Ohio Motorized Bicycle law (2nd try)



New Member
Jan 25, 2009
galion ohio

It appears that Ohio does not at this time have any State laws covering Electric Assisted Power Bicycle. The only problem may be with local laws . They may not allow an Electric Assisted Power Bicycle to be operated as a bicycle. Ohio moped laws do not qualify because the electric bicycle does not meet the qualifications of a motorized bicycle.

The following is an itemized listing of E-Mails that were sent to Mr. Carl Lynch, Public Inquiries Officer, Deputy Registrar and Title Support Services , Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles , Columbus, Ohio. The E-Mails are listed in ascend order by date and time. (first/first)

First E-Mail to Lynch 1/23/09 8:35PM
What paper work do I need, to legally operate an electric assisted powered bicycle on public roads? Also what is the maximum power (watts) that I can have and what is the maximum speed that a electric assisted power bicycle can go. I am assuming that the same safety equipment that is required for a bicycle would apply.

Response from Lynch 1/26/09 10:25 AM
Unfortunately , there are no laws in the Ohio Revised Code regarding electric bicycles, only motorized bicycles or moped. Here is a link for information regarding mopeds. http:bmv.ohio,gov/misc/moped info.htm.
You may want to check with your local law enforcement to determine whether the vehicle can be operated in your area.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me directly.
Thank you

Second E-Mail to Lynch 1/26/09 8:27 PM
Thank you for your prompt response to my E-Mail of 1-23. After reviewing the Ohio Moped laws I question if the State of Ohio moped laws would apply to a electric assisted powered bicycle. Also do I need to register am electric bicycle with the state.

Thank you for all your helpful information

Response from Lynch 1/27/09 8:24 AM
The moped laws would not qualify because the electric bicycle does not meet the qualifications of a motorized bicycle. Again, I would check with your local law enforcement to determine whether the vehicle can be operated as bicycle.
Thank you.

New Electric Bicycle law in the USA (SR1156 &HR727 )
A new US law states that electric bicycles with fully function pedals, no more than 750 watts of motor power output, and a top speed of 20 mph on motor power only, are to be treated as “bicycles “, and are not subject to motorized vehicle laws. Electric bicycles that fall under this category are not required to be registered or licensed, and no drivers license is required to drive them. They may however to subject to local laws.

From the above discussion it would appear that to be legally operated in the State of Ohio an electric assisted bicycle with less than 750 watts of motor power and a top speed of less than 20 MPH is classed the same as a bicycle, provided no local laws say differently . You can contact Mr. Carl Lynch at [email protected] for any other questions .

1/27/09 10:20PM


Jul 8, 2008
Wayne National Forest
I live down here in the southern tip of the state and can tell you that even dealing with
the ladies at the local BMV is a trip. They want a bill of sale on the motor, the bicycle,
and approach it like a boat.(where the boat has registration, likewise the motor, and the

What may be of benefit for us to do is check the other 49 states for their laws governing
electric bicycles. (that is a bicycle with an electric helper motor--as motor bicycles are
described in Ohio) If one is found where it could be sent to Mr Lynch then it may be
"replicated" by Ohio into our laws. (that's how many of the states got the "right on red"
law into their laws)

One of the builds I've been researching is a platform where a automotive alternator is
mated to a small lawnmower motor to use as an auxilirary generator onboard. This would
recharge the battery for the front wheel hub electric motor. The alternator would be 60 to
80 watts with internal regulator connected to the battery.

The question will be how the law would interpet this ? Will it be seen as a twin engine bike even
though one engine is in no way connected to the mechanics of the bicycle ? Would the bike
have to be parked while the Aux generator charges the battery back up opposed to it being
used on the road while under way ? Yeah, I've been thinking about this since back in
September. I've all of Ohio's laws on motorized bicycles in my bookmarks and have even talked
to my Lawyer about this stuff. In his view any local cop could give me a moving violation and
let a Judge sort it out. Court cost would be $130 dollars for a minute in front of the judge even
if he dismisses it. This is why I research before going to the shop and start building. The last
speeding ticket I got was for $85 dollars, and when I got to the courthouse the ladies at the
window were pleading with me to go before the Judge. I just laughed and told them I wasn't
going to play that game because even if he reduced the fine to $40 I'd still thet to pay $130
for the Court cost. I just don't believe the Judge's wisdom is worth $130 a minute. It's just cheaper to pay a speeding ticket once every 5 to 8 years like a road tax and be done with it. Taking
your chances on what Mr Lynch states as Local Regulations, would place a motor bicycler here
in Ohio in that candor.

I can see a conversation with a local cop now.
HeHeHe...gets 200 mpg hehehe, well you
can certainly afford a ticket for it not being licensed properly. Just take this to the court house
and who knows, the Judge may dismiss it. HeHeHe
Then it may cost you $180 because
Ohio's laws aren't clear about this stuff and the possibility of having the bike impounded with
towing charges. (which is what my Lawyer pointed out to me)

So beyond pointing out problems, to offer a solution there should be some effort by everyone in
each state to approach the Legal Profession & Law Makers to get current with laws for these
bicycles. Some here believe it best to just keep their heads down and not make any waves.
But with the growth of this board and people on the streets seeing these things we build and
operate, the enthausiasm will grow and more of these motorbicycles will be on the streets.
Those selling these kits should have some interest in this horizon as well. (there are legal types
who advertise on TV all the time for class action suits) I would think there would be a trades
association forming where those marketing this stuff in the USA to have channels with the Departments of Motor Vehicles of all 50 states to keep them informed of their industry and laws
needed to not have their products being in "legal grey areas" (and thus vunerable to class

Mr Lynch covered his rear nicely by suggesting a person check into their local laws. Good luck everyone with that !