There’s a new commuting trend picking up speed over urban and suburban areas across the globe that shows no signs of slowing down. Fortune Business Insights estimated sales for electric bikes (commonly known as “e-bikes”) went up 145% from 2019 to 2020 and they're predicting a big bump in global sales, reaching around $92.19 billion by 2029.
With higher-than-average gas prices and a rising inflation rate, it’s no surprise that so many consumers are leaning into this convenient and more-affordable transportation option. But before you go out and join the e-cycling club, be sure to consider all of the facts.
Although e-bikes are almost identical to regular bicycles (minus the motor, of course), some states view them as “motorized vehicles” with regulations similar to motorcycles or scooters. States like Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New Mexico require a special license or registration in order to operate the vehicle while others simply have age restrictions and helmet requirements. People for Bikes has a handy state-by-state tracker of the current laws on electric bikes.
The varying state regulations also influence the insurance options available to e-bike owners. For instance, depending on your state’s laws, accidents, damage or theft involving your electric bike may not be covered under your standard homeowner’s policy. In many cases, you would need an additional policy if you wanted coverage for liability and/or physical damage. It’s also important to note that any modifications made to the motor would most likely void any coverage in place.
It’s never a bad idea to regularly check your state’s laws for more information. With the cost of most e-bikes starting at $1,000, you'll want to ask your insurance agent for more guidance on the options available in your state to make sure that you're adequately covered. Keep in mind that more and more insurance carriers are changing their policies on e-bikes as their popularity continues to rise so your coverage may also fluctuate.
Stay safe and happy riding!
This content is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. Gregory & Appel is neither a law firm nor a tax advisor; information in all Gregory & Appel materials is meant to be informational and does not constitute legal or tax advice.