Electric bicycles have become more common in Nebraska in recent years with the advent of public e-bike sharing services such as BikeLNK and B-cycle. Electric bikes are a fast and fun way to travel and have become a popular alternative to standard human-propelled bikes. If you plan on riding an electric bike in Nebraska, learn the applicable state laws and rules. Obeying these laws can help keep you safe and out of legal trouble.
What Is the Definition of an Electric Bike?
In Nebraska, an electric bike is defined as a bicycle that is propelled either by pedaling or an electric motor that is no more than 750W, one brake horsepower and a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. Under LB771, Nebraska has adopted a three-tiered electric bike classification system to clarify state law.
A Class 1 electric bike is equipped with a motor that only propels the bicycle when the rider is pedaling and stops providing assistance when the bike reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour. A Class 2 e-bike has a motor that can be used to exclusively propel the bicycle. It is also not capable of providing assistance when the bike reaches 20 miles per hour.
A Class 3 e-bike only uses the motor when the rider is pedaling and does not cease to provide assistance until the bicycle reaches 28 miles per hour. It is equipped with a speedometer. The three-tier system allows municipalities in Nebraska to control electric bicycles more efficiently.
Do You Need a Driver’s License or Insurance to Ride an Electric Bike in Nebraska?
Electric bicycles are not subject to the same licensing or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles in Nebraska. They are treated similarly to human-powered bicycles. There is no minimum age range to ride an electric bicycle. However, most e-bike rental companies require renters to be at least 16 years old to rent. Many renters must also scan their driver’s licenses. However, having a driver’s license is not required to ride an electric bike in general in Nebraska. Motor vehicle insurance is also not a legal requirement.
Can You Ride an Electric Bike on the Road?
Yes. Under Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,317, while riding an electric bike on the road, the bicyclist must stay as near to the right-hand curb or right-hand edge of the roadway as is practicable, except when passing another bicyclist, making a left turn or avoiding road hazards. The cyclist must obey all relevant roadway rules and traffic laws, including speed limits and traffic signs. E-bikes are also allowed on most sidewalks and bicycle paths in Nebraska. Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
Do You Have to Wear a Helmet on an Electric Bike?
No. Nebraska does not have a universal or statewide law requiring the use of helmets on electric bicycles or human-propelled bikes. This means that helmets are not required of electric bike riders, regardless of age. However, bicyclists are strongly encouraged to wear a safety-approved helmet at all times. Helmets significantly reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in electric bicycle accidents.
What Equipment Must an E-Bike Have in Nebraska?
When riding an electric bicycle at night, the bike must contain a front lamp that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet, as well as a red reflector on the rear of the bicycle that is visible from 50 to 300 feet. In addition, the electric bike must have reflective tape or material on both sides of the bike that is visible from 600 feet when directly in front of the low beams of a motor vehicle. For safety reasons, e-bikes should have working brakes and should not carry passengers unless they are designed to do so.
If you or a loved one gets injured in an electric bike accident in Nebraska, contact a bicycle accident lawyer for assistance in recovering fair financial compensation for your injuri