In recent years, eMobility has become increasingly popular, and the use of eBikes, eScooters and electric motorcycles is now commonplace across the UK. These electric-powered vehicles are becoming a frequent sight on the streets and trails across the UK, but what are current rules and laws for their use?
What is the law for eBikes?
When it comes to eMobility, electric bikes are the most common type used in the UK, with over 100,000 sold a year. The use of eBikes is allowed in the UK, but they must not provide any electrical assistance over 15.5mph, generate more than 250 watts of power, or can supply assistance without the pedals being in motion. If they offer any of these, then they are classified as a moped or motorcycle, and users will need to follow the laws applicable to those.
If the eBike does not exceed those limitations, then it can be used just like a normal bicycle and it does not need to be registered or insured like a motor vehicle. However, the law does state that uses must be over the age of 14 in order to ride an eBike on public roads.
What is the law for eScooters?
While the rules for eBikes are straightforward, the use of electric scooters is still rapidly changing. While the use of them is not illegal in the UK, there is a wide range of restrictions currently in place that states they cannot be used on public roads, pavements or cycle lanes.
However, this legislation is changing and in July 2020, the government announced fast-tracked plans to begin trials on their use in certain cities and regions across the country. Currently, eScooters are covered by the same legislation as a motor vehicle but are unable to meet the legal requirements such as insurance, registration and tax that would allow them to be ridden on the road.
The increasing demand for cleaner transport solutions and the rising popularity of micro-mobility means that these legislations are likely to change as pressure builds on the government.
What is the law for electric motorcycles?
Electric mopeds and motorcycles are one of the fastest-growing forms of transport, with dozens of brands now offering small capacity, battery-powered machines for commuters. The rules for electric motorcycles are the same as their petrol-powered counterparts, which means riders will need to have passed a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) course before being able to ride on public roads with the use of L plates. The only exception to this rule is for those car drivers who passed their test before February 1st 2001.
For electric mopeds with a speed of up to 45km/h, riders can be ridden from the age of 16 years old, while as power increases, so does the minimum age requirements. Full information on the rules and the power restrictions can be found on the government website. As with all motor vehicles, these electric motorcycles do require insurance, registration and an annual MOT.
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