Electric bikes provide hours of fun for all ages. Further, they are easy to ride, and can be ordered in a wide range of models, each with their own set of features. But what’s tricky is the UK laws pertaining to electric bikes, and whether they’re legal or not to ride in the UK. So, here’s the lowdown on electric bikes, and the UK laws if any imposed on them.
First things first, electric bikes are also referred to as electrically assisted pedal cycles or EAPCs in short. You can ride an electric bike if you are above the age of 14, as long as you meet certain requirements. There is no license needed to ride an electric bike, and there is no need for tax, registration or insurance.
But what exactly is considered an electric bike or EAPC? To be deemed an electric bike, it must have pedals used to propel the bike. Adding to this, it must clearly indicate the manufacturer of the motor or power output. Furthermore, the electric bike must also show the maximum speed of the bike or the voltage of the battery.
Electric bikes are powered by electric motors, which must have a power output of at least 250-watts. They should not be able to propel when the electric bike when it is travelling more than 15.5 miles per hour. What’s interesting is that an electric bike can have three wheels aka an electric tricycle.
Where Can You Ride an Electric Bike?
Electric bikes are classified as normal pedal bikes if they meet the EAPC requirements. This means that you can ride your electric bike where any other traditional bikes are allowed such as on cycle paths.
An electric bike that does not meet the aforementioned requirements is classified as a moped or motorcycle, hence has to be registered and taxed. You will have to also wear a helmet, and apply for a driver’s license if you’re going to buy a moped or motorcycle.
You will to seek approval from two types of electric bikes — does not meet the EAPC rules, and if it can be propelled without pedaling. This is generally done by the electric bike manufacturer before you buy it, and will indicate is type via a plate emblazoned with a type approval number if it is approved.
The UK legislation EU law EN15194 came into effect in April, 2105, but could very well change as BREXIT comes into effect. However, for now things are quite clear with regard to what’s accepted and what’s not.
Your electric bike is considered as a EAPC bike i.e. if it has pedals to propel it, and if the motor won’t assist you when riding more than 25 km/h (15.5mph), and the power doesn’t exceed 250 watts.
The electric cycles that meet these requirements (which affect two-wheeled bikes but also tandems and tricycles) can be ridden on any cycle paths and anywhere else that traditional bikes are normally allowed.