There seems to be some confusion about what an electric bicycle is. Do you still have to cycle? Can the motor take you alone? Why do some of them look like bicycles and others look like scooters?

One of the first sources of confusion is in style, where they fall into two categories. There are those that look like traditional bikes with a motor attached to the frame. And then there are electric bikes that look like scooters.

So how can a machine that looks like a scooter really be called an electric bicycle? Why is it not called a scooter or moped? It's about the specification and the law.

You can design an electric bike to look the way you want. If you want it to look like a scooter, that's fine. But it should not have the specifications of a scooter. In most places, an electric bicycle is not allowed to exceed 15 mph. So, strictly speaking, an engine shouldn't drive a bike faster than that. Naturally, if you go downhill, your bike will probably go faster than that without pedaling and without the engine.

An electric scooter, on the other hand, can go up to 30 mph to be classified as a 'moped scooter'. This means that, in most countries, you can travel with a normal driver's license. You do not have to take a separate motorcycle test. Any scooter more powerful than that and you need to take a motorcycle test.

For an electric bike you don't have to do any tests. Although in some countries there are restrictions. In the UK, no one under the age of fourteen is allowed to ride an electric bicycle on the road.

In addition to not taking a test, there are more advantages to using an electric bicycle. Generally, you do not need to register it with the authorities, tax it, have insurance, or wear a helmet.

Another question that people ask about electric bikes is, why do you need pedals if you have an engine? Well, modern electric bikes, like the Salisbury LPX, can switch between three modes: normal cycling, in which you use it as a 'normal' bike; 'pedal assisted': still uses the pedals but the motor helps, making it less tiring; and 'motor only', where you simply rotate the grip and let the motor work.

So they are very versatile. You can usually cycle until you reach a hill, where you may need a little help. Or you can leave 'pedal assist' on all the time, which seems to be a favorite mode. With this turned on, most cyclists feel that they are still cycling, but they need less energy and can therefore move forward and, of course, faster. Or, if you want a complete rest, you can use the motor exclusively, making your electric bike a slower type of scooter.

Author's Bio: 

Motorized electric bicycles are sometimes also known as electric bicycles.