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Can You Ride An Electric Bike On The Sidewalk/Footpath?

Must-know Electric Bike Laws, License and Regulations In The UK

Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular around the globe.

 They offer many advantages over normal bikes and even other cars and other types of transportation.

However, like any type of vehicle, they must meet certain legal requirements in order to operate legally within the United Kingdom.

As such, it\’s important to know the laws and regulations surrounding electric bicycles in the country where you live.

In this article, we\’ll discuss the different laws, regulations, and licensing surrounding electric bikes in the United Kingdom.

What Is Considered An Electric Bike In The UK?

An electric bike can also be called:

  • E-Bike/ Ebike
  • Pedelec (from pedal electric cycle)
  • EPAC (Electronically Power Assisted Cycles)

Ebike definitions

  • A bike that has fully operable pedals that propel it. 
  • An electric motor that won\’t assist you when you\’re travelling more than 25 km/h (15.5mph)
  • an electrically power-assisted cycle that doesn\’t exceed 250 watts.

These e-bike requirements apply to two-wheeled bikes, tandems, and tricycles. 

Regulations In Riding An Electric Bike

– You must not carry passengers unless the bike is adapted to provide them

– You must have efficient front and rear braking systems at all times

– You must not cycle under the influence of drink or drugs

– You must not ride a bicycle without due care and attention for other road users

– You must never hold on to moving vehicles or trailers

– You must have working front and rear lights for cycling in the dark. The front should be white light, and the rear should be red

– Also, for cycling in the dark, you must have reflectors fitted to your bike

– You must always wear reflective clothing

– A throttle is only allowed for speeds up to a walking pace

Where Can You Ride An Electric Bike?

You must ride on either a designated bicycle path or the road where you should adhere to the Highway Code.

You can ride an e-bike when you can ride a standard bike.

Can You Ride An E-Bike On The Sidewalk?

An e-bike can ride the cycle paths a regular bicycle can. 

It is stated in Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 that it is illegal to ride on footpaths.

It applies to regular bicycles, so it naturally applies to e-bikes as well. 

Can Anyone Drive An E-bike?

You must be at least 14 years old to use an e-bike on public roads. Only 14 years old and above can drive e-bikes. 

Do You Need A License To Drive An E-Bike?

E-bike riders don\’t need a driving license to drive an e-bike.

As long as you\’re 14 years old and above, you\’re allowed to drive an e-bike.

If your e-bike doesn\’t meet the requirements of an e-bike mentioned above, it will be considered a motor vehicle, and you will need a driving license to operate it. 

Do You Need To Register An E-bike?

No, you don\’t have to register an e-bike as long as it meets all the requirements of an e-bike.

If your e-bike doesn\’t meet the regulations mentioned above, you will need to treat it as a motor vehicle. 

Do You Need To Pay Vehicle Tax For E-Bikes?

As long as your e-bike meets the definition of an e-bike, you don\’t need to pay vehicle taxes.

But if it doesn\’t, it will be considered a motor vehicle, and you will need to pay vehicle tax.

Do You Need To Wear A Helmet When Riding An E-Bike?

No. Wearing bicycle helmets is recommended but not mandatory.

If your e-bike is considered a motor vehicle, you will need to wear a motorcycle helmet when driving it. 

Are Throttles On E-bike Legal?

In the UK, twist and go throttles are illegal.

They allow e-bikes to go at speeds above 4mph which is the defined walking pace without pedalling.

Bikes that have these kinds of throttles are classed as motorcycles and need to be registered with the DVLA and taxed and insured like all other vehicles.

Final Words

Basically, an e-bike is a low-speed pedal-assisted electric bike that is considered a standard bicycle if it meets the requirements for e-bikes.

Once it doesn\’t, it will be considered a motorcycle vehicle and will need to meet the motorcycle laws and regulations, licensing, insurance, and taxing.

Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Evan

Evan Medders

Evan Medders

I'm Evan an avid cyclist and bike consultant. Besides my biking, I enjoy being a dad to two, a husband to one. Cycling is a fun and sustainable means of transportation, something not only our planet but also your body craves. We need to stay in physical shape, and keep our Earth in a good condition so we face fewer natural disasters. Biking is our way to see we do our part :)

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