Want to secure your own e-bike and start experiencing eco-friendly travel for yourself? Go right ahead – but you’ll need to keep in mind that UK law can get a little tricky around these vehicles.
E-bike law revolves around speed – if you’re driving an e-bike that exceeds 15.5 miles per hour, you’re technically driving a moped, which is where different laws apply. That means you may face restrictions as to when and where you can ride your bike, for example.
Before buying your own and taking to the road, here are a few legal bits and pieces you’ll need to keep in mind.
When are e-bikes not e-bikes?
The first thing you need to know for sure when it comes to the law is whether or not your e-bike can actually get classification as an e-bike. Strange, but true!
For example, if your bike has electrical assistance that can travel over 15.5 mph, then it will be considered a moped or motorcycle. The same goes for motors that can generate more than 250 watts of power.
Finally, if the motor can be used without the bike, you’re likely going to find your e-bike is technically a motorcycle or moped. That means you’ll need to follow UK laws for these vehicles instead.
Do I need a licence to ride an E-bike?
As long as your e-bike is considered an e-bike under law, then you do not need a licence to ride it.
However, this also means that you can only drive it in areas where everyday bikes are permitted. These include bike paths, certain roads, etc.
This also means that you are not obliged to register the bike, hold insurance, or even wear a helmet as you ride (although the latter is definitely advisable!).
How old do I have to be to ride an e-bike?
Although e-bikes are largely normal bicycles under law for the most part, you must be at least 14 years old to ride on UK roads. This is because while they may have minimal power, they are powerful enough to outpace traditional bikes.
Again, if your e-bike is fast enough and has a self-propelling motor, then you’re going to need to obtain a licence for a moped or motorbike. The best thing to do is consult the DVLA for more information in this instance.
Can I ride an e-bike on the motorway?
Generally speaking, no, an e-bike cannot ride on the motorway. However, if you need to, you must register the bike with the DVLA. And, just as you would with a moped or a motorbike, you will need a driving licence and insurance to use the bike on these roads.
As you’re taking your e-bike on a much busier road than you’d usually be permitted, you will be required by law to always wear a helmet when riding it on the motorway.
It is definitely ill-advised to use such a vehicle on the motorway in any case. You would be placing yourself and others in serious danger, even if it is permitted by the law.