Bicycle & E-Bicycle Safety
What is an E-Bike?
An "electric bicycle" is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (CVC 312.5).
Class 1 E-Bike:
A class 1 e-bike is a low-speed pedal-assisted bicycle that has a motor that provides assistance when the rider is pedaling. The bike stops providing assistance when the speed reaches 20 mph.
Class 2 E-Bike:
A class 2 e-bike is a low-speed throttle-assisted bicycle that has a motor that can propel the bicycle without pedaling. The bicycle stops providing assistance when the speed reaches 20 mph.
Class 3 E-Bike:
A class 3 e-bike is a pedal-assisted bicycle that has a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling. The bicycle stops providing assistance when the speed reaches 28 mph. This e-bike has a speedometer.
- Electric bicycles with the motors of more than 750 watts are technically motorcycles according to the law and require Class M licenses and helmets.
- No person under 16 years of age shall operate a class 3 e-bike CVC 21213 (a).
- All individuals must wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet while operating a class 3 e-bike CVC 21213 (b).
If your e-bike does not fall within the above listed categories, it is no longer considered an electric bicycle and may not be permitted on the roadway without proper licensing and vehicle registration requirements. Additionally, it is against the law in California to modify or otherwise tamper with electric bicycles in a way that changes the speed capability, unless the rider also changes the bicycles classification CVC 24016(d).
E-Bike & Bike Safety Tips:
An e-bike, like any regular bicycle, is a vehicle and is required to follow all roadway rules and laws.
- Act like a car, be predictable and visible
- Use hand signals
- Wear bright or reflective clothing
- Look out for other roadway users and never assume they will see you especially at intersections
- Use your bike bell or politely say, "on your left" when passing pedestrians
- Slow down and be alert and aware of your surroundings
California Vehicle Codes Pertaining to E-bikes & Bikes:
People under 18 years of age must wear a helmet regardless of the type of electric bicycle (CVC 21212).
No person operating a bicycle shall leave a bicycle lane until the movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after giving an appropriate signal in the event that any vehicle may be affected by the movement (CVC 21208(b)).
A operator shall not allow a person riding as a passenger, and a person shall not ride as a passenger, on a bicycle upon a highway other than upon or astride a separate seat attached thereto (CVC 21204(b)).
- If the passenger is four years of age or younger, or weighs 40 pounds of less, the seat shall have adequate provision for retaining the passenger in place and for protecting the passenger from the moving parts of the bicycle.
Mission Viejo Municipal Code 12.15.100 Bicycles on Sidewalks:
(a) Riding on sidewalks. Bicycles may be ridden on all sidewalks in the city at a speed not to exceed 5 miles per hour except upon sidewalks within a business district, upon sidewalks adjacent to any public-school building when school is in session, recreation center when in use, church during services, over any pedestrian overcrossing or other sidewalk where prohibited by posted signs.
(b) Sidewalks designated as multi-use trail shared sidewalks MUTSS). Bicycles may be ridden on all MUTSS in the city at a speed not to exceed 12 miles per hour.
(e) Yielding right-of-way. Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield right-of-way to any and all pedestrians. A person riding a bicycle upon entering a roadway or driveway from a sidewalk shall yield to all traffic.