In Oregon right now the courts are trying to figure out at what point an electric-assisted bicycle becomes a moped and therefore requires a driver's license. This is because a gentleman, 41-year-old Paul McClain from Springfield, was given five separate tickets for riding his electric-assisted bicycle while his driver's license was suspended.
Luckily for Washingtonians the law is much clearer here. Let's examine, shall we?
As the AP reports, police in Springfield, Ore., say McClain's bike is no longer a bike when he turns on the motor. He says that's ridiculous. But the final word will be up to a judge.
"Electric-assisted bicycle" means a bicycle with two or three wheels, a saddle, fully
operative pedals for human propulsion, and an electric motor. The electric-assisted
bicycle's electric motor must have a power output of no more than one thousand watts, be incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than twenty miles per hour on level ground, and be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the device beyond twenty miles per hour.
Not licensable for street use (RCW 46.04.320 )
Cannot be ridden on sidewalks (RCW 46.61.710 )
Cannot be operated on fully controlled limited access highway (RCW 46.61.710 )
They may be operated most places bicycles are allowed such as multipurpose trails or
bicycle lanes, provided "motorized vehicles" are not prohibited. (RCW 46.61.710 )
No Drivers License needed (RCW 46.16.010)
2-3 wheels (RCW 46.04.169)
Saddle seat (RCW 46.04.169)
Operational pedals (RCW 46.04.169)
Electric Motor (with less than 1000 watts) (RCW 46.04.169)
20 mph or less (RCW 46.04.169)
Must comply with all laws and regulations related to the use of bicycle helmets (RCW
So there you go. If your driver's license gets suspended for, say, driving your moped while drunk, don't beat yourself up too much about it. You're still free to ride an electric bike wherever you want.