“Misselling the law has the potential to derail the e-bicycle sector,” MCIA warns dealers

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The Motorcycle Industry Association has published an article targeted at its retailer database which will further clarify what is and isn’t legal for sale when it comes to electric bikes.

Sharing its message with Bicycle Association GB members, with which it has collaborated in the past, the association’s article states: “In the UK, pedal cycles with electrical assistance can be legally ridden by anyone over the age of 14 without any of the regulations of a motorcycle (insurance, registration, licence etc.) if they produce no more than 250 watts of power (continuously rated) which cuts out at 15.5mph. This output is measured by the manufacturer as part of the bike’s compliance with CE marking requirements and the bike is labelled accordingly.  More than 250 watts of continuously rated power and the electric bicycle ceases to be an electric bicycle and becomes, in the eyes of the law, an electric moped.

“Indeed, if the power is over 4kW it becomes an electric motorcycle.”

With many motorcycle dealers becoming involved in the electric bike world, the MCIA has been made aware of a occasions where dealers have considered that there might still be some grey area when it comes to the law.

“Not understanding the regulations is no excuse for a dealer,” continues the article. “For the dealers, not informing the customer about the true nature of what they are selling, including the law pertaining to use of the e-bikes is misselling, for which there are clear penalties.

“The impact for the customer is no less severe if caught riding an electric moped anywhere other than on private land. As with a car, a moped is governed by the Road Traffic Act and riding an electric moped without the necessary documentation as outlined above is a breach of multiple traffic laws and regulations that could lead to a conviction and penalty points on a driving licence – potentially a driving ban in certain circumstances!”

With market growth producing some astounding results on mainland Europe, many are pinning hopes on 2016 and onwards as a period where the UK will finally begin to emulate neighbouring growth.

“The growth in the e-bike sector is bringing valuable new business opportunities to motorcycle and cycle dealers and the continued growth will hinge on the public continuing to embrace this new sector,” concludes the MCIA article.

“Misselling by a small segment of the industry, which may lead to significant legal problems for some customers, has the potential to derail the e-bicycle sector and has wider implications for conventional cycling.”

In publicity materials produced by the MCIA and the BAGB, the following terminology will be used:

  • E-bikes – a generic term referring to all electric powered 2 wheelers
  • Electric bicycles – referring to e-bikes of 250W and below
  • Electric mopeds – referring to e-bikes over 250W up to 4kW
  • Electric motorcycles – referring to e-bikes producing 4kW or more