Electric bikes have soared in popularity over recent years, and the demand for them remains persistent. We have seen more of them pop up on UK roads and for many people, they remain a go-to option as a mode of transport when it comes to commuting to the office.
However, from a legal standpoint, there are a few electric bike laws that need to be taken into consideration. In this guide we will get to grips with all areas of the electric bike laws so you can check if you’re bike is road legal. Or, if you are doing some research into the laws before purchasing an electric bike, you will know what to look for to avoid getting into legal trouble.
E-bike UK laws
So, are e-bikes legal? In short, yes. However, there are a few things that you will have to bear in mind. You must follow the rules outlined by the UK Government. Electric bikes are known as ‘electronically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs), and therefore must meet some strict criteria in order to be ridden legally. If the e-bike meets the requirements, you don’t need a license, registration, tax, or insurance.
E-bikes aren’t subject to Vehicle Exercise Duty (VED). Even if it did become compulsory to pass on VEDs to e-bikes, you wouldn’t be charged the same as you would for driving a car, as the amount is based on fuel type and C02 emissions, so this won’t apply to electric bikes.
To ride an electric bike, you must be at least 14 years old. The EAPC must have pedals that can be used to propel it, and they must show the manufacturer of the motor or the power output, as well as either the battery’s voltage or the maximum speed of the bike. The electric motor must have a maximum power output of 250 watts and shouldn’t be able to propel the bike when travelling at speeds of more than 15.5 mph.
Bikes that meet the requirements can be ridden on any cycle paths and anywhere else standard two-wheeled cycles are normally allowed. However, if the bike doesn’t meet the rules, it is therefore classed as a motorcycle or moped and needs to be taxed and registered, and you will also need a licence and a helmet to ride one legally.
Although, if the bike can be propelled without pedalling or doesn’t meet the rules, it must be type approved by the manufacturer or importer before you bought it. If approved, it will have a plate showing its type approval number. There are plenty of road legal e-bikes available, and they will comply with the necessary regulations.
If your e-bike satisfies the electric bike UK law, then there are a few other things you will have to factor into your thinking. If you are riding at night, then you must have working front (white) and read (red) lights and reflectors fitted to your bike.
Will the electric bike UK law change?
Should we expect the electric bike UK law to change? The law doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon. There have been ongoing campaigns to increase the legal road speed of e-bikes from 15.5mph to 17.5mph, but this isn’t expected to happen in the near future.
Although there aren’t any immediate changes on the horizon, the appetite for purchasing e-bikes remains undimmed, and it seems likely that this will continue in the months and years to come.