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Illinois Motorized Bicycle Laws

Posted on March 29, 2022 in

In 2017, Illinois lawmakers approved a new piece of legislation that regulates motorized bicycles, or bicycles are powered by an electric motor. This law, which went into effect in 2018, clarifies that motorized bicycles must follow the same traffic laws as regular bicycles. It also assigns motorized bicycles to different classes based on their mechanical specifications.

If you ride a motorized bicycle in Illinois, it is important to be aware of and comply with these regulations. Failure to follow Illinois motorized bicycle laws could not only result in traffic penalties but may also heighten your risk of a bicycle collision.

What Counts as a Motorized Bicycle?

A motorized bicycle is any bicycle that has a low-power motor, which makes it easier for a rider to pedal. As a result, the rider can travel faster and for longer distances than he or she could on a non-motorized bicycle.

While these speed and automation qualities are beneficial, motorized bicycles could pose a risk to the rider and others on the road. To avoid accidents, Illinois enforces a set of rules that govern the registration and use of motorized bicycles.

Laws That Apply to Motorized Bicycle Riders in Illinois

According to Illinois’s motorized bicycle law, a motorized bike may fall into one of the following classes.

  • Class 1: These bikes provide motor assistance when the rider is pedaling. If the bike reaches 20 miles per hour (mph), it will cease motor operations.
  • Class 2: These bikes do not require the rider to pedal in order to operate. However, the motor will cease if the bike reaches 20 mph.
  • Class 3: These bikes only aid the rider when he or she is pedaling, but will stop operating at 28 mph.

If you have a motorized bicycle, you must have a label that lists its class, motor wattage, and top speed. If you ride a Class 3 bike, you will need to adhere to additional safety requirements. To legally ride one of these bikes on Illinois roads, you must be at least 16 years old. You are not required to hold a license.

Where Can You Ride a Motorized Bike?

Under Illinois’s motorized bicycle laws, people who ride motor-powered bikes must follow the same traffic rules as other bicycles. As a rider, you can operate your bike in any area that allows the operation of traditional bikes, such as bike paths, streets, and certain highways.

However, local rules and ordinances may change. Some municipalities have laws that prohibit motorized bicycles from riding on bike paths or certain sidewalks, for example. It is important to research these laws before you ride so you could avoid potential penalties, such as fines.

What to Do After an Accident on a Motorized Bicycle

If you are injured in a bicycle accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Under Illinois law, you could pursue a claim against the person responsible for your accident and secure a settlement for medical care, lost wages, property damage, and more.

In these situations, it is important to remain calm and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Gather as much evidence related to your accident, including photographs, witness statements, and medical records. Once you have this information, contact a Chicago bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.