News Article

Bike Europe’s New Whitepaper Sparks Discussion on E-MTB Type-Approval Exclusion

Laws & Regulations

LONDON, UK – On May 11 this trade journal launched its new Whitepaper: “Rules and regulations on electric cycles in the EU.” One of the striking facts deriving from the new Whitepaper is that e-MTBs are excluded from type approval. This conclusion is debated by the Bicycle Association of Great Britain (BAGB) as well as the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA). Further analysis of the type-approval regulations leads to the conclusion that the BAGB-MCIA statement is incorrect.

Bike Europe’s New Whitepaper Sparks Discussion on E-MTB Type-Approval Exclusion

Below Bike Europe presents the full statement made by the BAGB and the MCIA. This is followed by the further analysis of the type-approval regulations by this trade journal in the next report.

BAGB and MCIA statement on E-MTB Type-Approval

“The Bicycle Association of Great Britain (BA) and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) are concerned that consumers and suppliers may be confused by a recent “Whitepaper” summary of European regulations, and associated article recently published by the cycle trade publication Bike Europe. This notes that electric bikes intended for off-road use can avoid the requirement to be type approved before sale, even if they fall outside the strict limits on continuous rated power (250 W) and motor cutout speed (25 km/h) for an electric bike in the UK to be treated in law as a bicycle, not a motorbike. This is not the full story for UK consumers and suppliers. There are in fact additional strict regulations which mean that to enjoy the same off-road access and status as a normal bicycle, an electric-assist mountain bike absolutely must be within the 250 W power and 25 km/h cut-off limits.

“As well as the EU type approval regulations which Bike Europe has summarised (which apply to the sale of new bikes), there are also strict national regulations which control the legal use of motor vehicles. In the UK, only electric bikes with power assist rating of 250 W or less, cutting out at or below 25 km/h, are treated in national law as “not motor vehicles”. For any electric bike which does not meet these limits, UK motor vehicle regulations apply. These include requirements for registration (for which type approval is required), tax, insurance, driving licence and the need to wear a motorcycle helmet. These apply to any vehicle intended to be used “on the public highway”, which includes tracks, bridleways, paths and common land, both on or off road.

“It is only vehicles which are only ever intended to be used away from the public highway (i.e. exclusively on private land not open to the public, with the landowner’s permission) which are not subject to type approval before they can legally be used in the UK, if they exceed the 250 W and 25 km/h limits. Such vehicles must still comply with CE marking requirements, which includes compliance with the Machinery Directive. But these vehicles cannot legally be used at all on the public highway (roads, tracks, on common land or cycle paths, be they on of off road).

In summary:

Nothing has changed. To be used legally in the UK wherever bicycles may be used, electric mountain bikes must absolutely stick to the well-established 250 W power and 25 km/h cut-off speed limits.

Any electric mountain bike with power over 250 W and/or cut-off speed above 25 km/h is a motorbike in UK law, requiring registration and type approval for legal use on the public highway (only where it is legal to drive motorbikes, of course). The “public highway” covers both on-road and off-road riding, wherever the public have access.”

Read Bike Europe’s reponse to BAGB – MCIA Statement on E-MTBs.

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