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E-Bikes and Motoring Law

November 14, 2019 by in category News with 0 and 0
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After a recent trip to Amsterdam where cycling is akin to walking, I was persuaded by my other half, an avid road cyclist, to invest in my own electric bike. It seems, I am one of the thousands of people at the leading edge of this emerging industry as according to www.sportsindustry.biz 2.5 million bicycles were sold in the UK in 2018, of which 70,000 were so-called e-bikes.

Before investing in my own e-bike, I decided to take a closer look at some of the basic requirements:

Five Facts about electric bikes

The Department for Transport suggest that 3.4% of adults cycle 5 times a week and 5.7% of adults cycle 3 times a week. Electric bikes look to ease the journey for cyclists, allowing them to propel to greater speeds with ease and not just relying on pedal power. These type of bikes can be of great help to new riders who need to build their confidence. They enable a rider to move off quickly at traffic lights, thereby limiting the pressure felt by cyclists on busy roads.

1. You do not need a licence to use an electric bike

For most electric bikes, you do not need a licence of any kind. Only if the bike has a motor rated more than 250W or an assisted speed of higher than 15.5mph will you need a  licence.

2. You must be over the age of 14 to use an electric bike

A little known fact regarding electric bikes is that to use one legally the rider must be over the age of 14.

An electric bike is not an ideal present for a youngster, given their enhanced power and speed due to the electric power assistance, they could be unsafe for a young child to use. In any event these bikes are aimed at adults using them to commute rather than anything else.

3. The pedals must be in use when electric power assist is present

To avoid a licence being necessary an electric bike must require the pedals to be in motion for electric power assistance to begin. If the bike is simply moving due to an electric motor this is an electric motorbike rather than an electric power assisted bike.

4. Electric Bikes are very popular

Bicycling.com has reported that from the year 2016 – 2017 sales of electric bikes grew by 91%. Furthermore it was reported that this year sales of electric bikes in the Netherlands surpassed sales of regular bikes.

5. Electric Bikes are legal in the UK

However there are still restrictions on modifications. Only bikes which fall into the category known as electric assisted power cycles, can be used unregistered in the UK.

It should be noted that bikes manufactured since 2015 with a “twist and go” throttle function cannot go more than 3.7mph (6km/h). They do not qualify to be an electric assisted power cycle, as there are no pedals involved.

Any electrically assisted vehicle that falls outside of this category must be registered, taxed and requires the rider to have a licence.

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