As electric bikes continue to grow in popularity around the world, it's important for all European enthusiasts to know the laws governing e-bikes in Europe!
Electric Bicycles are the solution to two major problems facing humanity today: rapid urbanization and climate change. E-bikes not only help manage traffic congestion, but are also extremely environmentally friendly.
Different countries have different laws governing the use of e-bikes. While some countries are very lenient and accommodating, others have strict requirements. One such case is the European Union.
If you want to learn more about e-bike laws in Europe, here's your ultimate guide!
What is an E-Bike? – The European Definition
In different parts of the world, there are not only different e-bike laws, but also different definitions of what is considered an e-bike. According to Directive 2002/24 EC of the European Unionmust be an EPAC (Electrically Pedal Assisted Cycle):
They must have an auxiliary motor with a continuous output of 250 watts or less. Motor assistance is gradually cut off when the rider reaches a speed of 25 km/h or stops pedaling.
Basically any e-bike that fits the above description is exempt from type approval. As with all European Union directives, member countries must transpose these requirements into their national legislation.
Another noteworthy detail is that the aforementioned directive was repealed by the European Parliament in 2016. 168/2013 Regulation. However, the changes made were not that significant, and the definition remains more or less the same.
Having looked at how an e-bike is defined in the EU, it's now time to look at the different classes of e-bikes in European countries.
Different classes of e-bikes in the EU
Even though there is a historical conflict over who exactly invented the first human-powered bicycle, most fingers point to Europe. Since then, many advances have been made in the e-bike industry, which is one more reason to divide e-bikes into different categories.
There are four technical e-bike classes in Europe, and different e-bike laws apply to the different categories in Europe. Let's take a look at which ones.
On the one hand, there are the L1e-A electric bikes. These can have a maximum motor power of 1000 watts. Have a maximum speed of 25 km/h. L1e-A vehicles have both pedal and gas pedal assistance. In addition, they can have 2 to 4 wheels. Are called Power Cycles.
Next up are the L1e-B vehicles. The maximum power of these electric bikes is 4000 watts, while the maximum allowed speed is 45 km/h. L1e-B bicycles or mopeds have only pedal assistance and at most 2 wheels.
The last two classes are L2e and L6e. The difference between L2e and L1e-B bikes is that the former can have up to 3 wheels, hence the name three-wheeled mopeds. Accordingly, L6e vehicles or four-wheeled light vehicles have a total of 4 wheels. The other technical data such as maximum performance. Maximum speed are identical.
In short, the European Union has proposed four different classes for e-bikes. These classes therefore have their own e-bike laws in Europe, which are implemented in the countries that are members of the EU.
National requirements of the European countries
Here you can see how the different European countries have designed their e-bike laws.
1. E-bike laws in Belgium
Belgian legislation contains two laws about e-bikes. These laws subdivide the generic term "electric bike into three further subcategories. These are as follows.
E-bikes can be ridden by all ages without a helmet as long as the maximum rated power is 250 watts and the maximum speed is 25 km/h. This category is simply referred to as "e-bikes" designated. Citizens 16 years and older can "motorized bicycles" with 1000 watts of power and 25 km/h maximum speed, provided they have a certificate of conformity. A helmet is not mandatory. E-bikes with a maximum power of 4000 watts. A maximum speed of 45 km/h. They are classified like mopeds, and the same requirements apply.
2. E-bike laws in Denmark
The Danish parliament has officially approved speed pedelecs for use on bike paths. A speed pedelec is an e-bike with a maximum assisted speed of 45 km/h.
In July 2018, it was decided that superbike riders must only wear a helmet and be at least 15 years old. In addition, the requirements for license plates. Licenses no longer in force.
3. E-bike laws in Finland
Finnish legislation regulates the use of e-bikes by limiting the maximum speed and motor power to 25 km/h and. 250 watts.
Moreover, the motor should not replace the pedaling, but should only support the rider in pedaling. There are also insurance requirements for motors with power between 250 and 1000 watts.
EU regulation classifies such powerful bikes as motorized L1e-A bikes. They are also allowed to travel at a maximum speed of 25 km/h. Need insurance for use on public roads.
In addition, L1e-A class e-bikes can assist the rider without the need to pedal. If you own a 250W e-bike that assists without pedaling, it is classified as an L1e-A vehicle.
4. E-bike laws in Latvia
Latvia is exceptionally lenient with its e-bike laws. There are no major requirements, except that the e-bike must not exceed an output of 250 W.
The Latvian Road Traffic Law defines an e-bike as a human-powered vehicle that is assisted by an electric motor.
5. E-bike laws in Norway
Even in Norway, there aren't too many additional regulations for e-bike use. However, there are some important regulations for manufacturers.
Norwegian vehicle regulation puts e-bikes in the same category as regular bicycles. There is no requirement for a driver's license.
The motor of an e-bike must not exceed 250 watts of power, and the assisted speed of an e-bike must not exceed 20 mph.
The motor power must be gradually reduced when the bike reaches the prescribed maximum speed. However, once the motor assistance is turned off, only the regular speed limits apply to the e-bike.
6. E-bike laws in Sweden
Similar to other e-bike laws in Europe, normal bicycle laws apply to electric bikes in Sweden as long as the rated power of the motor does not exceed 250 W and the motor does not assist the rider after reaching a speed of 25 km/h (25 mph).
