

E-bike legislation is constantly changing, both in Oregon and elsewhere. Several campaigns are ongoing to change state and federal laws to reclassify electric bicycles and permit greater access. Oregon e-bike laws back numerous initiatives to change state and federal park regulations so that e-bikes have more access to paths and beaches.

For many riders, an electric bicycle opens up the possibility of traveling to locations otherwise inaccessible by regular bicycles due to aging, injuries, or other physical restrictions.

The battery-operated electric motor offers these possibilities, which are devoid of the gasoline-powered engines' strength, noise, erosion, and pollution. Oregon electric bike laws establish a more hospitable legal environment for electric bicycle operators and coordinate legal terms, rules, and regulations at the regional, state, and federal tiers to clear up any current misunderstandings about where e-bikes can and cannot be legally ridden.

Oregon State E-Bike Laws

Speed Limit: E-bikes propelled by electric motors are limited to 20 MPH. When powered by human force, it might go faster than 20 MPH.

Minimum Age: The age minimum for e-bike riders is 16 years old.

Helmet Requirement: No Helmets are required for e-bike riders.

License and Registration: No license, insurance, or certification is needed to ride an e-bike.

Permitted Area for E-bike Categories in Oregon E-bike Laws

  • Class 1 and 2 electric-assist bicycles are permitted on any street, lane, or trail where traditional bicycles are authorized, including shared-use trails.
  • Class 3 e-bikes are not allowed in bicycle lanes or shared-use paths and must travel in spaces that accommodate cars.
  • None of the classes of e-bikes is allowed on sidewalks.

    ebike oregon trial

For more General Provisions and Definitions for Oregon Electric Assisted Bicycle Code, ORS 801.258, Click Here…

Oregon state park trails do not accept the assertion that an e-bike is more like a bicycle than a motor car. The Oregon Administrative Rules, which control the use of trails in Oregon, describe "motorized vehicles" as "any vehicle being powered by a fuel engine or motor which is capable of carting a person." Because they have a motor and can carry a person, e-bikes are not exempt from this rule and are therefore listed as vehicles on Oregon trails like cars and motorcycles. 

The blanket prohibition against e-bikes on state park trails is assessed by OAR 736-010-0025(3), which bounds e-bike motions in Oregon parks to roads or other “nominated” areas (which do not include trails).

Oregon e-bike laws and policies may change anytime. Please check with City, County, State, and other local agencies for the most recent electric bike laws ruling the proper, legal use of electric bicycles at your location.

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