Electric motorcycles come in various shapes and sizes — including those with a maximum speed of just 20 mph and other full-sized super bikes that can produce over 150 horsepower. Although electric bikes are certainly eco-friendly and fun to ride, you’ll have to check whether your electric motorcycle is legal before taking it on public roads.
Not all electric motorcycles are street legal, and most mini versions are banned on public roads. However, full-sized electric motorcycles with the necessary safety features are legal in most states. Always check your local laws and ensure you have the proper license to drive your electric bike.
Let’s take a closer look at which electric motorcycles are street-legal and why some aren’t. We’ll also look at the various factors to consider before you purchase an electric bike.
Are Electric Motorcycles Street Legal?
Most full-sized electric motorcycles are indeed street legal in the US, provided they have indicator lights, side mirrors, and other safety features present in manual motorcycles. However, some states have specific requirements for an electric motorcycle to be considered street-legal.
Also, electric motorcycles are classified differently in different states. Some state laws define an electric motorcycle by its maximum speed, while others look at the design, weight, and other features of the motorcycle.
All electric motorcycles are legal in Washington, DC, since there isn’t any law against their use on public roads. However, those in other parts of the country will need to check their state’s specific laws regarding which electric motorcycles are street-legal.
Mini vs. Full-Sized Electric Motorcycles
Mini electric motorcycles may be fun to ride, but they aren’t street-legal in many states due to a lack of essential road safety features. Most full-sized electric motorcycles, on the other hand, are street legal since everything about them is the same as manual motorcycles — apart from the engine system.
But why aren’t smaller electric motorcycles street-legal?
The main reason why mini electric motorcycles and e-bikes aren’t street legal is that they lack crucial road safety features such as side mirrors, turn signals, and a road horn.
These motorcycles are often used for recreational purposes and are meant to be driven on private property, which is why they aren’t equipped with the traditional road safety features.
So, if you want to experience the thrill of speeding past vehicles on a mini motorcycle, you’ll have to wait for now!
Full-sized motorcycles, on the other hand, are equipped with horns, side mirrors, proper lights, and other essential parts required to drive on public roads.
But before you hop on an electric motorcycle, make sure you have the proper motorcycle driving license.
What Are Some Street Legal Electric Motorcycles You Can Buy?
While electric motorcycles were a novice until pretty recently, they have become quite popular. Most new full-sized electric motorcycles have better acceleration than gas-powered ones, and the latest ones have decent mileage too.
If you’re looking to get an electric motorcycle but aren’t sure whether it’s street-legal, then there’s no need to worry. Full-sized electric motorcycles are legal in all states provided they have the essential road safety features. Some states even offer tax rebates for purchasing an electric motorcycle!
Here are the top 3 street legal motorcycle brands you can buy from:
Zero is one of the most popular electric motorcycle brands. They occasionally release practical street and sport electric bikes, all of which are street-legal. Compared to other brands, they have more affordable bikes that can be upgraded for those that want additional features.
Also, Zero electric motorcycles have high-quality carbon fiber belts, flexible suspension options, and fast charging capabilities.
Whether you’re looking for a sport electric motorcycle or one for a daily inner-city commute, Zero has an option to suit your requirements. They’re also a relatively well-established electric motorcycle brand and have reputable aftermarket service.
LiveWire is a sub-brand of Harley Davidson, and this should give you an idea of their electric motorcycles. Like gas-powered Harley Davidson motorcycles, they are bigger, heavier, and produce more torque than similar electric motorcycles.
The LiveWire One comes with 100 horsepower, which gives it better acceleration than many faster manual bikes. It also has a decent average range of 96 miles and a 15.4 kWh capacity. Best of all, it only takes an hour to charge the battery from 0 to 100%.
At around $22,000, it’s more expensive than most electric motorcycles, but you’ll get great value for money.
If you want an electric super bike, the Energica lineup is worth checking out. They’re the only company that produces street-legal electric super bikes, and they aren’t much more expensive than the LiveWire One.
However, the speed and acceleration of these bikes is on a different level. The Energica Ego+ comes with a whopping 169 horsepower and can charge from 0 to 100% in 40 minutes!
While it’s significantly higher priced than most electric or manual motorcycles, the same goes for any super bike.
What You Should Know Before Purchasing an Electric Motorcycle
Even though most electric motorcycles closely resemble regular bikes, there are a few things to keep in mind before purchasing one. You’ll have to consider insurance, registration requirements, license requirements, and other factors outlined by your local or state laws.
Here are some things to consider before getting an electric motorcycle:
- Check that the motorcycle is street-legal.
- Apply for registration through your local registration office or DMV.
- You’ll need to be at least 16 or 18 years old to drive an electric motorcycle, depending on state regulations.
- You’ll need a special motorcycle driving license to drive it on public roads.
- Make sure you purchase essential safety gear like a helmet (on Amazon) and protective clothing (also on Amazon).
You’ll also have to consider that accidents on electric bikes are even more dangerous since most electric motorcycles are lighter. Always drive safely, avoid speeding, and follow the road rules to avoid accidents.
Also, spend time getting used to the acceleration of your electric motorcycle before taking it on congested roads. You’ll be surprised at how fast these bikes accelerate!