E-bikes are classified as electric bicycles. 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.
South Dakota designates three classes of e-bikes:
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 20mph.
Class 2: An e-bike equipped with a throttle-actuated motor, that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20mph.
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.
Class 1 or Class 2 electric bicycles are allowed on any bicycle path or multi-use path in this state. Class 3 e-bikes are not allowed on a bicycle trail or path or multi use trail or path, but are allowed to ride on the road.
Persons under 16 years of age may not ride a Class 3 e-bike, unless as a passenger.
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.
SOUTH DAKOTA'S E-BIKE LAW FOR TRAILS
LOCAL: Consult your local land management agency.
STATE: The South Dakota Division of Parks and Recreation has stated that eMTBs with an electric assist unit are allowed where bicycles are allowed. Contact the department for the most up to date information.
FEDERAL: The majority of public lands managed for recreation South Dakota are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service, where 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 Rocky Mountain Regional Office, or the state's National Grasslands for more information.