E-bike riders may need insurance under EU law tweak

Commission recommends that riders of pedal-assisted e-bikes have third-party motor insurance

Riding an electric bicycle on public roads without insurance could become illegal if an European Commission recommendation is approved.

The recommendation would affect anyone riding pedal-assist e-bikes, which are increasingly popular throughout Europe. Even if it is adopted, individual EU states can choose to opt out of the rule requiring e-bike riders to have insurance.

In a press release on its website the European Commission said: 'The evaluation demonstrated that new types of motor vehicles, such as electric bikes (e-bikes), segways, electric scooters already fall within the scope of the Directive as interpreted by the Court of Justice.

The Commission said that anyone using pedal-assisted cycles should already have at least third-party motor vehicle insurance to ride legally.

Almost all e-bikes sold in the EU are pedal-assisted, and limited to a 250W motor that only operated when the cyclists is pedalling and cuts out once the rider reaches a speed of 25kph.

Currently, these vehicles are regarded as bicycles in other areas of EU legislation. But if the Commission's recommended insurance requirement is adopted, it would place e-bikes in the same category as motor vehicles in member states that do not opt out.

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