Electric bikes, or e-bikes, have skyrocketed in popularity in the last 2 years. Especially in Europe, the bike has been embraced as a way to get around without a car and has carried over into recreational use.
Read also: Are e-bikes the future of transportation? – in this article.
Where can you ride an e-bike? The answer is evolving almost every day as regulations expand to allow e-bike usage. E-bikes are becoming more common places in cities on cycleways, on trails, and tours. While the United States is lagging behind, Europe now permits e-bikes to be used in all of these places.
Though regulations might be slightly different everywhere you go, it’s important to know how to differentiate what may be permitted and what may not be.
Figuring out where to ride is the first step to maximizing your e-bike experience. Read on to learn where the best spots are and how you can have the best experience possible.
Read also: E-cycling is more than a sport, it is a journey – in this article.
E-bikes on forest trails
Keep in mind that an e-bike, in many legislations, is not a bicycle by law. Rather, it is a motorized vehicle, which is why it is not always permitted in all the same spaces that a bicycle is.
The best way to break this down is to keep in mind two categories: paths that permit e-bikes and paths that do not.
Read also: In Bavarian Alps, electric bikes are not always welcome – in this article.
E-Bike permitted trails
One of the best ways to figure out if you’re permitted to ride an e-bike on a trial is if a motorcycle is permitted on the trail. If it isn’t, then it is probably safe to say that your e-bike isn’t permitted on the trail either unless it is specified. Since e-bikes are still relatively new, their regulation is rather new as well.
Regulation is constantly changing in the European Union and countries outside of it. Even within the United States, each country and national agency defines what is permitted as slightly different. Thus, you can never be too careful when it comes to knowing where your e-bike is permitted. Read online before you go to a certain area and look for signage before you set off.
Non-e-bike trails don’t permit e-bikes because they are just for bikes that do not have an electric capacity or they’re for pedestrians. Not allowing e-bikes is a matter of safety. Remember that e-bikes are still new for almost everyone who has never ridden one.
If you’re bringing an e-bike to a non-e-bike trail, then it will likely be alarming to individuals who will be moving much slower than you will. As a courtesy to others, keep your e-bike to trails specifically designated for e-bikes and you’ll be much safer and happier.
E-bikes on cycleways
As they become more and more heavily used, e-bikes have become a premier way to substitute the usage of cars because they’re permitted on cycleways. Especially in cities, e-bikes are even beginning to replace commutes.
Read also: Will e-bikes replace cars on home-to-work commutes? – in this article.
Do you need to get to and from work each day? Or plan to go for groceries on the weekend? Do you want to reduce how much you’re spending on gas? An e-bike could be the solution for you.
Electric bikes are an incredible way to get from Point A to Point B without as much effort and without pulling heavy groceries along with you. They’re also useful for older members of the community if traditional biking is a little too tiring to be sustainable every day.
However, as e-bike are now permitted on cycleways, that’s one more type of vehicle for everyone to adjust to. Thus, it’s important to keep etiquette in mind so you can be polite to everyone involved.
Here are a few tips:
- Don’t overtake traditional bicycle riders or come up quickly behind them
- Learn the proper signals so you can keep everyone safe
- Use the bike lane, not the sidewalk
- Remember that you’re an ambassador to e-bikes while you’re riding
This is just the tip of the iceberg! Seeing an e-bike on the street will be the first time that most people come into contact with an e-bike. With this being their first impression, you’ll want to make it a good one. Always keep in mind that your actions will impact how others view the usage of e-bikes and could impact where e-bikes could be permitted in the future.
Read also: Why e-bikes are cool? – in this article.
Touring on an e-bike
If you’re not yet an e-bike enthusiast who owns your own vehicle, an e-bike tour can be an awesome way to test the waters. A number of companies all over Europe offer e-bike cycling tours to allow you to get the full experience while also witnessing beautiful landscapes and scenery. Here are some great ways to do this:
- Eurobike: Eurobike offers the option to be “relaxed on the move” for your next holiday with their top of the range unisex e-bikes. A sample of their locations includes Tuscany, Madeira, Portugal, Andalusia, Spain. Here is a link to the Eurobike website.
- Edelweiss E-bike Tours: Edelweiss offers guided e-bike tours so that participants can enjoy the active life and discover the world. Their tours are in Northern Europe like Norway, Central Europe like Austria, and Southern Europe like Spain, Croatia, France, Italy. Here is a link to Edelweiss E-bike Tours website.
- Breakaway Adventures: Breakaway Adventures features a variety of e-bike trips all across Europe. They know that going uphill across the continent can be a challenge for some travelers, so they offer the opportunity to get the same views to those individuals without the arduous effort. With Breakaway Adventures, you can head to France, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Norway, and Scotland. With 30 destinations, there’s absolutely something for everyone! Here is a link to Breakaway Adventures website.
If you’re worried about the potential regulations for e-bikes on cycleways or trails, but you’re still interested in riding or testing one out, a tour is a great way to go. For your next holiday, book an e-bike tour.
While the above is a great sampling of what is out there, thousands of more exist! You’ll get a full and active experience while potentially doing something you’ve never done before. Then, if you like it, you can always look into purchasing an e-bike of your own. A tour on a holiday is a good way to test it out temporarily.
How can I find the best tours to ride in Europe?
The best way to find the best tours in Europe is to do research! The tour companies above provide a ton of different options in different companies but make sure you hit the web and do your own independent research on the topic to make sure the tour you select fits your own independent preferences.
You’ll want to make sure the tour is in a spot that you like, has the right skill level, and the right kind of bike since the tour will likely be providing it to you. Compare, research, and speak directly with the tour companies until you’ve found the one you’re satisfied with!
Since e-bike regulations are different everywhere, how do I know what my local regulations are?
Great question! You’ll need to check your specific city or town regulations. If they don’t have anything, look at your state or country regulations. While e-bikes are still new, it can be tough to figure out exactly where e-bikes are permitted but as long as you’re approaching the situation with respect and caution then you’ll be a step ahead of the game.
What are the signals for an e-bike?
Some riders prefer to install lights on their bike, so they don’t have to default to hand signals. If this is you, then lights are easy to purchase at your local bike shop. That said, if you’re going to use hand signals then you’ll want to make sure you have them down well before you ever get on your bike so that you can keep everyone safe.
The e-bike signals are the same as they are for traditional bikes. For a left turn, you’ll stick your left hand straight out to the left. For a right turn, you’ll stick your right hand straight out to the right. To stop, you’ll stick your left hand down at a 90-degree angle.
Read also: Which electric bike to buy? Making your educated e-bike selection choice – in this article.
Here is a quick video introducing e-bike regulations in the United States, Europe and Asia: