BRUSSELS, Belgium – End of March 2011 Wim van de Camp ‘Rapporteur’ of the EU Committee on the Internal Market & Consumer Protection (IMCO) which is handling the review of type-approval Directive 2002/24/EC for motorized two-wheelers, has been test riding and examining e-bikes and speed pedelecs just prior to the hearing in the European Parliament on the type approval review.
Later that day, at the IMCO hearing on the type-approval review, he stated that light electric vehicles should get special consideration in Parliament’s legislative work. He added that he and his colleagues were not completely sure yet about what to do and how to do it. However, he thought there was a clear need to create some space for innovation.
Prior to IMCO hearing the European Two-Wheelers Retailers’ Association (ETRA) presented European Parliament members (MEP’s) the opportunity to test ride some e-bikes and light electric vehicles. They could try out several 250 W pedelecs and one 300 W speed pedelec bike, which requires type-approval, a helmet, a driving licence and insurance. Rapporteur Wim van de Camp was present and took a long time examining and testing the vehicles.
Before the IMCO hearing the European bicycle industry organization’s COLIBI/COLIPED made their positions clear regarding the review of type-approval legislation for two-wheelers and e-bikes in particular. Both industry organizations are in favour of maintaining the current specifications as described in the Directive 2002/24/EC. “The most important reason for our opinion is road safety”, stated COLIBI/COLIPED in an open letter to Van der Camp.
“It should be clear that both many bicycle lanes and bicycles themselves are not designed for safe use over 25 km/hour. Also, the bigger the difference between riders with lower and higher speed, the more dangerous it becomes to share the same space (cycle paths) on public roads. COLIBI and COLIPED fully agree that more powerful (> 250 W) and faster (> 25 km/h) electric two-wheelers fall within the scope of the European Directive 2002/24/EC and therefore need type-approval. This situation is very clear to and respected by the European bicycle industry.”
COLIBI/COLIPED also state that the fact that low performance EPACs (< 250W & < 25 km/h) are exempted from the European type-approval, doesn’t mean that they are completely regulation free. Indeed, these vehicles have to comply with both the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive 2004/08/EC and with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. Moreover, and at the request of our European bicycle industry, CEN TC 333 ‘Cycles’ developed a specific standard for EPACs that are exempted from Directive 2002/24/EC, i.e. EN 15194 ‘EPAC’.
Also the European Cyclists Federation (ECF) expressed their concerns regarding the revision of the EU Directive 2002/24/EC as they are concerned about the safety aspects. “Increasing the power of the auxiliary electric motor or even deleting the technical specifications as laid down in the Directive 2002/24/EC and proposed Regulation, could mean that the European market would be flooded with unsafe electric two-wheelers and a growing pressure on authorities to allow them on cycling infrastructure.”
“There is clear evidence that the shared use of cycling infrastructure by ever more powerful electric vehicles and “normal” bicycles (i.e. without electric support) will worsen the comfort and safety of the latter, especially children and elderly people. We kindly ask you and IMCO to consider our position when you discuss the revision of the directive.”