Is an electric bike like this required any special license. The power applied comes from the collected kinetic inertia from going down hill or stored from the rider then the stored power can then be applied while going up hill or to go faster. Are there laws restricting bikes like this anywhere before I buy one?

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    There are probably about 200 different jurisdiction in the world, each with it's own bike laws. But, in the US, the rules are generally stated in terms of the horsepower/wattage of the motor and/or the bike's top speed on a flat road with no wind. Bikes below a certain power are not considered "motor vehicles", while those above the minimum but less than a full-fledged motorcycle are "motor bikes" or some such. Mar 23, 2018 at 12:40
  • The numbers vary hugely on energy recovered by electric or magnetic braking. On a bike, the only time you're braking is when slowing down or controlling your speed down a grade. Even then its only for some of the time, you don't brake the whole way down. Electric brakes just aren't there yet.
    – Criggie
    Mar 23, 2018 at 23:53
  • @Criggie - But note that most electric bikes have the ability to recharge the batteries while pedaling at "cruising" speed. These are actually fairly popular with once-a-year tourists, as the power is used to climb difficult hills. Mar 24, 2018 at 1:08
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    I'm voting to close as too broad, since the question asks about legality without specifying a jurisdiction. There are hundreds of possible answers. Mar 24, 2018 at 11:23
  • Charging the battery with braking is called regenerative braking (or just regen) and all normal electric and hybrid cars have it. On e-bikes it is not common because of the extra weight and it need a different kind of motor than most e-bikes have. Also, as with cars, you don't get back all the kinetic energy lost in braking, just a small portion (I've seen numbers between 20-33% for cars) and the extra weight and complexity it would bring to your bike is better spent on a larger battery.
    – Kjetil S.
    Sep 17, 2018 at 19:04

2 Answers 2



In my country, a bicycle that is power-assisted with the <=250W <=48V electrical engine, that assist rider up to speed 25km/h is still a bicycle, no matter how energy to power the engine is obtained. All the laws for regular bicycles applies to it - dimensions, equipment. Speed limits apply to such bicycles as to any other kind of vehicle. There are no additional restrictions.


New Zealand

There is no speed limit for a bicycle, but you can be charged for "dangerous use of a vehicle"

An electric bicycle must have no more than 300W of power in addition to the rider's mandatory pedal input. Bicycles do not need registration or licencing, but there are lighting/reflector, braking and helmet requirements.

Any more than 300W and it becomes an electric motorcycle, regardless of whether it has pedals or not. At that point it requires licencing and registration and the rider needs a motorcycle endorsement on their driving license.

If your bike has electric brakes that do energy recovery, then that is irrelevant to the power output of the motor. Your ride does require two independent braking systems, so that failure of one does not prevent the other from working.

By comparison, a liquid fuel motorbike without pedals, and cubic engine capacity of under 50cc still requires registration and licencing, but can be ridden by a licenced rider with a car endorsement only. A motorbike licence is not required.

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