WHICH ELECTRIC BIKES ARE LEGAL IN THE UK
Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, have become increasingly popular in recent years. With their ability to assist riders in pedaling and reach higher speeds, they offer a convenient and eco-friendly mode of transportation. However, not all e-bikes are legal in the UK. In this article, we will explore which electric bikes are illegal in the UK and why.
What is an Electric Bike?
Before we dive into the legality of electric bikes, let's first define what an electric bike is. An electric bike is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor that can assist with pedaling. The motor is powered by a rechargeable battery and can provide assistance up to a certain speed, usually 15.5 mph in the UK. This assistance can make it easier for riders to pedal and reach higher speeds without exerting as much effort.
Road Legal Electric Bikes in the UK
In the UK, electric bikes are classified as either pedal-assist or throttle-assist. Pedal-assist e-bikes require the rider to pedal in order for the motor to provide assistance. Throttle-assist e-bikes, on the other hand, have a throttle that can be used to activate the motor without pedaling.
Pedal-assist e-bikes are legal in the UK as long as they meet certain requirements. These requirements include:
- The motor must have a maximum power output of 250 watts
- The motor must only provide assistance up to 15.5 mph
- The bike must have pedals that can be used to propel it
- The bike must have a maximum weight of 40 kg
Throttle-assist e-bikes, on the other hand, are not legal in the UK. This is because they do not require the rider to pedal and can reach higher speeds without any effort from the rider. Throttle-assist e-bikes are classified as mopeds and require registration, insurance, and a license to ride on public roads.
Illegal Electric Bikes in the UK
Now that we know which electric bikes are legal in the UK, let's take a look at which ones are illegal. In addition to throttle-assist e-bikes, there are other types of electric bikes that are not legal in the UK.
Speed pedelecs, also known as S-pedelecs, are similar to pedal-assist e-bikes but can reach higher speeds. These bikes have a maximum power output of 500 watts and can provide assistance up to 28 mph. While they are legal in some European countries, they are not legal in the UK. Speed pedelecs can be used on private land, but not on UK roads/public spaces.
DIY Electric Bikes
DIY electric bikes, also known as home-built e-bikes, are not legal in the UK. These bikes are created by adding a motor and battery to a traditional bicycle, often without following safety regulations. As a result, they can be dangerous to ride and are not allowed on public roads.
Why are some Electric Bikes Illegal in the UK?
The main reason why some electric bikes are illegal in the UK is due to safety concerns. Throttle-assist e-bikes, speed pedelecs, and electric mountain bikes can reach higher speeds without much effort from the rider. This can be dangerous for both the rider and other road users.
Additionally, these types of e-bikes are not subject to the same regulations as traditional bicycles. This means they do not have to meet the same safety standards and can potentially be more dangerous to ride.