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European Parliament Decides: No Compulsory Third Party Liability Insurance Required for E-Bikes

Laws & Regulations

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Today, the European Parliament’s IMCO committee decided that there should be no compulsory third party liability insurance required for lower powered pedelecs/e-bikes. This is regarded as an important decision because the Motor Insurance Directive obliges all motor vehicles in the EU to be covered by compulsory third party insurance. It ensures that if a vehicle is insured for third party liability in one EU Member State the cover applies across the whole of the EU.

European Parliament Decides: No Compulsory Third Party Liability Insurance Required for E-Bikes
First hurdle has now been taken in efforts to have no compulsory third party liability insurance for e-bikes. – Photo Trek

In an earlier today issued press release the European Cyclists Federation reports on the European Parliament’s decision. This decision revers the European Commission’s proposal regarding the Motor Insurance Directive (MID) which defined a 250-Watt, low speed e-bike as a motor vehicle, and included it in the Motor Insurance Directive with the intent to make third party liability insurance compulsory. This happened despite the European Commission’s own definition in its type approval regulations that not defines these electrically assisted bicycles as a motor vehicle.

This is a sensible decision by the European Parliament

Insurance was disproportionate measure

European Parliament rapporteur MEP Charanzová decided that this was a disproportionate measure for an electric bicycle and corrected this in the text. This was supported by shadow rapporteurs MEPs Pospíšil, Dalton and Durand, and opposed by shadow rapporteur MEP Cofferati.

Strong lobby

The European Cyclists’ Federation was the first to discover the intentions of European Commmission and lobbied strongly against it, with the support of the industry. The coalition of the bicycle users and the industry disagreed with the premise that these are motor vehicles; they viewed the Commission proposal as creating a barrier to the growth of the pedelec bicycle by imposing such a disproportionate mandatory insurance; they saw an increase in administrative burden for consumer, and industry and public authorities.

Legislation patchwork

Under the Commission proposal it still would allow the Member States to exempt vehicles from the Directive, ECF argued that this would create a patchwork of legislation across the EU, would complicate EU and national policy making with future reference to the legislation, or even begin the process of including pedelecs into type approval. ECF therefore supported the parliament rapporteur MEP Charanzová to reverse this, for the EU to define clearly the scope by including only type approved vehicles and allow member states to apply a mandatory transport/liability insurance at the national level if so desired.

‘Sensible decision’

ECF Advocacy Director Adam Bodor says: “This is a sensible decision by the European Parliament IMCO committee. We are happy that they agreed with ECF that there is no need to define e-bikes as motor vehicle and require compulsory third party liability insurance. We ask Member States to follow the lead of the Rapporteur Charanzová and the parliament to exclude pedelecs from this Directive.”

The European Parliament will need to vote on this in plenary for it to become the final position to take into negotiations with the European Council, there was however strong support for this in the committee and so would be expected to pass. The European Council (the Member States) still need to come to their conclusions on the issue, before institutional dialogues can begin.

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