The sales of electric and motorized bicycles have skyrocketed in recent years. Which means there are more bicycles on the road that in addition to human power also use an electric or small gas motor. But the addition of a motor, no matter how small, raises the issue of whether a bicycle is still a bicycle or is it a motor vehicle more akin to a motorcycle.

The Illinois Legislature addressed this issue last year in Public Act 96-0125 which went into effect January 1st of 2010. Illinois law now provides definitions for both electric bicycles and motorized bicycles but only if they are “low speed” meaning that the motorized bikes don’t go more than 20 miles an hour.

The law also provides that a rider must be 16 years of age, may not be ridden at a speed of more than 20 miles an hour, may not be ridden on a sidewalk, and must be ridden in accordance with all other Rules of the Road for bicycles.