E-bikes are regulated like 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.
Washington designates three classes of e-bikes:
Class 1: : Bicycle 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.
Class 2: Bicycle equipped with a throttle-actuated motor, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.
Class 3: Bicycle 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 and 2 e-bikes are allowed on bike paths and improved trails; while class 3 e-bikes are not, unless the local agency authorizes them. When in doubt, check with your town, city, or county for local regulations.
Persons under 16 years of age may not ride a Class 3 e-bike, unless they are riding as a passenger.
The use of electric bicycles on singletrack mountain bike trails is determined by the agency or local authority which jurisdiction over that land. Check with your local land manager for information about access.
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.
WASHINGTON E-BIKE LAW FOR TRAILS
LOCAL: Consult your local land management agency.
STATE: The Washington Recreation and Conservation Office does not currently have an eMTB policy but expects to regulate them similarly to motorized vehicles. 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 Pacific Northwest Regional Office or the BLM Washington State Office for more information.
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