E-Bike and NEV Information
What you should know about electric bicycles and neighborhood electric vehicles
Defined – CVC 312.5 (a) An “electric bicycle” is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.
(1) A “class 1 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
(2) A “class 2 electric bicycle,” or “low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
(3) A “class 3 electric bicycle,” or “speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle,” is a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour, and equipped with a speedometer.
(b) A person riding an electric bicycle, as defined in this section, is subject to Article 4 (commencing with Section 21200) of Chapter 1 of Division 11.
CVC 24016 - (a) An electric bicycle described in subdivision (a) of Section 312.5 shall meet the following criteria:
(1) Comply with the equipment and manufacturing requirements for bicycles adopted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (16 C.F.R. 1512.1, et seq.).
(2) Operate in a manner so that the electric motor is disengaged or ceases to function when the brakes are applied, or operate in a manner such that the motor is engaged through a switch or mechanism that, when released or activated, will cause the electric motor to disengage or cease to function.
(b) A person operating an electric bicycle is not subject to the provisions of this code relating to financial responsibility, driver’s licenses, registration, and license plate requirements, and an electric bicycle is not a motor vehicle.
(c) Every manufacturer of an electric bicycle shall certify that it complies with the equipment and manufacturing requirements for bicycles adopted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (16 C.F.R. 1512.1, et seq.).
(d) A person shall not tamper with or modify an electric bicycle described in subdivision (a) of Section 312.5 so as to change the speed capability of the bicycle, unless he or she appropriately replaces the label indicating the classification required in subdivision © of Section 312.5.
CVC 21650.1 - A bicycle operated on a roadway, or the shoulder of a highway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway.
- Case Law extending 21650.1 to sidewalks: https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/opinions/pdfs/93-418.pdf
DMV guide to two wheel motor vehicles:
DMV Guide to license requirements for ALL two wheeled vehicles:
DMV Guide for proper bicycle / e-bike usage:
Defined – CVC 406 – (a) A “motorized bicycle” or “moped” is a two-wheeled or three-wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, or having no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy, and an automatic transmission and a motor that produces less than 4 gross brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
CVC 21663 - no person shall operate or move a motor vehicle upon a sidewalk except as may be necessary to enter or leave adjacent property.
CVC 5030: A motorized bicycle, as defined in Section 406, is required to display a special license plate issued by the department.
One time registration of mopeds required:
Defined – CVC 407.5 - (a) A “motorized scooter” is any two-wheeled device that has handlebars, has either a floorboard that is designed to be stood upon when riding or a seat and footrests in place of the floorboard, and is powered by an electric motor. This device may also be designed to be powered by human propulsion.
CVC 21221 – Every person operating a motorized scooter upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs…
CVC 21235 – The operator of a motorized scooter shall not do any of the following:
(a) Operate a motorized scooter unless it is equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
(b) Operate a motorized scooter on a highway with a speed limit in excess of 25 miles per hour unless the motorized scooter is operated within a Class II or Class IV bikeway, except that a local authority may, by ordinance or resolution, authorize the operation of a motorized scooter outside of a Class II or Class IV bikeway on a highway with a speed limit of up to 35 miles per hour. The 15 mile per hour maximum speed limit for the operation of a motorized scooter specified in Section 22411 applies to the operation of a motorized scooter on all highways, including bikeways, regardless of a higher speed limit applicable to the highway.
(c) Operate a motorized scooter without wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards described in Section 21212, if the operator is under 18 years of age.
(d) Operate a motorized scooter without a valid driver’s license or instruction permit.
(e) Operate a motorized scooter with any passengers in addition to the operator.
(f) Operate a motorized scooter carrying any package, bundle, or article that prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
(g) Operate a motorized scooter upon a sidewalk, except as may be necessary to enter or leave adjacent property.
(h) Operate a motorized scooter on the highway with the handlebars raised so that the operator must elevate his or her hands above the level of his or her shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.
(i) Leave a motorized scooter lying on its side on any sidewalk, or park a motorized scooter on a sidewalk in any other position, so that there is not an adequate path for pedestrian traffic.
(j) Attach the motorized scooter or himself or herself while on the roadway, by any means, to any other vehicle on the roadway.
Defined – CVC 345: A “golf cart” is a motor vehicle having not less than three wheels in contact with the ground, having an unladen weight less than 1,300 pounds, which is designed to be and is operated at not more than 15 miles per hour and designed to carry golf equipment and not more than two persons, including the driver.
CVC 21716: no person shall operate a golf cart on any highway except in a speed zone of 25 miles per hour or less
CVC 21115: (a) If a local authority finds that a highway under its jurisdiction is located adjacent to, or provides access to, a golf course and between the golf course and the place where golf carts are parked or stored or is within or bounded by a real estate development offering golf facilities and is designed and constructed, so as to safely permit the use of regular vehicular traffic and also the driving of golf carts on the highway, the local authority may, by resolution or ordinance, designate the highway or portion of the highway for combined use and prescribe rules and regulations that shall have the force of law. No highway shall be so designated for a distance of more than one mile from the golf course if the highway is not located within a development or beyond the area of a development, provided, the finding of the local authority in this respect shall be conclusive…
THESE THREE CONDITIONS DO NOT EXIST IN ROCKLIN
- If a golf cart is driven illegally on the road then CVC 12500 (license required), CVC 27315 (seat belts), CVC 27360 (car seats), CVC 23152 (DUI), etc. all become applicable as well
Neighborhood Electric Vehicle / Low speed vehicle:
Defined – CVC 385.5: (a) A “low-speed vehicle” is a motor vehicle that meets all of the following requirements:
(1) Has four wheels.
(2) Can attain a speed, in one mile, of more than 20 miles per hour and not more than 25 miles per hour, on a paved level surface.
(3) Has a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 3,000 pounds.
(b) (1) For the purposes of this section, a “low-speed vehicle” is not a golf cart, except when operated pursuant to Section 21115 or 21115.1.
(2) A “low-speed vehicle” is also known as a “neighborhood electric vehicle.”
CVC 21251: a low-speed vehicle is subject to all the provisions applicable to a motor vehicle, and the driver of a low-speed vehicle is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle or other vehicle, when applicable, by this code or another code, with the exception of those provisions that, by their very nature, can have no application.
CVC 21260: (a) … the operator of a low-speed vehicle shall not operate the vehicle on any roadway with a speed limit in excess of 35 miles per hour.
(b)(1) The operator of a low-speed vehicle may cross a roadway with a speed limit in excess of 35 miles per hour if the crossing begins and ends on a roadway with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less and occurs at an intersection of approximately 90 degrees.
Is your vehicle street legal? Ask yourself these three basic questions:
- Does it have a rear license plate per CVC 5200(b)?
- Does it have motor vehicle insurance (not homeowners) per CVC 16028(a)?
- Is it being driven by a licensed driver per CVC 12500?
Other important vehicle codes for parents to know:
CVC 14607: No person shall cause or knowingly permit his child, ward, or employee under the age of 18 years to drive a motor vehicle upon the highways unless such child, ward, or employee is then licensed under this code.