This article provides a comprehensive overview of the diverse and evolving laws related to electric bicycles and electric transport in general across different countries. The key points include:
Variation in National and Local Laws
Laws regarding electric bicycles vary significantly between countries, and even within countries, states, and provinces may have their own specific rules. This variation adds complexity to understanding and complying with electric bicycle regulations.
Different Classifications and Terminologies: Terms such as "power-assisted bicycle" in Canada, "power-assisted cycle" in the UK, "electric pedal-assisted cycles" in the European Union, and simply "electric bicycles" are used in different regions, each potentially having different legal implications.
Two Main Types of Electric Bicycles:
- Type 1: Electric bicycles where the motor only assists and shuts off when reaching speeds of 25 km/h or 32 km/h. These are often referred to as "pedelecs" or "electric pedal-assisted cycles."
- Type 2: All other electric bicycles, including those that can be powered by the motor without pedaling, often controlled by a throttle.
Motor Type Irrelevance: The type of motor (whether it's a bottom bracket motor, hub motor, or friction motor) does not typically affect the classification of the electric bicycle under these laws.
Constantly Changing and Evolving Laws: The laws and regulations concerning electric bicycles are continually changing and being updated, making it crucial for users and manufacturers to stay informed about the current legal landscape.
Global Differences in Regulation: The article underscores that the same electric bicycle equipment might be subject to a variety of classifications and rules in different countries, reflecting the lack of a standardized global approach to regulating electric bicycles.
This overview highlights the importance of understanding the specific legal context of electric bicycles in your region, as the rules can vary significantly from one place to another and are subject to change.
- Import and Export: Electric bicycles can be freely imported and exported within Canada without the restrictions applied to cars or mopeds.
Provincial Variations: Some provinces prohibit the use of electric bicycles on highways or other areas where bicycles are banned. Specific provincial requirements include:
- Manitoba: Electric bicycles must not have more than three wheels.
- New Brunswick: Requires wheels larger than 9 inches, a seat at least 27 inches off the ground, and a headlight.
- Nova Scotia: Allows 2-4 wheels and mandates chin-strapped helmets.
- Prince Edward Island: Treats electric bicycles as mopeds, requiring them to undergo moped inspections.
- Classification: Electric bicycles are classified similarly to pedal bicycles, so no driving license is required under normal circumstances.
- New Standards from 2019: These include a maximum speed of 25 km/h, a weight limit of 55 kg including the battery, a motor power limit of 400 W, and a battery voltage not exceeding 48 V.
- License Requirement: For electric bicycles with a maximum speed of 30 km/h or more, a license is required.
- Regional Restrictions: In some southern cities like Guangzhou, Dongguan, and Shenzhen, electric bicycles are banned in certain urban areas, similar to motorcycles. There are also restrictions in parts of Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing.
- Helmet Laws in Shanghai: From May 1, 2021, both riders and passengers must wear helmets, with fines for non-compliance.
- Independent Traffic Laws: As of 2013, electric bicycles are banned in public places and are effectively illegal. Even if legalized, a motorcycle driving license would be required.
- Directive 2002/24/EC: Electric bicycles can have an auxiliary motor up to 250 W. The power must decrease and the motor must shut off when the bicycle reaches 25 km/h or if the rider stops pedaling.
- Torque and Motor Types: While motor power is limited, torque is not regulated, allowing for variations in performance, especially for off-road use.
- Throttle and Acceleration Button: Some models in Europe and the USA have an acceleration button on the handlebar for temporary power boosts, but the motor still shuts off at 25 km/h.
- National Legislation Compliance: EU member countries must comply with national laws. The European safety standard EN 15194 was published in 2009. Directive 2002/24/EC was repealed by Regulation 168/2013 in 2016, but the section on electric bicycles remained largely unchanged.
This overview indicates the diverse and complex regulatory landscape for electric bicycles across different regions, highlighting the importance of understanding local laws and standards for users and manufacturers.
- Speed Limit: Electric bicycles are limited to 25 km/h; "speed pedelecs" (electric mopeds) to 45 km/h.
- Regulations: Strict enforcement against illegal motor modifications to remove speed limitations.
Laws from 2016 and 2017: Three types of bicycles are allowed:
- "E-bikes": 250 W, 25 km/h, no age or helmet requirement.
- "Motorized-bikes": 1000 W, 25 km/h, minimum age 16, compliance certificate required, no helmet requirement.
- "Speed pedelecs": 4000 W, 45 km/h, classified as mopeds with corresponding regulations.
