E-Bikes are the next big thing – They are fun as well as useful. Whether you want to ride the hills or just want to ride around regularly without breaking a sweat. The Electric Bike or commonly termed as E-Bike can be a perfect choice for Peoples in UK. An Electric Bike is just like a normal bike but with the addition of an electric motor and a battery. Here also you still have to pedal your way but the electric motor will give you some help in the form of boost.
Whenever we talk about an e-bike there is always some most common question that comes around. How old I have to be to ride an e-bike? or Do I need a license to ride an e-bike?
You can use the E-Bike anywhere that you are already able to ride a Regular Bike but If you want to ride an E-Bike in the UK then there are few regulations which you should know. Though Electric bike doesn’t require a license to ride there are certain rules imposed by the government which you should take care of before getting an E-Bike.
In this article we are going to take a look at the electric bike laws in the UK and also answer most of your commonly asked questions.
E-Bike definitions and the law in UK
The very first thing which you have to consider about E-Bikes is the law behind it and what actually counts an E-Bike? The Electric Bikes has certain regulation and those bikes who fall in these restrictions are called Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles.
These regulations are made by Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations stated in 2015 and all those E-Bikes which confirms these regulations cab be driven in all those areas where you can generally ride a Normal Bicycle and doesn’t requires a driving license, insurance or a helmet. EACPs also doesn’t have to be registered and are free from road taxes.
The E-Bikes are required to have a manufacturers plate with some basic information about the bike. An E-Bike must show the power output and the manufacturer of the motor. It should also show the battery’s voltage and the maximum speed of the bike. They must also be fitted with pedals to move the bike forward this avoids the motor vehicle legislation.
As per the EN 15194 Regulation, the electric motor fitted in the e-bike must have a maximum continuous power output of 250 watts and not more than that without being overheated. The Bike Should also be able to able to go above the speed of 25 KMH or 15.5 miles per hour in the UK (You can obviously travel faster than this using your leg power by pedaling). These bicycles can also have more than 2 wheels such as a tricycle and they don’t have any weight restrictions.
There are two types of Electric Bikes. One has a throttle capable of moving itself without pedaling the bike and they are called “Twist and Go EAPCs” and since January 2016 the manufacturers has to get type approval for these particular models.
They also do not qualify to be an EAPC. The other type is called “Walk Assist” where you have to pedal the bike or walk along with it and it will give limited assistance or 4 to 6 KMH to help ride the bike. The walk assist type of bike is not affected by the new law.
All the E-Bikes should have passed the testing and receive a certificate of compliance is mandatory. The certificate is issued by the testing house and has to be done by the manufacturer. EN15194 is the official safety standard for the E-Bike which makes it safe for riding. The EN 14764 standard is for the Bicycle parts whereas the EN 15194 standard takes cares of all the electrical parts fitted in the bike such as the motor and the battery.
All the other bikes which don’t meet the above criteria and comes with a much more powerful motor than 250 W which can give a speed of more than 15.5 miles per hour doesn’t falls in the EAPCs rules and regulations and are considered as a motorcycle or a moped and requires a registration as well as a driving license in order to ride it. They also need to show the tax disc and requires mandatory registration and insurance.
Who and Where can you Ride the Electric Bike?
After checking all the rules and regulations regarding E-Bikes let’s see who and where can you actually ride the E-Bike. You can take the e-bike anywhere that you are able to ride a regular bike and you need the same safety equipment you need on a normal bike too.
In countries like England, Scotland, and Wales one must be at least 14 years or older to legally ride an E-Bike on a public road. You can still ride the e-bike in a park or garden even if you are younger than 14 years. You do not need to get the bike registered or insured and you also don’t need to have any kind of license to ride the E-Bike.
Whereas in countries like Northern Ireland the rules are slightly different. Here the E-Bike need to be registered, insured, and taxed. You will need to acquire a moped license in order to ride the E-Bike.
When your Electric Bike complies as an EAPC then according to the regulations it is classified just like a regular bike.
In all the areas where a regular bike is permitted such as parks, and bike lanes you can freely ride your e-bike. The other bikes which don’t comply with the EAPC regulations and falls out of the category such as high-powered bikes are not permitted to ride where a normal bike has special access to. These can only be driven on-road or on a cycle path.
What Happens When My Electric Bike Breaks the Rule?
When your electric bike doesn’t meet the rules and regulations and falls out of the EAPC category because it has a very powerful motor than a 250W one or it can go above the speed of 15.5 Miles per hour then your bike needed to be registered, insured, and taxed. You will need to wear a motorcycle safety helmet and gear as well as get a driving license.
A different kind of Bike which is known as Speed Pedicels is permitted to ridden on the normal cycle paths and required to be approved by Motorcycle authority (DVLA).
These bikes exceed the maximum speed and goes up to 30 Miles per hour. They are classified as L1e category and requires a number plate; risk insurance and the rider must wear a helmet. Though you can easily get an e-bike de-restricted we highly don’t recommend to do so for your own safety reasons.
So, these were the electric bike or e-bike laws in the UK and if you are going to get an e-bike which breaks the UK regulations for an EAPC bike then keep in mind that you will have to go through the paperwork of getting the license, registration and the insurance.
Your bike may also be permitted to be ridden on a private land depending upon some local rules and regulations. Don’t always go after speed. While selecting the bike speed should not be a selling factor when there is already a speed regulation on it. Make sure to check if the e-bike confirms all the imposed regulations.
Here is the quick summary of the article regarding the main limitations on what constitutes an e-bike or EAPC are:
• No more than 250W Continuous Motor power Output.
• Does not propel more than 15.5 Miles per hour.
• Must be Over 14 years of age.
• Pedals must be in use for assistance to be provided to the e-bike.
Now you know all the laws and knowing that you are within all the legal rules and regulations, you can ride the e-bike without any tension of breaking the law. Do share this article with your friends and family who are going to get an e-bike or already have one and let them know about the rules and regulation too. So, they can actually know if it’s legal to ride an e-bike for them.