Electric Bikes are significantly growing in popularity, and this shows no sign of slowing down, with the UK and European market expected to triple over the next few years. As more are joining the transition, the classifications are becoming slacker, yet, it is important to share these and show how they differ to a regular bike.
Electric bikes or E-Bikes, whether that be pre-built or converted with one of our kits, are also known as Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPC), and you do not need a license to ride one nor do they need to be registered, taxed or insured.
There are certain requirements which must be met for an Electric bike to fall into the EAPC category:
- It must have pedals that can be used to propel it
- Have a motor which is no larger than 250W
- Boost your ride by no more than 15.5mph
- Show either the power output or the manufacturer of the motor
If a bike (two-wheeled, tricycles, tandems, recumbent etc.) complies with the these requirements, the bike is deemed suitable for on-road use and can be used and treated as a normal pedal bike. It can be used on any cycle paths or anywhere else that bikes are normally allowed.
In the UK you must be over the age of 14 to ride an electric bike but it doesn’t need registering or taxing, nor does the rider need a license.
If you own an E-Bike which doesn’t meet these regulations, either because the motor is over the 250W limit or any other reason, it will need to be registered with the DVLA, insured and taxed as a motor vehicle. In this circumstance, a helmet must be worn and a driving license is required. These bike’s cannot be used on cycle paths or any other place where a standard pedal bike can be used.
Thumb Throttle 'Dilemma':
The UK law prohibits use of ‘Twist and Go’ throttle options meaning with one of these installed, your bike will not fall under the EAPC conformity. We have the right to sell these throttles, as they are safe for off-road use on private land. We can provide customers with these throttles but must have them accept the relevant terms and conditions so they are aware of the potential risks.
Harmonisation with UK law has had an effect on electric bikes with ‘twist and go’ throttles that can take the bike to full speed without the requirement to pedal at all.
A law came into effect on the 1st January 2016, meaning the only throttles that are legal within the UK’s EAPC legislation are those that can assist the rider without pedalling up to a maximum speed of 4mph, also referred to as walking assist mode. In this mode, if the rider is rolling but not pedalling faster that 4mph, the throttle cuts off.
If you bought an e-bike with a full-speed throttle before January 2016, it is still classed as an EAPC and doesn’t need registering or taxing. Only the ones sold prior to this date must be registered and taxed. Practically, you could still buy an E-bike with a ‘twist and go’ throttle second-hand and not be fined, but it would have to have been produced or imported before January 1st.
The throttle can be used off-road on private land, and so for this reason we stock them and can include them with our kits. Every kit we sell can include these at no additional cost, however, we make every customer aware of the legislation surrounding this, and have them accept the terms and conditions to show they acknowledge this. If you would prefer to not have the throttle this is also fine, we would just not include it in the kit.
To add and remove the thumb throttle, the process is simple and takes no longer than 5 minutes. The main EB-Bus cable included in the kit has a connector pre-installed for the thumb throttle. When on road, the throttle can be unplugged to conform with the relevant UK legislation, and when on private land, the throttle can be plugged in and be enjoyed off-road. There is no legislation for off-road use on private land and so using throttles are perfectly acceptable for these applications.