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EU Vote Limits Pedelecs to 250 Watt

Laws & Regulations

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Yesterday afternoon the European Parliament voted on the new type approval legislation on two- and three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles. The Parliament decided to keep the original European Commission proposal: only pedelecs with a maximum speed of 25 km/h and 250 watts power will remain exempt from motorbike regulation.

EU Vote Limits Pedelecs to 250 Watt
The new legislation means that all e-bikes with more than 250 watts have to be regarded as motorcycles.

Under current EU legislation, e-bikes, known officially as electronically power assisted cycles (EPACs) or pedelecs, are limited to 250 watts. They must propel the rider at no more than 25kph. The new legislation means that all e-bikes with more than 250 watts, which are very popular in mountainous regions like South Germany, Switzerland and Austria have to be regarded as motorcycles including its type approval regulations as well as homologation procedures.

‘Clear border line’
“We need a clear border line between what a bicycle is and what exceeds the definition of a ‘bicycle’,” explains Ceri Woolsgrove, ECF’s Road Safety Officer who regards the results of the voting as a success of ECF’s campaign, which has safeguarded the future of cycling investments. “This is important for clear decisions on the use of infrastructure and facilities for bicycles that authorities have to make on the international, national, regional and local level.”

ETRA amendment
There had been calls to have pedelecs with unlimited power output, but with maximum speed of 25 km/h to be exempt from Type Approval procedures. The European TwoWheeler Retailers’ Association (ETRA) amended for this. The European Parliament voted against this.

Changing the definition
“The minute you start changing the definition of a bicycle, you’re opening up cycling to a whole range of nasty legislation”, said Ceri Woolsgrove. “It could mean compulsory helmets, insurance, licensing to name but a few of the negative consequences. You don’t want to damage the reputation of cycling, and lose all the wonderful benefits that cyclists’ have.”

The Parliament vote still needs be ratified by the European Council, yet after long months of debate, this is generally seen as a formality. Other countries have seen EU legislation as the best way to regulate bicycles, with Australia recently adopting EU style electric bicycle legislation.

The industry organizations COLIBI and COLIPED are pleased with the results of the vote on the revision of the European type-approval Directive 2002/24/EC. With 643 votes in favor, 16 against and 18 abstentions, the Members of the European Parliament clearly gave their support to the final proposal for a ‘legislative text’. In plenary, Parliament adopts its position by a simple majority, so the outcome was overwhelming.

“In particular, we are very pleased that the proposal maintains the current technical specifications for EPAC’s that are exempted from this type-approval Directive, i.e. a max. assistance speed of 25 km/h and a maximum continuous rated power of 250 Watt”, said COLIBI and COLIPED in their statement.

EPAC regulations
“The fact that low performance EPAC’s are exempted from the European type-approval for motorised 2- and 3-wheelers, doesn’t mean that they are completely regulation free as 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’. Because they are determined to deliver only high quality products and out of respect for the end-user, all European EPAC producers meet the criteria and requirements of EN 15194.”

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