In Iowa, an e-bike is defined as a “bicycle,” so long as the ebike’s motor is under 750w, with a top motor-assisted speed of 20 mph under motor power alone, and with fully operable pedals. The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and humanpowered bicycles.
E-bikes are not subject to the registration, licensing or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles.
Helmets are not required and there is no age minimum for e-bike use. E-bikes are allowed on sidewalks and bike paths.
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.
IOWA’S E-BIKE LAW FOR TRAILS
LOCAL: Consult your local land management agency.
STATE: The Iowa Department of Natural Resources does not currently have an eMTB policy. Contact the department for the most up to date information.
FEDERAL: There is little federal land managed for recreation in Iowa. However, for reference, 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.