Electric Bike Laws in the UK
EAPCs, Speed Pedelecs and Electric Motorbikes
For those looking to get a new electric bike in any form, there’s a lot of confusion in the marketplace surrounding current UK laws however the legislation is fairly clear. We've tried to clarify and simplify the main points below.
For the sake of clarity and terminology, this is how we refer to different electric light vehicles:
Kick Electric Scooter (PLEVs)
Usually small, two wheeled devices that weigh under 20kg and are for pleasure rather than serious use.
Electric Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPCs) that are usually “normal” Bicycles but with an electric motor to assist with speeds up to 15mph
Personal LightvElectric Vehicles (PLEVs)
The battery technology advances in recent years gave way to the popular craze of "hoverboards" and other similar small scooters and light vehicles that have electric motors attached.
As far as UK law goes, these are not legal for use on UK highways and roads.
It is a bit of a shame, as there are a large amount of quite serious and high quality electric scooters available that are popular in European cities as alternatives to bikes or mopeds. In France, for example, these low-speed mobility devices can be used in cycle lanes.
Often these light vehicles may be able to get to speeds of 15mph or more, however can be dangerous and for now at least, should only be used for recreational use on private land and parks.
Electric Bicycles (EAPCs)
Thankfully the law is a bit clearer for electric bicycles that have electric motors. These are most commonly referred to as EAPCs, or Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles.
For the full information, please see the Government website here.
The main limitations on what constitutes an ebike or EAPC are:
- No more than 250W Continous Motor Output
- Does not propel more than 15.5mph*
- Over 14 years of age
- Pedals must be in use for assistance to be provided
What this means in reality is that the motor will only assist you up to 15.5mph, and then after this it will cut out and you need to keep on pedalling to gain more speed. For city commuting this is fantastic, as it really helps you propel away from lights quicker and can give cautious riders more confidence.
It’s important to note new bikes since 2015 with a “twist and go” throttle function cannot go more than 3.7mph (6km/h). They do not qualify to be an EAPC, as there are no pedals involved.
Any electrically assisted vehicle that falls outside of this category must be registered, taxed and requires a license.
Fast Electric Bikes - Speed Pedelecs
Any ebike that is capable of a speed in excess of 15.5mph or has a motor rating above 250w is generally referred to as a as a speed pedelec, or s-pedelec. In the UK these bikes are classed as L1e category road vehicles and require registration with DVLA for use on the public highway.
This means the bike must have European certificate of conformity and be type approved as a L1e road vehicle.
To use on the public highway these bikes must be registered with the DVLA (have a number plate fitted), have a minimum of third party road risk insurance, the rider must wear a motorbike style crash helmet, and must have appropriate driving license (a CBT, more info in the next section).
There are some pedal bikes (EAPCs) that can achieve the higher speeds. Notably, our Stromer bikes and some of the QWIC Performance Speed bikes will assist up to 28mph and have motors above 250w motors.
You can see all of our Speed Pedelecs here.
However, they will require DVLA registry and license plates. Some of the bikes will come supplied with mirrors, horns and plate lights in recognition of their elevated status.
These bikes are classed as road vehicles and therefore cannot be used on cycle paths, cycle lanes etc. They are subject to all the same laws that a motorcycle or moped would be.
When we sell any of these vehicles it will be clearly stated on the invoice / description that this is a L1e category vehicle. We will provide you with the documentation required for you to register the bike with the DVLA. However, it is the riders / buyers responsibility to ensure that they comply with the legislation.
Additionally, if required we can supply the bike registered for you.
Electric Moped / Scooter / Motorbike
After speed pedelecs, the next category will generally be electric mopeds restricted to 28mph or 45kmh. These can be thought of in a similar way to a Honda 50cc petrol moped. As a moped, they can be ridden by any rider 16 or over who has either passed a CBT course or has category AM or P on their existing driver license. These are classed as L1e-B, which is the same as a Speed Pedelec (L1e-B).
Car drivers who passed their test before February 2001 generally will have this category AM or P already on their license, or have a full motorcycle license, and are not required to take a CBT course (please double check that this is the case).
Electric scooters / motorbikes that are capable of speeds in excess of 28mph / 45kmph are classed as L3e-A1. There is no speed restriction however you must be 17 or above and have passed a CBT course OR have a full motorcycle license.
Please see full license requirements on the government website here.
EAPC without Registration
Some of the Stromer range do not need licensing as they comply as an EAPC that assists only to 15.5mph.
Most of the Stromer range is designed to replace the car and therefore are capable of higher speeds and classed as Speed Pedelecs. We can supply these models either unregistered and with the paperwork required for registration OR fully registered with the paperwork and numberplate, ready to ride.
The information has been provided as a guide only, however please ensure you make your own research and checks to confirm full compliance.