Everything You Should Know About Colorado E-Bike Laws
Colorado is renowned for its national parks, from Mesa Verde to the Great Sand Dunes. In fact, the state has the fourth most national parks in the United States and has 40-plus state parks.
If you have an electric bicycle, you might be interested in exploring the state’s gorgeous scenery on two wheels.
Before you hit the trails, be aware that Colorado has strict e-bike rules governing where you can ride. The state also has legislation governing everything from e-biking age restrictions to helmet usage.
Below, we give a quick rundown of Colorado’s electric bike laws.
E-bike laws in Colorado
Like many states, Colorado has statewide and local laws governing e-bike use. This guide discusses Colorado e-bike laws as of January 2023. Note that legislation can change over time.
What class of e-bikes are legal in Colorado?
Colorado state law classifies e-bikes into three main categories. According to the Colorado General Assembly, these classes are:
- Class 1. These electric bicycles have electric motors that can’t exceed 20 miles per hour (mph). They have pedal assist, meaning the motor can power you forward when you’re pedaling, but they don’t have throttle assist (a mechanism that drives the bike forward even when you aren’t pedaling).
- Class 2. Class 2 e-bikes have motors that don’t allow speeds of more than 20 mph. However, Class 2 e-bikes have throttle assist and can move forward even if you aren’t pedaling.
- Class 3. Class 3 e-bikes are faster and can reach speeds of 28 mph. Colorado law requires Class 3 e-bikes to have a speedometer. Additionally, a Class 3 e-bike can’t have throttle assist.
All three classes of e-bikes are permitted in Colorado. However, the exact rules governing their use depend on the bike class. For example, where you can ride your e-bike depends on its classification — more on that next.
Where are you allowed to ride e-bikes in Colorado?
Cyclists with Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes are allowed on regular bike paths and pedestrian lanes. However, e-bike riders with Class 3 e-bikes aren’t allowed on bicycle or pedestrian paths (unless a local jurisdiction allows otherwise or the path is part of a highway or street).
Are e-bikes allowed on Colorado trails?
The state of Colorado is renowned for its many parks and trails. But can you ride wherever you want? No. Here’s a quick rundown of regulations regarding e-bike usage on public surface trails and lands:
- Land managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. CPW allows the use of e-bikes (Class 1 and 2) in the same areas as road and mountain bikes (like designated mountain bike trails). Class 3 e-bikes are allowed in designated bike lanes and on roads.
- State parks. Class 1 and 2 electrical-assisted bicycles are generally allowed in the same areas where nonmotorized bikes are allowed, including roads, designated bike lanes, and multiuse trails. Class 3 bikes are permitted only on roads and specified bike lanes.
- State wildlife areas. E-bikes are allowed only in specified camping or parking areas and on designated roadways where motorized vehicles are allowed. They’re prohibited elsewhere.
- State trust lands. State trust lands are used for fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching. You can use your e-bike only if you’re using it for these activities (discover the perks of hunting with an e-bike). However, you can only use the e-bike on designated roads.
- Other public lands. From public parks to local playgrounds, there are many other public lands where you might want to ride your e-bike. Check with the agency governing that land before going ahead.
How old do you have to be to ride an e-bike in Colorado?
You must be at least 16 to ride a Class 3 e-bike in Colorado. That said, you don’t need any special driver’s license to ride an e-bike (like you would with a car, for example).
Do you need a helmet when riding an e-bike in Colorado?
If you’re under 18 and riding a Class 3 e-bike, you must wear a helmet. Learn more about Colorado’s helmet laws — and find out about other states’ requirements — with our guide.
Are e-bikes allowed in Rocky Mountain National Park?
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Colorado’s most famous outdoor attractions. You can ride an e-bike in the park in all paved and unpaved areas open to motor vehicles unless otherwise posted.
Local ordinances for e-bikes in Colorado
We’ve covered some general e-biking guidelines in Colorado. However, rules may vary depending on your location. Always check with the local governing body before riding on any land.
For example, say you want to ride an e-bike in Boulder Country. The county has specific guidelines on where you can and can’t ride. For instance, Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed on the Coal Creek and Rock Creek Trails but prohibited on the Boulder Canyon and Coalton Trails.
What you should know before riding your e-bike in Colorado
Before you start e-cycling in Colorado, look up the regulations where you want to ride. As you can see from the above guide, the rules vary. Beyond this, follow these best practices for a safe and enjoyable e-biking experience:
- Wear a helmet. If you’re over 16, you aren’t legally required to wear a bike helmet when riding a Class 3 e-bike. However, it’s still recommended, as it can minimize the risk of head injuries in accidents.
- Plan your route. Some bike trails can be more fun than others. Popular options in the Rocky Mountains National Park include the Old Fall River Road and Trail Ridge Road. Check details like elevation, length, and opening times. For example, the two trails mentioned are open from April 1 to Nov. 30.
- Pick the right bike. The type of e-bike can make a big difference. For example, if you’re planning to go off-roading in unpaved areas, you probably want a bike with fat tires (find out why).
Discover the great outdoors of Colorado with a Velotric e-bike
Get the perfect bike for your Colorado adventures from Velotric. The Discover 1 is ideal for urban commuting, while the Nomad 1 has the fat tires you need for tackling unpaved surfaces and open spaces.
The Discover 1 has a 500/900W (watts of power) rated/peak motor, while the Nomad 1 has a 750/1200W rated/peak motor. Both bikes include pedal assist and throttle assist and come with a battery certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL2271), a global safety standards organization.
The best way to find the bike for you? Book a test ride.
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