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Motorized Bikes: what you need to know.

Motorized bicycles are everywhere. 

Between 2019 and 2020, motorized bike sales grew by 145%. If you considering buying a motorized-bicycle or e-bike, first you need to know the difference. Let’s break it down.

A motorized-bicycle is a bicycle with an attached motor and transmission used either to power the vehicle unassisted, or to assist with pedaling. In technical terms, a motorized bicycle is a true bicycle, albeit a power-assisted one.

A motorized-bicycle can have either a gas or electric engine and may be classified as a moped or motorcycle, depending on speed capabilities, power of engine, and state laws where it is operated.

A motorized bicycle with a motor that can reach 30mph usually requires a driver’s license, registration, and insurance. On the contrary, an electric-bicycle (e-bike) cannot reach speeds as high as 30mph.

An electric-bicycle has all the general components of a traditional bicycle: pedals, gears, shifters, a chain drive, and bicycle frame (steel, aluminum, or the pricier carbon fiber.) These components are coupled with a motor and a form of battery—the electric part of the bike. Power flows from the battery to the motor, which then directly spins the wheels giving the rider the sensation of being pushed.

An electric-bicycle is considered a subset of a motorized-bicycle, and because its power generation is much lower than a motorized-bicycle, it usually doesn’t require a driver’s license or state registration.

Each state has its own set of guidelines and laws associated with motorized bikes. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with the specific regulations in your state so you can enjoy riding without worrying about breaking any motorized bike laws.

Let’s look at a few New England states.

In New Hampshire, motorized bicycles cannot exceed 30 mph. Riders must have a valid driver’s license or a moped license and must register their motorized bike. Anyone under the age of 18 using a motorized bicycle, whether a rider or passenger, must wear a helmet.

For our neighbors in Maine, motorized bicycles must have two or three wheels that are at least 10 inches in diameter and riders must have a valid driver’s license or a moped license.

Unlike NH, operators do not need to register their motorized bicycles in Maine. And there is no helmet law in Maine, although it is still a good idea to protect your head.

On the other side of our state border, Massachusetts laws are quite like New Hampshire’s. Motorized bicycles cannot exceed 30 mph. Riders must have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit and must register their motorized bike. Helmet use is mandatory in Massachusetts–all riders and their passengers are required to wear a helmet when operating a motorized bike.

Finally, in Vermont, motorized bikes must have a maximum speed of 30 mph. Operators need to have a valid driver’s license to operate their motorized bicycle but are not required to register it. Motorized bicycle riders cannot carry more passengers than their bike was designed to carry and all riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when using their motorized bicycle.

Either option is a substantial investment costing anywhere from $1,000 to more than $10,000.  With an investment like that, you want to make sure you have adequate coverage for theft or damage. And because e-bikes travel faster and weigh more than a traditional bicycle, they have the potential to cause more injury to the rider, pedestrians, or property in the event of an accident.

Traditional homeowners policies do not typically include coverage for motorized bikes and without added protection, you could be held liable for damages. Contact the professionals at Avery today if you’re considering purchasing an e-bike. Our team can guide you to the resources that can help access the specialty coverage you need


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