UK Electric Bike Law
So long as an electric bike confirms to certain criteria, it can be ridden wherever an ordinary cycle can be ridden without registration, insurance, road tax or compulsory head protection - and you don’t need a driving licence to ride one either. You do need to be over the age of 14 however.
The criteria for using an e-bike in this way are laid down by the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles regulations - with electric bikes conforming to these restrictions known as EAPCs.
An EAPC’s motor should have a rated (maximum continuous) power of 250w and its assistance should cut out as 15.5mph. (It is of course possible to travel faster than this using leg power alone.)
Electric bikes, or pedelecs as they are also known, should be fitted with pedals that propel the bike forward.
If the bike has a throttle capable of independently propelling the bike without pedalling, these are classified as ‘twist and go’ EAPCs and manufacturers will require type approval for these models. This is separate to ‘walk assist’ throttles which provide a limited 4mph assistance to help with pushing cycle along while walking beside it.
E-bikes with more powerful motors and where the assistance does not cut out at 15.5mph fall outside of the EAPC rules and so will require registration for road use, the appropriate licence, insurance, tax and crash helmet. (15.5mph has been set as a speed that a reasonably fit cyclist would achieve on an ordinary bicycle, hence the alignment with push bike use.)
At the time of writing the above does not apply in Northern Ireland, where a moped licence is required to ride any electric bike.
We have published a comprehensive eBike law page on our Pedelecs website.
To read the article in full, please follow this link: UK Electric Bike Law