Electric bicycles, or E-Bikes, are growing in popularity with different companies renting their E-Bikes for strolls along the beach and inside some parks. The question now has become, are these E-Bikes allowed on regular bike trails? The answer, to some peoples chagrin is yes. E-Bikes are not technically motor vehicles which those opposing their use on trails argue. Instead, they are defined within the broader definition of "bicycle."
Florida Statute 316.003(4) defines BICYCLE as
" Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. A person under the age of 16 may not operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle."
By state law, electric bikes may be operated in the exact same locations as regular bicycles. Electric bikes are allowed on “any road, path or way that is open to bicycle travel.” This means they can be ridden on roads (except limited access highways), bike lanes, bike paths, multi-use paths, and sidewalks. However, local communities may pass their own ordinances such as Fort Myers Beach did last year because of safety concerns.