E-bikes are defined as “electric assisted bicycles,” so long as the e-bike’s motor is under 750w, has a maximum speed of 20mph, and has operable pedals. 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.
Helmets are not required, but the age minimum for e-bike use is 16 years. E-bikes are allowed on sidewalks if bicycles are allowed.
State law does not specifically address whether e-bikes are allowed on bike paths. Consult your local authority or agency for information about whether e-bikes are permitted on 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.
NORTH CAROLINA’S E-BIKE LAW FOR TRAILS
LACOL Consult your local land management agency.
STATE: According to the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, e-bikes are allowed access to designated bicycle trails and do not qualify as fully motorized. Contact the department for the most up to date information.
FEDERAL: 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 Southern Regional Office for more information.