Is it time for e-bikes to get mandatory insurance, just like cars?

Is it time for e-bikes to get mandatory insurance, just like cars?

The first patent for electric bicycles dates back to 1895. The popularity of powered bicycles has since grown steadily, but the last decade has seen the greatest growth. China, for example, was Home to 51,600 E-bike Manufacturers as of 2020with more than 300 million small two-wheeled vehicles transporting people across the country.

Much closer to home, electric bikes are becoming a huge favorite as we transition into a cleaner future for transportation. While sales data on eBikes is not as accurate as you might find with electric cars or motorcycles, the An independent study by the Light Electric Vehicle Association It found that the United States is fast approaching its 1 millionth annual sales figure – significantly higher than what electric cars do in our country.


There is a clear and undeniable trend that e-bikes will be a critical component of the future of personal transportation. Right now, eBikes can ask for quite a bit of tweaking, depending on which type you get. However, if you’ve switched to an electric bike – either for commuting or for more recreational activities like mountain biking – it makes sense to consider getting insurance. In this article, we look at exactly that and whether lawmakers should make insurance mandatory.

What are the different categories of e-bikes?

Before we look at eBike insurance regulations, it’s important to know that there are three different classes of electric bikes in the United States. This three-tier system has been passed as standard e-bike regulation in more than 30 states and differentiates between two wheels based on wattage, assist mode and speed.

  • Class 1 eBikes are those equipped with a motor that assists the rider only when pedaling and stops providing assistance once the bike reaches 20 mph.
  • Class 2 e-bikes are equipped with a motor that can propel the bike forward without using the accelerator, as is usually the case on a moped or motorcycle. Like Class 1 electric bikes, the motor stops providing power in excess of 20 mph.
  • Class 3 e-bikes are similar to Class 1 e-bikes in that they only assist with pedaling. However, they have an upper limit of 28 mph and must be equipped with a speedometer.

It’s also worth noting that all three classes limit the engine’s power to 750 watts (1 hp).

As mentioned earlier, eBikes have experienced unprecedented development in the recent past. Examples like Ultra Savannah Fry or multiple ebike models from Biktrix It produces 160 Nm of torque – that’s more than most liter petrol motorcycles, such as Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R And the Honda CBR1000RR-R Firebladeare able! And unlike gas powered motors, electric motors can achieve maximum torque from 0 rpm. While this translates to exciting and instant acceleration, it can also be overwhelming for many riders who haven’t experienced similar performance levels.

A woman rides the Free Savannah Ultra on a public street.
Source: Frey Bikes

Herein lies one of the most significant hurdles in the transition to electric bikes. For someone upgrading from a regular pedal-powered bike to an e-bike, the immediate availability of torque—especially on Class 2 throttle bikes—and pedal assist will need getting used to.

These e-bikes that produce a lot of torque also have motors that exceed the 750W limit at top speeds, sometimes even more 50 mph! The average person can only push themselves to about 20 mph on a regular bike, and you’re prone to life-altering severe injuries even at these speeds.

Right now, getting these e-bikes insured would be cumbersome, and possibly nearly impossible. If you are in the market for one, we recommend getting an e-bike that fits in the three category system for your safety and those around you.

Do you need insurance on your e-bike?

In most US states, any electric bike that falls within the three-tier system definitions does not legally require registration or insurance. However, there are some exceptions. for example, The National Conference of State Legislatures mentions that New Jersey follows a two-tier rating system where Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes are exempt from registration or insurance requirements; But Class 3 bikes must be registered with the Motor Vehicle Commission, and riders must have a valid license and insurance.

Electric bike locked into a public bike rack.

You could argue that your home and renters insurance covers your personal belongings. Technically, this should also cover your eBike, but this may not be the case with some insurance providers. Additionally, this personal property coverage is capped at a certain amount, and the cost of your eBike can determine if this is the right type of insurance to get.

If you own an e-bike that costs over $5,000, we recommend investing in additional coverage or insurance specifically for e-bikes. It is likely that your home and renters insurance policy will not be able to cover the cost of your bike as well as any other items in the event of theft.

Pros and Cons of Getting an eBike Insurance

You can reach some dangerous speeds even with an e-bike that falls into the three-category system. newly A study by the Center for Disease Control The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly 1,000 cyclists die, and more than 130,000 are injured in the United States each year. For the relatively small percentage of people who ride bicycles, this is a somewhat alarming number.

A man on a Ribble eBike rides in the bike lane.

Another factor worth considering is that e-bikes are currently restricted to the same bike lanes as regular bikes in most states despite the added speed they usually bring. And in many cases, there are instances where pedestrians and cyclists share the same paths. Over the past few years, the number of accidents between pedestrians and cyclists has increased dramatically, many of which have resulted in death. Now, when you have an electric bike that can help you go faster, the risk of an accident only increases. This is why you should consider insurance.

Why you should consider getting eBike insurance

  • Comprehensive e-bike insurance will cover medical expenses that you or someone else may incur in the event of an accident.
  • A reliable insurance provider that supports you will help reduce the significant medical and legal costs that are usually associated with an accident.
  • Likewise, if you are a pedestrian involved in an accident with someone riding an insured e-bike, you will have a much easier time resolving any disputes or claims.

The downsides of securing an eBike

The only real downside to paying for extra coverage or custom e-bike insurance is the cost.

An eBike is usually a one-time purchase, and the insurance adds a layer of the monthly investments you’ll be required to make.

And if you live in a part of the country where you can’t use your electric bike all year round, you still have to keep paying for insurance. This may seem unnecessary to some, but the safety net that insurance provides is worth it.

A woman sits on the sidewalk after her e-bike was involved in a car accident.

Should e-bike insurance be made mandatory?

Since regulations change over time, it is possible that e-bikes will require insurance. An additional benefit is that some policies Protect you from ebike theft. Multiple states, such as New Jersey, have already made insurance mandatory for a certain class of e-bikes, and it may not be long before the rest of the state follows suit.

However, it’s a good idea to go in this direction and get one yourself if electric bikes are already an important part of your life.

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