MA E-Bike Law FAQs - October 2022

We’ve been getting lots of questions about e-bikes and the recently passed Massachusetts e-bike legislation. You can always find a comprehensive overview of current Massachusetts e-bike laws at www.massbike.org/ebikes

Our e-bikes page will be updated as new information becomes available and also includes a link to our in-depth e-bike FAQ. To be the first to know about any updates about Massachusetts e-bike laws or the status of e-bike rebates, make sure to join our mailing list.

Below you can find a few of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received. As always, we highly encourage you to reach out to your local legislators to let them know that e-bikes are an important issue to riders across the commonwealth.

Massachusetts E-Bike Law FAQs

What does the e-bike definition bill do?

The bill defines an electric bicycle as a device with 2 or 3 wheels which has a saddle and fully-operative pedals for human propulsion and an electric motor having a power output of not more than 750 watts. The bill includes two electric bicycle classes:

CLASS 1: Bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.

CLASS 2: Bicycle equipped with a throttle-actuated motor that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph.

Regulatory control remains with jurisdictions, landowners, and departments. The default would align electric bicycles similarly to regular bicycles, yet off-road trails will be up to individual jurisdictions.

 

What about class-3 e-bikes?

The MA law doesn’t include class-3 e-bikes, however, they are defined in federal statute. MassBike will continue to work to define class-3 e-bikes in state law.

 

My bicycle committee wants to allow e-bikes on our town’s pathways.

Great! Class-1 and Class-2 e-bikes are allowed on multi-use bike paths, however, a jurisdiction can regulate or prohibit e-bikes but only after going through a public process. This allows for public input, and with the intention to create regional regulations that may cross municipal boundaries.

 

Can private entities, like my campground, ban e-bikes? I thought you said they are being regulated like normal bicycles!

Technically, yes. As a landowner, they can restrict the use of e-bikes on their property. We’d love to hear what concerns folks are having about e-bikes.

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Massachusetts E-Bike Rebate FAQs

I hear the rebate passed & I’m so excited to get a shiny new e-bike! Can I get the rebate right now?

Unfortunately, as of the time of this post, the rebate is not yet available. The Department of Energy Resources first needs to evaluate how to implement the rebate.

 

How long until the rebate takes effect?

The timeline hasn’t been set. The next step is for the Department of Energy Resources to complete their evaluation of the rebate.

Since the rebate was passed in a Bond Bill, it is subject to the capital planning process which likely won’t start until Spring 2023. 

You may be able to help speed up the process by reaching out to your local legislators and letting them know you are looking forward to the implementation of the rebate.

 

I’ve been looking at e-bikes to buy online, can I get a rebate on a bike I buy from on online retailer?

The bill is written as a point-of-sale rebate at Massachusetts-based retailers and does not clarify if you are able to receive a rebate for bikes you buy online at this time.

It was written this way to support local bike shops and the added bonus is that when you buy an e-bike from a local shop you know there will be someone that will provide maintenance to your bike.

 

I just bought a new e-bike and I love it so much but I wish I could’ve had the rebate. Is the bill retroactive to the date of signing?

Since it was written as a point-of-sale rebate, it may not be able to be retroactive. But, you should reach out to your legislator and let them know about your concern! 


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  • Todd Kaplan
    I need more information on how e bikes are historically interacting with non e bikes and pedestrians on bike paths and roads including accident rates etc and how different communities are approaching these interactions. Not posting anything about these issues is really ignoring people’s concerns
  • Jes Slavin