As a cyclist in the City of Chicago, it’s important to be familiar with any and all state and local laws that impact bike safety. One of the crucial Illinois state statutes is 625 ILCS 5/11-1507, which outlines the requirements for bicycle equipment in the state of Illinois.
The law requires that all bicycles operated on public roads and highways in Illinois be equipped with certain safety equipment items, including a working brake system that allows the cyclist to bring the bike to a stop within 15 feet when traveling at a speed of 10 miles per hour, a horn or bell that can be heard from a distance of at least 100 feet, and a white front-facing light and a red rear-facing light or reflector when riding at night.
The law also outlines specific regulations for the use of bicycles equipped with motorized assist systems. These systems are becoming increasingly popular among cyclists, but it’s important to understand the regulations that govern their use.
According to the law, bicycles equipped with motorized assist systems are classified as either Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3 e-bikes. Class 1 e-bikes provide motorized assistance only when the cyclist is pedaling and only up to a speed of 20 miles per hour. Class 2 e-bikes also provide motorized assistance when the cyclist is not pedaling, but still have a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. Class 3 e-bikes provide motorized assistance only when the cyclist is pedaling and only up to a speed of 28 miles per hour.
People v. Fisher (2015 IL App (1st) 132439-U), involved a cyclist who was riding an e-bike that exceeded the maximum speed limit of 20 miles per hour. The court ruled that the e-bike was a “motor vehicle” under Illinois law and that the cyclist was therefore required to have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance. This case highlights the importance of understanding the regulations that govern the use of e-bikes and ensuring that your equipment is in compliance with the law– if your system is just a tad too fast, you could be setting yourself up for a nice ticket.