From today, e-Bike owners in Northern Ireland will not be required to have registration, licensing and insurance, bringing them in line with owners of non-electric bikes.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon brought the new electric bike legislation to the Northern Irish Assembly, allowing their use on public roads without the need for registration or licensing.
Previously, owning an e-Bike in Northern Ireland could cost the average owner at least an extra £290 compared to a standard bicycle. This latest move is likely to expand the e-Bike market in Northern Ireland and boost local cycling businesses.
Speaking in the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Minister said the change in law will: “…simplify and reduce the legislative burden on those that wish to ride an e-Bike, to promote cycling as a mode of transport that has health and environmental benefits and to reduce congestion in our cities and towns. A lot of change has been forced upon us by the challenges of Covid-19, but this can also be the start of a time of change if we choose it.”
Minister Mallon recently referenced pop-up bike lanes in the assembly, as well as the creation of a Walking and Cycling Champion within the Infrastructure Department, charged with delivering a commitment to increasing the percentage of journeys made by walking and cycling.
Speaking ahead of approval of the new legislation, Sustrans Interim Director Stephen Martin said: “This new legislation is long overdue and would be a welcome boost for cycling in Northern Ireland. Cycling is already being embraced during this pandemic and this would enable many more people to try cycling. E-bikes help more people get out of their cars and to travel in a more green and active way. We know e-bikes are particularly appealing to older people, those less able and residents in hillier areas or with long commutes. It is vital this potential development is supported by safe infrastructure for cycling.”