E-bikes are classified as “motor bicycles,” and are regulated like bicycles, so long as the bicycle’s motor has a maximum power output of 750w, has pedals that propel the bike with human power and the bike doesn’t exceed 20mph.
Anyone operating an electric bicycle must possess a valid license. Electric bicycles are considered bicycles for vehicle registration purposes.
E-bikes are not allowed on bike paths. Sidewalk rules vary by city.
E-bike riders are not required to wear a helmet but the rider must be at least 16 years of age.
In the City of Madison, electric bicycles must be registered.
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.
WISCONSIN’S E-BIKE LAW FOR TRAILS
LOCAL: Consult your local land management agency.
STATE: The Wisconsin Bureau of Parks and Recreation does not currently have an eMTB policy, but will revise their policy in the near future. Contact the bureau for the most up to date information.
FEDERAL: The majority of public lands managed for recreation in Wisconsin are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest 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 US Forest Service Eastern Regional Office for more information.
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