One of the hottest trends in the bicycle industry today is the e-bike, a regular looking bicycle with a small electric motor ("e") that can be switched on or off. Switch it off when you want to pedal and on when you don't. These are not at all like motorcycles, nor are they mopeds, both of which are substantially more powerful than e-bikes. In Chicago, the law permits an e-bike rider to do pretty much whatever can be done with a old-fashioned peddle bike. Recently, I received an email from a reader inquiring about this issue:
Was on your blog but can't find this: are motorized bikes allowed on the Lakefront path in Chicago? Thanks for any help. My son wants to ride his to work in South Loop from North Side.
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Thanks for your question. Certain types of motorized bikes are governed by the same rules that apply to regular, old-fashioned pedal bikes, and are permitted on Chicago's Lakefront path. "Low-speed electric bicycles" and "low-speed gas bicycles" are permitted on the path. Mopeds and motorcycles are not. To be considered a "low-speed" bike, the cycle must (a) have fully operable pedals, (b) an electric or gas powered motor of less than 1 horse power, and (c) have a maximum speed of less than 20 mph.
Hope this helps.