News Article

Hundreds of People Present Feedback on Statutory Insurance for E-Bikes

Laws & Regulations

BRUSSELS, Belgium – It came to light last May when the European Commission decided that regular 25km/h – 250W electric bicycles need to have a third-party liability insurance. This decision still has to be assessed by the European Parliament and Council. The European Commission also asked stakeholders and the general public to present their feedback on this decision related to the ‘Review of the Motor Insurance Directive’. Hundreds of people including stakeholders posted their feedback.

Hundreds of People Present Feedback on Statutory Insurance for E-Bikes
Today is the last chance to post your feedback on the European Commission’s decision that regular 25km/h – 250W electric bicycles need to have a third-party liability insurance. – Photo EU

The European Commission’s decision on compulsory e-bike insurance is sidelining all previous regulations concerning ordinary electric bikes. These characterize this category as ordinary bicycles for which no legally required insurance applies. It goes without saying that when such a third-party liability insurance becomes compulsory, it will cause a serious blow to sales. Stakeholders like the European Cyclist Federation (ECF) and the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) have already expressed their objections to the proposed changes to the Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive (MID) including the compulsory e-bike insurance. Also 423 European citizens as well as dealers, companies, manufacturers and associations expressed their objections against the intended decision.

Feedback posted by ECF and CONEBI

Also ECF and CONEBI have posted their feedback as an open letter in which they say “We are very much against the inclusion of Electrically Power Assisted Cycles (EPACs) within the revision of the Motor Insurance Directive because of the following reasons: EPACs are not motor vehicles: it is a matter of regulatory consistency. An EPAC is an Electrically Power Assisted Cycle that provides electrical assistance to the cyclist up to 25km/h only while pedalling. EPACs have maximum 250W and are excluded from the EU Type-Approval because from a regulatory point of view they are not considered motor vehicles.

“Power assistance is designed ONLY to complement rather than replace the main propulsion, which is by human muscle energy through manual pedaling: if an EPAC user does not pedal, he/she does not receive any assistance. Power is limited to 250W, which is a level perfectly achievable by riders without assistance.”

‘Over-regulatory barrier’

“A mandatory third-party liability insurance for EPACs users is an over-regulatory barrier that would have a severe impact on the environmental and health benefits deriving from cycling an EPAC: the health benefits of cycling are over 191 billion euro per year and EPACs are zero emission vehicles that tackle the growing problem of traffic congestions in cities. If motor vehicle insurance were to be made compulsory for EPACs, EPAC users would be discouraged from cycling, and the mentioned benefits be lost. The European Commission has left out the opinions of the Transport and the Public Health sectors in trying to understand the costs and benefits within a thorough impact assessment.”

‘Key part of the cycle industry’s future’

“EPACs are a key part of the cycle industry’s future employment growth potential. Current EPAC sales show that in the European Union, millions of EPACs are sold every year and sales are increasing constantly. The inclusion of EPACs in the scope of the MID would directly impact an industry that invests 1 billion euro per year in research, innovation and development and which provides 90,000 direct/indirect Green jobs across the EU.

“A functioning Single Market stimulates trade and improves efficiency. The European Commission’s proposal would have the opposite effect as it indirectly foresees the possibility for each European country to exclude EPACs from the scope of the revised Motor Insurance Directive just in its own territory: that would undoubtedly create fragmentation at European level with a negative impact on exports within the European market. Divergent implementation by EU Member States of the Motor Insurance Directive with regard its scope of application would not represent a positive outcome.

“The complexity of extending the current motor insurance regime to many millions of additional vehicles will result in significant non-compliance, leading to an increase in uninsured driving. EPACs are not dangerous so no mandatory third-party liability insurance burden should be put on EPAC users. Statistics show that EPAC users are, at all effects, vulnerable road users and not the cause of serious third-party injuries.

‘Exclude Electrically Power Assisted Cycles’

“In conclusion we call on the European Parliament and Member States to amend the text. We would like to see a definition of a motor vehicle within the legislation that excludes Electrically Power Assisted Cycles. More specifically we would like to see “motor vehicle” defined with the word “solely” included in the text, therefore a motor vehicle should be a vehicle that is “…solely propelled by mechanical power”.

More on the proposed mandatory e-bike insurance is here:

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