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Finally There’s Clarity on Compulsory Insurance for E-Bikes

Laws & Regulations

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Last May the European Commission’s decision that regular 25km/h – 250W electric bicycles need to have a third party liability insurance, perplexed many. This is why it led to a flood of responses at consultations with stakeholders and the general public. After these consultations it remained silent on this controversial issue. Until now, as there’s finally clarity that comes from a state secretary for the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure as well as from the EU itself.

Finally There’s Clarity on Compulsory Insurance for E-Bikes
Situation is now that each of the EU’s 28 member states are to decide whether it wants to burden the use of e-bikes with compulsory liability insurance.

The European Commission’s actions on e-bike insurance is related to a review of the EU’s Motor Insurance Directive. Immediately after the Commission had published its intentions stakeholders like the European Cyclist Federation (ECF) and the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) expressed their objections to the proposed changes to the Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive (MID) including the compulsory e-bike insurance. Also over 500 European citizens as well as dealers, companies, manufacturers and associations expressed their objections against the intended decision. 

Completely different views

The objections and responses boiled down to the fact that the Commission’s decision is sidelining all previous regulations concerning ordinary electric bikes. These characterize this category as ordinary bicycles for which no legally required insurance applies. However, what the Dutch secretary of state as well as the EU itself now bring forward in this matter, is completely different.

Member states decide

A brief but very clear answer on a question regarding this matter gave the Dutch Infrastructure state secretary, Stientje van Veldhoven, in an interview with Bike Europe’s sister trade publication for the Benelux ‘Tweewieler’. On the question “The EU Commission has made a proposal to adjust the Motor Insurance Directive. As a result, a third-party liability insurance for e-bikes would become compulsory. What do you think about this?
Stientje van Veldhoven answered “The proposal of the EU Commission does not result in a required insurance for e-bikes. As a member state, we decide on this ourselves. With this proposal nothing will change for the electric bicycles in the Netherlands.”

‘No need for legislative changes’

Further research at the European Union’s publications brings to light even more clarity. This is what emerges here on the question “How will the (Motor Insurance Directive deal with electric bikes and other new types of electric motor vehicles?”

The answer says “The evaluation demonstrated that new types of motor vehicles, such as electric bikes (e-bikes), segways, electric scooters already fall within the scope of the Directive as interpreted by the Court of Justice. Furthermore, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, Member States have the power to exempt new types of electric motor vehicles from compulsory third party motor insurance on the condition that a national compensation fund will ensure compensation of victims in case of an accident. So there is no need to bring any legislative changes in this respect.
All in all, the situation is now that each of the EU’s 28 member states are to decide whether it wants to burden the use of e-bikes with a compulsory liability insurance which of course will cause a serious blow to sales.

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