Electric bikes or e-bikes have an electric battery powered motor installed which, depending on the settings, help the rider maintain speed without the usual effort involved as with a manual bicycle.
Known as PAS (peddle assisted power) these e-bikes help maintain speed even uphill and can also surpass speeds you would usually expect from a manual bike, because of this, the Government has regulations in place to limit the capabilities of e-bikes on UK roads and cycle lanes.
What are the Government regulations on e-bikes
The UK and Europe at present share the same rules on e-bikes but this may change due to Brexit. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the regulations if considering purchasing an e-bike. It is not illegal to own an e-bike outside of the regulations, but this may need to be registered as a moped with insurance etc or used on private land with the land owner’s permission.
- E-bikes (EAPC, electrically assisted pedal cycle) by definition must have pedals
- The manufacturer or power output must be displayed.
- The motor output should not exceed 250W
- The power settings should stop the motor from assisting once the e-bike has reached 15.5mph. Many e-bikes have a built-in function to cut the power when the maximum speed has been reached.
- You must be aged 14 or over.
- If you live in Northern Ireland, you are required to hold a moped licence to use an e-bike.
An e-bike will fall outside of the regulations if not within the above specifications and may require UK registration, this includes:
- If the e-bike can propel without using the pedals,( i.e manual throttle)
- If the output is higher than 250W
- If the motor can propel faster than 15.5 mph
If the e-bike falls outside of the regulations in the UK you may be required to register the e-bike, tax, insure, hold a driving licence and wear a helmet, just as you would with a moped/motorcycle.
If your e-bike confirms to the UK EAPC guidelines, then it has the same classification as a normal manual bicycle and can be used accordingly.
It is the buyer’s responsibility to check the regulations regarding their ebike purchase, and to make sure they have conformed to the laws and regulations.