Many people are confused over the difference between a motorized bicycle and an electric bicycle. There is good reason for the confusion! In general, an electric bicycle is a subset of a motorized bicycle. The exact definition differs by state. It is important to check with your individual sate to determine your exact laws.
A motorized bicycle can have both a gas or electric engine. Depending on the state, it may or may not of pedals. A motorized bicycle may be classified as a Moped or motorcycle, depending on speed, power of engine and state it is used in. A motorized bicycle is probably gong to require a drivers license, registration and insurance. This is generally not the case with an electric bicycle. Electric bicycles have a special status under Federal Law.
Federal law defines an electric bicycle as a bicycle having an electric motor no more than 750 watts and not capable of propelling the bicycle more than 20MPH with motor power only on flat road. This classification as an electric bicycle, generally allows a person to not have a registration, drivers license or insurance.
In summary, electric bicycles are a subset of a motorized bicycle. Electric bicycles, when conforming to federal laws, generally do not require registration and and a driver license. In contrast, a motorized bicycle may require registration a license and insurance.
One note of caution if you ride an electric bicycle is to determine if your automobile insurance will cover you in an accident. This will vary by insurance company and state. Electric bikes are relatively new and many companies do not have clear policies in place yet for them. Call you insurance company to find out.
What are you looking for in your next electric bike? We have everything from electric mountain bikes to long distance commuter e-bikes. Check out our full list of e bike models here, and get started on your next adventure with an Optibike.