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Illinois Moped Scooter and Electric Bicycle Laws

Michael Agruss

Written and Reviewed by Michael Agruss

  • Managing Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer at Mike Agruss Law.
  • Over 20 years of experience in Personal Injury.
  • Over 8000+ consumer rights cases settled.
  • Graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law: Juris Doctor, 2004.

Illinois residents utilizing mopeds, scooters, and electric bicycles need to be aware of specific state laws governing their operation, insurance requirements, and safety standards. These Illinois motorized bicycle laws are designed to ensure the safety of not only the operators of these vehicles but also the pedestrians and other drivers sharing the roadways. While mopeds and scooters may provide an efficient and cost-effective means of transportation, particularly in bustling urban centers like Chicago, understanding and adhering to the legal framework is essential for avoiding penalties and staying protected in the case of accidents.

The operation of electric bikes, known as e-bikes, is subject to regulations that often align with those for traditional bicycles, with additional stipulations due to their motorized nature. In Illinois, e-bikes are classified based on their maximum speed and the mechanism by which the electric motor assists the rider. Compliance with equipment and manufacturing requirements is mandatory for these vehicles to ensure they meet safety standards as they become an increasingly common sight on shared paths and roadways across the state.

Insurance requirements for mopeds and scooters vary depending on factors such as the engine size, but they consistently underscore the need for liability coverage. This coverage is crucial in protecting operators financially in the event of bodily injury or property damage caused while operating the vehicle. The law takes into account both gas and electric variants of these vehicles and sets forth clear guidelines to safeguard all parties involved in their everyday commute.

A set Of Electric Bicycles

Illinois Electric Bicycle Regulations

Understanding Illinois’ electric bicycle regulations ensures riders comply with state laws. These regulations cover how electric bicycles are classified, where they can be operated, and specifications for speed and power.

Classification and Definition

Illinois law defines electric bicycles or e-bikes as bicycles equipped with an electric motor that provides motor assistance. These motorized bicycles are categorized into three classes:

Class 1: Bicycles with pedal-assist only, where the motor ceases operation when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.

Class 2: Those with a motor that can be used exclusively to propel the bicycle and does not provide assistance above 20 mph.

Class 3: Motorized bicycles that provide pedal-assist up to 28 mph.

Operation and Usage

Operation of electric bicycles in Illinois is subject to specific rules. Riders must have a valid driver’s license, instruction permit, or State identification card. They also must be 16 years of age or older to operate a low-speed electric bicycle. Electric bicycles are permitted on bicycle lanes and bike paths, though local governments have the authority to restrict their use. Class 3 electric bicycles are additionally restricted from being ridden on sidewalks.

Speed and Motor Wattage Limits

Regarding the electric motor, there is an upper limit for motor wattage on electric bicycles. The state specifies that electric motors should not exceed 750 watts. As highlighted in the classes defined, the maximum speed for Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles is 20 mph, while Class 3 bicycles can go up to 28 mph. To ensure safety and compliance with the law, electric bicycles should cease motor operations when these maximum speed limits are reached.

Compliance with Local and State Laws

Riders of motorized bicycles, including electric bikes, must align with both state statutes and local ordinances in Illinois. This ensures not only legal compliance but also promotes safety on roads and shared paths.

State Compliance

In Illinois, electric bicycles are classified based on their top assisted speeds and motor wattage, with distinct regulations for each classification. State law requires all motorized bicycles to adhere to certain equipment standards, like having operational lights for nighttime use. Additionally, operators should be aware that Illinois mandates liability insurance for mopeds and scooters, which includes bodily injury and property damage coverage.

Equipment Requirements:

  • Front headlights visible from 500 feet
  • Rear reflector or tail light for nighttime visibility

Insurance Policies:

  • Minimum liability: $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • Maximum liability: $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage coverage of $25,000

The state’s legislative framework excludes electric bikes from requirements necessary for motor vehicles, notably, the need for a driver’s license, registration, and a license plate.

Local Ordinances

Local laws may impose more stringent requirements on top of state regulations. Riders must comply with municipal guidelines that could restrict the use of motorized bikes in certain areas or during particular hours. It is crucial for users of electric bikes and motorized scooters to verify with local authorities, as local laws may have specific provisions for the operation of these vehicles, especially concerning where they can be ridden and if additional safety gear is necessary.

If you have any additional questions about bike laws and how they pertain to a motorized bike, contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer at Mike Agruss Law. We can help you address any safety or legal concerns.

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