All these requirements are described in the Swedish vehicle regulation.
7. E-bike laws in Switzerland
Switzerland, which is not part of the European Union, has very different laws for e-bikes.
Switzerland, for example, has paved the way for e-bikes to be allowed to travel at higher speeds. This is done by easing the approval process for e-bikes with a maximum assisted speed of over 45 km/h. This regulation is very different from other e-bike laws in Europe. Serves as an alternative to 25-km/h e-bikes.
In 2012, Switzerland updated its laws for e-bikes. Since then, electrically assisted bicycles are considered "light e-bikes" classified, as long as their maximum power is less than 500 watts.
The maximum speed allowed for these bikes is 25 km/h when the rider is pedaling, while the motor alone can only assist the rider up to 20 km/h.
8. E-bike laws in Turkey
Although Turkey is not fully located in Europe and is not part of the EU, it is also worth mentioning due to some of its territories being on the European peninsula.
Turkey also classifies e-bikes as normal bicycles, with the exception that the e-bike's motor can only have a maximum power of 250 W and the assistance is cut off at 25 km/h.
When the rider stops pedaling, the motor should also stop assisting him or her. There are no licensing or insurance requirements, and many Turkish cities promote the use of e-bikes as a solution to traffic and environmental problems.
9. E-bike laws in Great Britain
E-bike laws in the UK are not much different from those in other European countries. A maximum speed of 25 km/h. A motor power of 250 watts are mandatory.
In addition, the maximum weight of the bike must not exceed 30 kg. Also, you must be over 14 years old to legally ride an e-bike.
10. E-bike laws in Russia
We report on Russia for the same reasons we report on Turkey!
Russia allows e-bike riders a great deal of freedom. The only major restriction is that the motor power must not exceed 250 watts. Otherwise, you can use your e-bike on bike paths in. Free use of bike lanes. Where neither of these exist, you can ride on sidewalks and pedestrian paths.
11. E-bike laws in Germany
Germany has taken several steps toward electromobility in recent years.
E-bikes fall under the category of light electric vehicles. These are limited to a maximum speed of 20 km/h, but you can go faster if you wear a helmet. Insurance. License plates are required. The maximum motor power for e-bikes is 500 watts. Also, e-bike riders must use bike lanes unless there are none, in which case they are allowed to ride on the road.
12. E-bike laws in France
In France, the maximum speed allowed for an e-bike is 25 km/h with assistance. There is another special category of e-bikes, the so-called speed-pedelecs, which can go up to 45 km/h. Overall, the legal aspects of owning. Using an e-bike in France can be quite overwhelming. You'll also need to file your tax return and make sure the e-bike's manufacturer is based in Europe.
13. E-bike laws in Italy
In Italy, e-bikes are allowed to reach a maximum speed of 25 km/h on main roads, while they have to stay below 6 km/h on pedestrian paths. The maximum allowed power of the motor is 500 W.
You must be at least 14 years old to ride an e-bike, and a helmet is required for riders between 14 and 18 years old. A driver's license or insurance is not required.
14. E-bike laws in Spain
As in most other countries on this list, the maximum speed in Spain is limited to 25 km/h and the maximum engine power to 250 W. Operating e-bikes on sidewalks is not allowed and is punishable by a fine if you are caught doing so.
You must also be in possession of a certificate of roadworthiness issued by the manufacturer of your e-bike. A driver's license or insurance is not required.
Finally, authorities recommend wearing helmets, although this is not mandatory. The same goes for wearing a high-visibility vest to protect yourself in traffic.
15. E-bike laws in Ireland
The Irish government has yet to officially regulate the use of e-bikes, but Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has spoken out on the matter.
Future e-bike laws are unlikely to include insurance or driver's license requirements. However, the recommended minimum age is 16, and helmets are mandatory for those between 16 and 18 years old. In addition, riding on sidewalks is completely prohibited. The maximum speed with motor assistance is set at 25 km/h. In short, a new legal framework will soon be established to specifically regulate the use of e-bikes and e-scooters in Ireland.
16. E-bike laws in Austria
Austrian legislation has a special definition for pedelecs, and the same laws apply to e-bikes as long as they fit that description. The electric motor must assist the rider until it reaches the speed of 25 km/h.
Helmet and insurance are not mandatory. So most of the e-bike laws in Europe are also the same in Austria.
General e-bike rules in Europe
Now that we've looked at how different European countries handle e-bikes, here's an overview of generally good behavior for e-bike riders.
Keep to the right side of the road, preferably on a lane or bike path if available. In the United Kingdom or Ireland, left-hand traffic is mandatory. Indicate to other vehicles that you are turning by hand signals. Always keep at least one hand on the handlebar. Use bike lanes when available. If there are none, your country must have laws for where you should drive instead. Don't push or pull objects with your e-bike. If you are walking with your e-bike, you are a pedestrian. This means that you can use the sidewalk if necessary.
In this guide we have tried to briefly cover everything you need to know about e-bike laws in Europe – This includes what is considered an e-bike, what are the different classes of e-bikes, what are the national requirements and finally some rules of good conduct.
We hope you found the reading informative! Take a look at our range of e-bikes here.