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Germany: E-Bikes with Start Drive-Support are Bicycles

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Also start supported electric bikes, which can reach up to 6 km/h on engine power alone, are considered bicycles. As is indicated by the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) which contradicts ADAC reports. The ADAC Automobile Association has…

Germany: E-Bikes with Start Drive-Support are Bicycles

BERLIN, Germany – Also start supported electric bikes, which can reach up to 6 km/h on engine power alone, are considered bicycles. As is indicated by the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) which contradicts ADAC reports. The ADAC Automobile Association has with regard to a pedelec test, ventilated the opinion that electric start drive-support turn electric bikes into motor vehicles. This would mean not only restrictions on the use of bike paths but also – not mentioned by ADAC – a possible ban on the use of child trailers or driving on roads that are closed to motor vehicles.

The ADFC Bicycle Association, however, refers to the European Directive 2002/14/EC. This specifies which vehicles require a license as a motor vehicle and excludes bikes, equipped with an electric support motor up to 250 Watt, from the approval procedures for motor vehicles. The engine support needs to stop upon reaching a speed of 25 km/h, or as soon as the cyclist stops pedaling. So far, lawyers of both associations agree.

But Roland Huhn, legal adviser of the ADFC, points to another line of conduct: “The EU Directive exempts not only the as such defined pedelecs from the requirement for approval, but also all vehicles with a, by design maximized speed of no more than 6 km/h. Therefore, in contrary to the faster designs, they are referred to as vehicles, instead of motor vehicles. As recent as February 2011 the German legislature has accepted this distinction.“

In 2009, the ADAC legal office deduced from the start drive support that only drivers, born before April 1st, 1965 should at least have a ‘driving certificate‘ for mopeds while further restrictions that apply to motor vehicles were dismissed. As early as in 2005 the German Federal Ministry of Transport has made clear that pedal-assisted bicycles are considered as bicycles in Germany.

The Transport Ministery has both vehicles, whose maximum start srive support speed doesn’t exceed 6 km/h, as well as pedal-assisted bicycles which meet the stated performance characteristics, removed from its scope for two-or three-wheeled motor vehicles. Therefore, they are referred to as vehicles.

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