It’s Electric! E-Bikes in Chicago

E-Bike Laws, Fun Paths, and Benefits of Riding Electric Bikes in Chicago


Electric bikes, better known as E-bikes, have quickly overtaken the cycling culture. With their easy-to-ride components, E-bikes make cycling a whole new experience. They offer a fantastic way to navigate city streets, combining the ease of traditional cycling with an extra oomph of power. Now, imagine you’re cycling with ease on the lakefront bike trail with a view of the skyline ahead of you. With the speed you’ll be going, you can put all of your focus on the amazing sights around you.

As fun as E-bikes are, there are still rules to follow to stay safe and responsible while having fun cycling. Knowing where, how, and when the safest times to ride are can be crucial to enjoying the ride. Not only is knowing the rules important, but understanding what type of E-bike you are riding is also necessary to know where you can ride throughout the city.

For both locals and visitors, renting E-bikes from Bobby’s Bike Hike will be sure to get you involved in the new E-bike movement throughout the city. Read further below and you will learn about all of the do’s and don’ts of riding E-bikes through the concrete jungle while being safe and having fun!

Why Electric Bikes in Chicago?

You may be wondering what makes E-bikes so great, and we’re here to tell you. To start, E-bikes are extremely fun. Now, this may seem obvious, but many do not realize just how fast and easy E-bikes are when riding. No matter what kind of city someone may choose to ride in, e-bikes provide quite the boost that can be not only encouraging but may send quite the thrill!

With electric assistance, riders can cover longer distances without feeling fatigued. Suddenly, that distant trail or hill becomes an achievable adventure. Exploring new routes and discovering hidden gems in your city or countryside becomes not just a possibility but a thrilling reality.

Living in a city, many people may choose cycling as a way to commute to work no matter how long or short the ride because as we all know, traffic during rush hour can be quite an annoyance. While riding a manual bike can be a great option, it is also quite a strenuous activity that may discourage many people from taking a stroll on the bike trail to work.

However, with an e-bike, commuters have the option to use less power while still zipping through traffic to make it to work on time. E-bikes offer the advantage of arriving at their destination without breaking a sweat, which can be crucial in a professional setting.

Besides commuting, e-bikes can also be a great option for carrying larger loads like groceries and other items. By having a built-in motor, the strain of transporting heavy groceries can be lessened making trips to the store much more enjoyable.

These bikes are incredibly versatile. They cater to a wide range of users-commuters, leisure cyclists, mountain bikers, and more. Whether you’re using it to get to work without breaking a sweat, enjoying a leisurely weekend ride, or conquering rough terrains on a mountain bike trail, e-bikes adapt to your needs and desires.

Ultimately, riding an e-bike brings a sense of freedom. It liberates you from limitations and opens up a
world of possibilities. The wind in your hair, the joy of the journey, and the thrill of effortlessly cruising
through various terrains–these experiences create a unique sense of freedom that’s hard to match.

Electric Bike Laws in Chicago

pros of the citypass in chicago

Learning the differences in e-bikes is extremely important if you are planning to take one out for a spin so you can ensure the safety of yourself and those around you while still having fun. With e-bikes, three different classes designate e-bikes and there are different laws for each.

General Rules and Regulations for E-Bikes

Understanding the different types of e-bikes is important when riding in the city as different classes have different rules and regulations. When renting from bike shops in the city such as Bobby’s Bike Hike, you will be equipped with a Class 2 e-bike. You can read further below to better understand what signifies the different classes of e-bikes.

Chicago generally allows Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on bike lanes and shared-use paths. However, it’s essential to check on any recent updates or changes in local regulations or ordinances, as laws can evolve over time. Always follow local traffic laws and regulations when riding an e-bike in Chicago to ensure safety and compliance.

No matter the kind of e-bike you will be riding, safety will always be the most important factor. Wearing a
helmet is an obvious choice, but knowing proper hand signals and the meanings of road signs is also
crucial to staying sage so you can enjoy the ride worry-free! You will also never want to ride your bike on
the sidewalk as that is strictly prohibited. You should always walk it if being on the sidewalk is necessary.

Lastly, making sure your bike is well-maintained and has the proper safety equipment on it such as lights
and bells is super important in being able to make yourself appear easily to cars and pedestrians that you
will be sharing lanes with.

Penalty for Violating E-Bike Laws

While there may be some exceptions to some of the rules and regulations, most of them are set in place
for a specific reason and are expected to be followed. If cyclists disobey these rules, they may be faced
with fines and citations which may lead to court fees as well. These can occur from actions such as riding on the sidewalk, disobeying traffic laws, and not having the proper safety gear

Don’t let this happen to you by obeying the rules of the road and following the safety information you’ve learned here today.

Divvy Stations for Regular & E-Bikes

If renting e-bikes at Bobby’s Bike Hike is not accessible to you, there are plenty of other options. The
most common option for people visiting the city is through the use of the well-known Divvy Bike. Ah, the
Divvy bikes in Chicago – those trusty steeds of the city, waiting for adventurous souls to hop on and explore the Windy City in style. If you’re eyeing those sleek blue bikes and thinking, “How do I get in on
that two-wheeled action?” – you’re in the right place.

Getting started with Divvy is simple–all it takes is the tap of an app and scanning a QR code. Once your
bike has been unlocked, you are ready to set off on an adventure on those snazzy blue bikes. Divvy has
the option of taking an e-bike or a regular bike, and you can pay by the minute or purchase a day pass.

