TRL recommendation welcomed on keeping EPACS outside EU type approval rules

Recommendations presented by the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory that propose no Type Approval on electrically assisted pedal cycles (EPACS), including e-Cargo bikes, have been warmly welcomed by EU cycling orgs.

On Wednesday the research laboratory presented its findings to the European Commission following a period of consultation with the industry and interested parties. The study covered topics ranging the safety of personal mobility devices through to the appropriate standards governing their use.

The recommendations are not yet binding, with the final decision on appropriate legislation likely to come in 2022, at which point negotiations with EU authorities will take place.

The scope of the study included light electric vehicles, such as electric scooters, as well electric bikes outside and inside the EU Type Approval legislation. The objectives were, among others, to provide a detailed analysis of the market and the influence of the existing legislations at EU and national level, to assess the current use and the safety aspects related to road circulation and to share recommendations with regard to minimum safety technical requirements.

Kevin Mayne, CEO of Cycling Industries Europe, commented specifically on the cargo bike recommendations: “We have strongly made the case that commercial cargo bikes are a unique case in this review, as they are not designed as personal mobility devices. We are pleased that TRL recognised the importance of the role they can play in greening our cities. Regulations should support, not hinder this development.”

Manuel Marsilio, CONEBI General Manager, added: “Those statements presented to the European Commission are a valuable advocacy result of the three associations all over the past months. An important milestone in view of our next actions, as we want the EPAC to continue being legally classified as a bicycle and not as a motorcycle: a change of its legal status would have huge effects on sales and production.

“We are just at the beginning of the overall process at European level, we are looking forward to a very positive and constructive dialogue with the European Commission and the other stakeholders, as happened with Reg. EU 168/2013 several years ago, in order to support the continuous growth of our sector in the framework of the European Green Deal.”

Speed Pedelecs: what next?

Much noise has been made about the speed pedelec and whether there is potential to unlock this as a transport form in Europe.

The Transport Research Laboratory has recommended that a distinction be made between this and a moped, which is something that the Light Electric Vehicle Association has campaigned for in a bid to unlock long distance commuting and additional capability for heavier electric bikes such as e-Cargo.

“An in-depth discussion on a wide range of aspects will be needed,” writes the press statement from Cycling Industries Europe, which has in the past urged caution not wanting to undermine or confuse standard electric bike legislation.

TRL also recommends aligning road circulation regulations for new types of Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) with existing national pedal cycle regulations. E-bikes have been included in the group of PMDs together with stand-up and seated e-scooters, self-balancing electric unicycles, hoverboards, segways, electric skateboards and ‘one-wheel’ boards.

CONEBI, CIE and ECF believe that a clear differentiation among the different types of vehicles is necessary to best take into consideration their specific features and will now make that case in the next steps of the type approval process.

Jill Warren, CEO of ECF concludes: “EPACs and eCargo Bikes have huge potential to grow cycling. ECF wants to see a further increase in the use of all electric pedal assisted bikes, and a clear and appropriate regulatory environment is needed for this to happen. To this end we are working in collaboration with the bicycle industry and with the European Institutions.”