- Speed and Age: Electric bicycles with assistance can go up to 45 km/h. Minimum age is 15 years, and helmets are mandatory. No license required.
- Insurance and Registration: Electric bicycles with a throttle must be insured and registered. Motor power must not exceed 1000 W. Bicycles not requiring registration must have a motor of no more than 250 W, with a maximum speed of 25 km/h, and the motor can only assist, not replace pedaling. Helmets are mandatory on roads, and lights are required at night.
Norway, Sweden, Turkey, England
- General Rules: Bicycles can have a motor of up to 250 W, with a maximum speed of 25 km/h. The motor can only assist, not replace pedaling.
- EU Standards: Follows EU regulations for low-power electric bicycles. Simplified licensing process for electric bicycles with a maximum speed of 45 km/h.
- Regulations: Electric transport must have ARAI approval. Electric bicycles with less than 250 W power and a maximum speed of less than 30 km/h don't require certification but need an ARAI exemption certificate. No license, insurance, or helmet required.
- Laws: Electric bicycles with assistance up to 250 W are allowed. The motor must shut off at 25 km/h. Bicycles must comply with European standards BSEN 15194 and EN15194 and be approved by the Israel Standards Institute. Other electric bicycles are considered motorcycles, requiring a license and insurance. Maximum weight for an electric bicycle is 30 kg. Riders under 18 without a car license need a special permit. Riding without a helmet, using a phone while riding, etc., are violations.
- Classification: Bicycles with electric drive and pedals are considered human-powered bicycles, while those capable of moving without pedaling, only on electric power, are classified as mopeds.
- Size Restrictions: Both regular and electric (two and three-wheeled) bicycles must not exceed 190 cm in length and 60 cm in width.
- Regulations: Electric bicycles with assistance and motor power not exceeding 300 W don't require a license or registration. Helmets are mandatory even for motors weaker than 300 W. Electric bicycles with motors more powerful than 300 W are classified as mopeds and require a license and registration.
- Rules: No license or registration required for electric bicycles with pedals.
- Traffic Rules: A "bicycle" is a vehicle with at least two wheels, usually powered by human muscle energy (e.g., pedals) and may also have an electric motor with a nominal maximum power in continuous load mode not exceeding 250 W, automatically shutting off at speeds over 25 km/h. Vehicles with more powerful electric motors are not classified as bicycles and require a license.
- License Requirement: A license is required for operating electric bicycles with a power of 4000 W or more.
- Registration: No need for license plates or registration of the electric bike itself.
- Regulations: There are no specific restrictions on the use of electric bicycles.
- Registration and License: Electric scooters and electric bicycles must be registered, and their drivers must have a license.
- Registration: No need to register an electric bicycle if its motor shuts off at speeds of 25 km/h.
- Speed Limit Enforcement: Fines ranging from 900 to 1800 New Taiwan dollars for exceeding the speed limit of 25 km/h.
- Classification: Electric bicycles are classified as mopeds. No special license is required, but driving by individuals under 16 is not permitted.
- Traffic Rules: Allowed on roads, dedicated lanes; not allowed on sidewalks, pedestrian paths, and crosswalks.
- Classification: Electric bicycles are defined as mopeds.
- Moped Regulations: Allowed from the age of 16 with a mandatory helmet. Restricted from traveling on roads without bicycle lanes or paths. Specific rules for turning and crossing apply.
- Regulations as of 2019: Electric bicycles are not specifically mentioned in the legislation. Likely upcoming rules: If the power exceeds 250 W, it's classified as a moped, requiring a sign, registration, and road use. Electric bicycles with a speed limit of up to 25 km/h will likely be categorized as "bicycles."
- Federal Law: Defines an electric bicycle as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with operable pedals, a maximum speed of less than 20 mph (32 km/h) with a 170-pound rider, and an electric motor of no more than 750 W.
State Regulations: In 13 states, electric bicycles not requiring a license are divided into three classes:
- Assist electric bicycles, where the motor helps pedal up to 20 mph.
- Electric bicycles with a throttle, reaching speeds up to 20 mph.
- Electric bicycles with a speedometer, capable of reaching up to 28 mph.
Not knowing the law does not exempt from responsibility. Before any trip, it is extremely important to study the 'rules of the game' in a specific part of the world. We wish you safe and exciting travels wherever you are. If you are interested in learning more about different laws, you can visit us at 654 College Street, and we will be happy to share our travel experience and specific rules up to the city that interests you. See you soon.