Halfords Suspend E-bike Sales in Northern Ireland Due to Legal Situation
BELFAST, Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure has recently stated that anyone owning an e-bike must have a motorcycle licence and be insured, taxed and registered with the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) as well as wearing a motorcycle helmet.
The situation appears to have come about as legislation to enact the relevant European regulations began in 2016 but cannot be completed as the Northern Ireland assembly is currently not sitting due to political disputes.
Northern Ireland only
The legal tangle only applies in Northern Ireland due to the its own devolved legislature (Stormont) not always being subject to the same rules enacted by the national government in London (Westminster). In the rest of the UK outside Northern Ireland e-bikes remain free of any such legal requirements.
The issue appears to have surfaced following the investigations of the UK’s Bicycle Association who uncovered the fact that the UK’s original Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EAPC) regulations that exempt e-bikes from being treated as motorbikes do not apply in Northern Ireland and subsequent European regulations, whilst intended to be introduced by Stormont, never in fact were. Stormont say regulations are being drawn up but cannot be enacted until political parties agree to pass laws once more.
Halfords suspended e-bikes sales
In the wake of the legal confusion Halfords have suspended sales of e-bikes within Northern Ireland, commenting “Although it’s not illegal to sell e-bikes, we believe the current status is confusing for our customers and therefore we have temporarily suspended the sale of e-bikes in Northern Ireland until this matter has been fully resolved. We are also happy to offer existing customers who have bought an e-bike from Halfords in Northern Ireland a refund.” It’s clear it has also created a quandary for many smaller e-bike dealers in Northern Ireland.