ILLINOIS’ E-BIKE LAW

ILLINOIS E-BIKE LAW FOR THE ROAD

  • In Illinois, an e-bike is defined as a “low-speed electric bicycle. The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and human-powered bicycles.
  • E-bikes are not subject to the registration, licensing, or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles.
  • Illinois designates three classes of e-bikes:
    1. Class 1: : An e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.
    2. Class 2: An e-bike equipped with a throttle-actuated motor, that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.
    3. Class 3: An e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 28 mph.
  • Persons under 16 years of age may not ride a Class 3 e-bike.  
  • E-bikes may not be ridden on sidewalks.
  • E-bikes are allowed on bike paths. However, local governments have the authority to restrict the use of e-bikes on bike paths. When in doubt, check with your town, city, or county for local rules and regulations.

eMTB GUIDELINES

  • On federal, state, county and local trails, e-mountain bike (eMTB) access varies significantly.
  • Generally, any natural surface trail that is designated as open to both motorized and non-motorized uses is also open to eMTBs.
  • eMTBs may not be allowed on trails managed for non-motorized activities. 
  • Do not ride your eMTB in areas where the local rules are unclear. Ride legally and only on authorized trails to show that mountain bikers are responsible trail users.
  • When in doubt, ask your local land manager about access to specific trails. Local land rules change frequently.

ILLINOIS E-BIKE LAW FOR TRAILS

  • LOCAL: Consult your local land management agency.
  • STATE: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation does not currently have an eMTB policy. Contact the department for the most up to date information. 
  • FEDERAL: The majority of public lands managed for recreation in Illinois are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service.  As of August 29th 2019 all eBikes up to 750 watt can now access Federal Lands and natural parks anywhere a regular bicycle can access.  The one exception is National Forests, the forests are managed by the Department of Agriculture and these changes are not implemented yet on the forests.  Changes are happening to align all Federal land to the recent Order.   Contact the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Regional Office for more information.

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