There’s nothing quite like pedaling through Minneapolis. From the beautiful Midtown Greenway to the city skyline, there’s always something to look at along any route. That’s why I enjoy commuting back and forth from my office in Uptown to my home, especially during the warmer months.
However, when I’m in a hurry or worn out from those long weekend rides, biking can be tough. Luckily, in Minneapolis, we have access to electric bikes, also known as e-bikes. Not sure what an e-bike is? Let’s dive in together. I’ll also explain the laws associated with e-bikes so you can best protect yourself and others on the road.
What Is an Electric Bike (E-Bike)?
An e-bike isn’t what you might think firsthand. It’s very different from a motorcycle. An e-bike or electric bike looks just like a normal bike. However, it houses components such as a motor and a battery.
E-Bikes aren’t meant to be “driven” like motorcycles either. Instead, most e-bikes are pedaled just like your typical bike. The motor is meant to assist you in pedaling, especially during long commutes and up steep hills. The result? An easier and less strenuous biking experience.
E-Bikes in Minneapolis
E-Bikes are growing in popularity throughout Minneapolis. In fact, the first-ever e-bike convention held in Minneapolis, the E-Bike Challenge, occurred just this year. And Lyft’s Nice Ride Minnesota Bike Sharing program offers e-bikes for anyone to rent and use throughout the city. To find bike stations throughout Minneapolis, check out this map.
If you’re interested in purchasing your own e-bike, you can do that too in various bike shops located around town. Sometimes, e-bikes are purchased by those who also want a cargo bike to haul their groceries or run their kids to soccer practice. Perennial Cycle on Hennepin Ave. carries cargo bikes with e-bike assist.
Minnesota Laws for E-Bikes
Minnesota has specific laws in place to help govern the use of e-bikes. According to Minnesota Statute 169.011, an electric-assisted bicycle with pedals and an electric motor that has a power output of no more than 750 watts is considered a bike under law. This means that all relevant bike laws apply to e-bikes too.
Some examples of the laws all bicyclists must follow whether they’re riding a traditional bike or e-bike include:
- Bicyclists should always pass cars on the left.
- No bicycle should carry more individuals than what it has been designed to carry.
- Bicyclists should ride no more than two abreast and shouldn’t impede traffic flow.
- Bicyclists should always give the right-of-way to pedestrians.
- Bicyclists should signal all turns and lane changes using their arms.
In addition to these laws, Minnesota requires riders of e-bikes to be at least 15 years old. Currently, no driver’s license is required to operate an e-bike.
Involved in an Accident While on an E-Bike? We Can Help.
While the busy streets of Minneapolis may be perfect for e-biking, they can also be dangerous. If you’ve been hurt in an accident while biking or just want to learn more about your rights, my team and I are here to support you.
Attorney Daniel J. Brazil of Brazil Law Group is an experienced personal injury attorney with offices located in Uptown. He’s also a member of the Bike Law Network. He has a passion for the outdoors, especially cycling and climbing. Learn more about Dan and his practice by following him on Twitter (@LawDanielBrazil and #MplsBikeAttorney).