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CONEBI & ECF: ‘Compulsory Insurance for E-Bikes Is Not Unalterable Fact’

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BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Cyclist Federation (ECF) and the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) state in a joint response to last Thursday’s Bike Europe article on the EU Motor Insurance Directive (MID) that a compulsory insurance for e-bikes Is not an unalterable fact. Both organizations say that what Bike Europe presented are “Interpretations of a ruling by the European Court of Justice which are currently unenforceable.”

CONEBI & ECF: ‘Compulsory Insurance for E-Bikes Is Not Unalterable Fact’
ECF and CONEBI are in discussion and working with EU Parliament and Council in order to get sensible treatment of e-bike in relation to this legislation. – Photo Gazelle

ECF and CONEBI, as representatives of the European bicycle users and industry, contacted this trade journal for making a common statement concerning the article published by Bike Europe on the position of e-bikes in the Motor Insurance Directive (MID).

This ECF and CONEBI statement is here in full:

“The article is quite correct in reporting the position of one government and the EU position on the MID. However, we are disappointed that Bike Europe did not consult with the organizations that are leading the campaign across Europe to stop or mitigate the effects of the MID, because the positions stated are not unalterable facts, they are interpretations of a ruling by the European Court of Justice which are currently unenforceable.”

‘No such insurance policies exist’

“The current interpretation by the EU Commission suggest that overnight all mobility scooters, e-bikes, scooters, segways, in fact any device with a motor and the ability to move is required to have motor insurance to a recognized international standard, or a national level government decision to provide alternative insurance by a national scheme (an exemption known as Article 5).”

‘Reality on the ground’

“The fact that no such insurance policies exist in most EU countries, that governments have not issued instruction to authorities to enforce this interpretation and few governments that we know of are acting to trigger Article 5 is the reality on the ground. This suggests that most countries are waiting for the EU processes involving the EU Parliament and the EU Council (member states) before taking a definitive position.”

‘Getting sensible treatment’

“And that is the job we are doing now. ECF and CONEBI are currently in discussion and working with Parliament and Council in order to get a sensible treatment of Electric Powered Assisted Cycles (EPACs) in relation to the legislation. We are confident that sense will prevail and we will keep everyone informed as much as possible over the next few weeks and months of the process.”

‘Element of local decision-making’

“Within this discussion we recognize that some governments find it attractive to keep an element of local decision-making in these field. However, we are clear that this is a failure to recognize the development of the electrically assisted bicycle market as an international issue. Without an EU-wide recognition of the ‘bicycle’ nature of these bicycles we will end up with a patchwork of national legislations, confusion for national and local public authorities and confusion for users of the bicycles. Cycle tourism alone is worth over 400,000 jobs in the EU and EPACs are the fastest growing segment, a truly international market. Last but not least, the EU authorities could decide to include EPACs in the revision of the EU Type Approval framework.”

‘Creating fragmentation at EU level’

“This needs a European wide solution which creates a stable environment within the single market for the growth of these ground-breaking bicycles. The European Commission’s proposal, as it is now, would create fragmentation at EU level which goes against the rationale of a well-functioning single market aimed at promoting harmonization and trade. For example the Dutch government’s position deals with domestic use, but not with the interests of the world leading cycling companies from the Netherlands, and the long-term position of the country as a home for global leaders in cycling, many of which have made the Netherlands their base.”

‘Europe should not push the problem down the line’

“Therefore, we believe that we (Europe) should not push the problem down the line to member states to derogate when this can be accomplished at EU level to smooth the single market and stop a possible future decade or so of uncertainty and confusion while each member state, industry and consumer organization lobbies for a triggering of Article 5. If we also recognise that the national decisions will be confused by the lobbies for every other vehicle class that are affected the changes could take years.”

‘Recognise EPACs as bicycles’

“Let’s be clear, an EPAC is not a motorised vehicle. It is a bicycle that has a light motor assist; no pedal, no power. Good work was achieved in a collaboration between the European institutions, ECF and CONEBI to recognise EPACs as bicycles with in the recently revised Type Approval legislation a few years ago. We need to make sure that this sensible logic, and outcome, is maintained throughout all EU legislation, so that bicycles and sub 250 watt power EPACs are not treated as motor vehicles.”

Manuel Marsilio General Manager, CONEBI
Kevin Mayne, Development Director, ECF

 

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