This manual deals specifically with low-speed e-bikes, as defined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Electric bicycles are usually “pedaling assistance” or “muscle assistance”, which means that the cyclist must be pedaling for the electric motor to activate. Electric bicycles can also be equipped with an accelerator that allows the bicycle to be propelled without pedaling. Electric bicycles or bicycles with electric assistance, commonly called electric bicycles, are similar to standard bicycles in appearance and operation, but have a small electric motor.
The motor helps the cyclist by adding power to the wheels. In general terms, e-bikes work with pedaling assistance, which means that the motor is activated when pedaling and is interrupted at a designated maximum speed, or they accelerate on demand, so that the motor can drive the bicycle even if the cyclist is not pedaling. Except as otherwise provided in this section, an electrically assisted bicycle or the operator of an electrically assisted bicycle shall have all the rights and privileges and shall be subject to all the obligations of a bicycle or of the operator of a bicycle. An electrically assisted bicycle is a vehicle in the same measure as a bicycle.
An electrically assisted bicycle or a person who drives an electrically assisted bicycle are not subject to the provisions of this Code in relation to driver's license, registration, certificates of title, financial responsibility, off-road motorcycles and license plates requirements. No person shall manipulate or modify an electrically assisted bicycle to change the motorized speed capacity or the coupling of an electrically assisted bicycle, unless the required label in subdivision C 1 is replaced after the modification. Assisted electric bicycles must operate in such a way that the electric motor disengages or stops working when the cyclist stops pedaling or when the brakes are activated. Except as set forth in this subsection, an electrically assisted bicycle may be driven in places where bicycles are allowed, including streets, highways, shoulders, bicycle lanes, and bicycle or shared use trails.
Every driver and passenger of a class three electric bicycle must wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the current standards provided by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission or the American Society for Testing and Materials International. Failure to wear a helmet will not constitute negligence, will be considered a mitigation of damages of any nature, will be admissible as evidence or be the subject of comment by a lawyer in any action for the recovery of damages resulting from the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a class three electrically assisted bicycle, nor will anything in this section change any existing law, rule or procedure relating to any civil action, or prohibit any claim that otherwise exists. The chapters of the minutes of assembly referred to in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a complete list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired. The Code of Virginia, the Constitution of Virginia, statutes, authorities, covenants and uncodified laws are now available in ePub and MOBI formats.
Data from the Virginia Law website is available through a web service. Assuming the strong and continuing growth of the e-bike industry, state legislatures are likely to continue their efforts to define e-bikes, clarify operating, safety and equipment regulations, and further differentiate them from motor vehicles, such as mopeds and scooters. E-bikes resemble traditional bicycles in both appearance and operation and do not operate in a similar way to mopeds, scooters and other motorized vehicles. .