Most state laws define an e-Bike as requiring fully operable pedals.
They do not say *how* the pedals should operate, but if you can turn
the pedals and move the bike, without additional motor power (even
if that means pedals -> generator -> motor -> wheels) that should
qualify as e-Bike. One way to demonstrate is to be able to disconnect
the big battery or show zero power transfer from it while operating
the pedals and moving the bike.
More on the e-Bike legality here:

Like someone else said: the real definition of e-Bike is:
Can you ride it past a cop and not get stopped?
So, if it looks like a bike, rides like a bike and you act like riding a bike 
then you should be fine...

Cor van de Water
Chief Scientist
Proxim Wireless Corporation
Email: Private:
Skype: cor_van_de_water Tel: +1 408 383 7626

-----Original Message-----
From: EV [] On Behalf Of Chris Tromley via EV
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2014 3:55 AM
To: Dennis Miles; Electric Vehicle Discussion List
Subject: Re: [EVDL] Cargo bike with electric chain.

On Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 1:07 AM, Dennis Miles via EV <>

> Now with a battery of sufficient capacity and using the pedals as a
> "Range Extender" you could ride with only the battery or pedal as hard
> as you wanted to achieve a real aerobic work-out. That depends on your
> goal for bicycling...

​Not liking the efficiency hit, but still an interesting idea​.

One bureaucratic technicality might be a problem.  Does an ebike legally
need pedals operating *directly* on the wheels?  I believe that is a
requirement when distinguishing a moped from a motorcycle.

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