The Pros: Why Divvy Rocks

  • Eco-Friendly Vibes: You’re reducing your carbon footprint while cruising around town. Good for you and good for Mother Earth!
  • No Sweat Parking: Bid farewell to circling blocks in search of a parking spot. Just dock your ride and off you go.
  • Flexibility Rules: No need to commit to owning a bike; just pedal when you want, and when you’re done, dock it and forget it

This makes for a really convenient mode of transportation as you can pick up and drop off at any of their
600 docking stations all over the city. Whether you’re strolling through Millenium Park or eyeing up
deep-dish pizza in Wicker Park, there’s probably a Divvy station nearby, waiting for you to take it for a

So, saddle up and get ready to embark on a pedal-powered adventure through the streets of Chicago.
Divvy bikes aren’t just transportation; they’re your ticket to exploring the nooks and crannies of this
vibrant city. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these wheels are your golden ticket to urban exploration.
Happy riding!

Choosing an E-Bike Path in the City

Choosing a trail to cycle on throughout the city can be difficult because they all provide amazing sights
and are sure to bring a new adventure. Knowing your options might be helpful in narrowing your decision
down. Below are some of the best options in the city for exploring on two wheels!

  • River Trail Plaza: This bike trail is further north and follows the river through a beautiful park perfect for stopping and taking pictures.
  • The 606 Trail: While not directly adjacent to the Lakefront Trail, it’s a prominent elevated trail converted from an old railway line, providing a different experience within the city.
  • North Shore Channel Trail: This path runs parallel to the North Branch of the Chicago River and is relatively close to the Lakefront Trail in some areas.
  • Burnham Greenway: Located in the southern part of the city, it offers a connection to the Lakefront Trail and stretches into Indiana

Class 1 vs Class 2 E-bikes: What’s the Difference?

The levels and differences in e-bikes are divided by class. The most common kinds of e-bikes for rent in
the city include class 1, class 2, and class 3. You may be asking yourself, “What’s the difference and what do I need to know about these e-bikes?” Well, we have the answers for you!

Class 2 e-bikes have pedal assist with the addition of a throttle that allows the rider to propel without
pedaling. These bikes also only reach a maximum speed of 20 mph and are similar to the class 1 e-bikes
and have very similar laws.

The majority of e-bike rentals in Chicago are going to be within Class 1 or 2, but there is a third class that
is not as common. These e-bikes have the same mechanisms as the class 2 but are able to go much faster in speed. If you happen to come across one of these speed demons, you will be prohibited from riding on any bike trails and will have more limitations on where you can ride in the city. However, you will have enough speed to ride safely on the streets and enjoy the views from there.

Pros and Cons of Class 1 & 2 of E-Bike

Sure, e-bikes come in various classes, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s an
overview of the main classes and their key points:

Class 1 E-Bikes

  • Legal Status: Class 1 e-bikes are often permitted on bike paths and roads where traditional bicycles are allowed.
  • Pedal-Assist Only: These bikes only provide assistance while you’re pedaling, making them more akin to traditional bikes and promoting exercise.
  • Quieter Ride: They generally operate more quietly compared to higher-powered models.
  • Limited Speed: Usually limited to around 20 mph, which might not be suitable for those wanting faster rides.
  • Less Power: They offer lower power compared to Class 2 and Class 3 e-bikes.

Class 2 E-Bikes

  • Throttle Option: In addition to pedal-assist, these bikes often have a throttle, allowing riders to engage the motor without pedaling.
  • Good for Varied Riders: Beneficial for those who may have difficulties consistently pedaling, such as individuals with joint issues.
  • Limited Speed: Typically, they also have a speed cap, similar to Class 1 e-bikes.
  • Potential Regulation Issues: Some areas might restrict the use of throttle-controlled e-bikes in certain areas.

Benefits of Riding an Electric Bike in Chicago

bike path in chicago

Choosing to take an e-bike over a traditional bike can prove to have many upsides and benefits that you
may not have realized. Not only are they a great form of exercise, cost-effective, and better for the
environment, but you are bound to have loads of fun!

Eco-Friendly Vibes

City Life is often tagged with the label of pollution and carbon footprints, but e-bikes aim to rewrite that
script. They’re the eco-warriors of the cycling world. These babies are powered by electricity and are a cleaner, greener alternative to hopping in a car or even relying on a regular bike. You’ll be cruising with a
guilt-free conscience, contributing to a cleaner cityscape.

Health Kick with a Twist

Who said you can’t get a workout with an e-bike? Pedal-assist models let you choose the level of
assistance, so if you’re feeling like an Olympian, switch to manual mode and pedal your heart out. It’s a
fun way to stay active and sneak in a workout while you explore the city. Sure, traditional biking has its
health benefits, but e-bikes kick it up a notch. You’re still pedaling, just with a bit of a push. It’s the perfect way to get your heart rate up without feeling like you just conquered Mount Everest. Plus, it encourages more people to get on bikes, promoting a healthier, more active city lifestyle.

Biking is a Mood Booster

Riding an electric bike isn’t just about getting from point A to point B; it’s a mood-lifter. The fresh air
hitting your face, the freedom of movement, and the sheer joy of effortlessly pedaling up hills can
significantly boost your mood. It’s like a daily dose of happiness on two wheels!

Rent an E-Bike from Bobby’s Bike Hike

Whether you’re still on the fence or have completely succumbed to the new e-bike movement, we are sure you’re going to love taking an e-bike out for a spin around the city. With just a few seconds on an e-bike, you will absolutely learn to love them and are sure to have an amazing time breezing through the Windy City while taking in the views. Be sure to check out Bobby’s Bike Hike and you may even want to take a tour with e-bikes. Or, just grab a Divvy for a speedy ride to your next destination!