Pedelec Law - The Details

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,492
23,311
I think many of you will be aware of what a complex subject electric assist bicycle law is and pitfalls in trying to second guess it. As a result, and with my knowledge of it since joining the trade 70 years ago, I'm often called upon in here to give answers on the subject. But of course I won't always be around and being at the Covid-19 peak vulnerability age I thought it best I record all the information links, clarifications and sources for others to get any answers they need on this subject. Some of necessity is on my web space and I'm making arrangements to ensure that stays online for a decade to make this post a reliable source to bookmark for the pedelec law sources and clarification details.

A legal, bureaucracy free pedelec is a bicycle and never a motor vehicle in relation to any usage laws. Thus laws intended specifically for motor vehicles like national speed limits never apply. There are many local authority and private premises limits that can apply to all bicycles though, and the UK lower age limit of 14 years for riding a pedelec.

1983 EAPC law, only now valid combined with amendments from the 2015 law below

6th April 2015 revisions to EAPC law

Clarification from the above link on the specification plate required on pedelecs

Plate (a) (i) is only for the historic e-bikes from before 6th April 2015.
Plate (a) (ii) is for all pedelecs since that date.

Confirmed as below by James Brown, International Vehicle Standards, Department for Transport:

"As part of the GB EAPC amending legislation, that will come into force on 6 April 2015, the requirement for the marking identification has been amended. Previously a plate showing the manufacturer, maximum continuous rated power output and voltage was necessary, from April 6 2015 the requirement will be that the manufacturer, maximum continuous rated output and maximum assisted cutoff speed shall be marked on the cycle."

This should be in the form of a plate or permanent label bearing all three items of information, mounted in a prominent easily read location on the bicycle.

The 14 years minimum age limit law for riding a pedelec:

Northern Ireland has its own Road Traffic jurisdiction,
though they mainly follow ours. The mainland UK 1983 law as amended by the 2015 law were only adopted from 13th May 2020 in Northern Ireland. They already had the 14 years lowest age limit to ride pedelecs via our above 1988 RTA which they adopted there in their 1995 RTA. They also have the same EU regulations.

Original 2003 Motor Vehicle Type approval law with pedelecs exemption from being a motor vehicle in Article 2.2. (h):

Same thing but 2013 integrated version:

You don't need but may also desire a copy of BS1727 to understand the motor and battery testing and proof of compliance that originally supported the manufacturers data plate declaration of older e-bikes, but I can't let you have that or give you a link, as you need to pay a lot of money for it! It's not necessary to have this though.

The UK is also signed up to the relevant European technical standards for pedelecs, EN15194.
It's what really matters technically. You can download it to read on the link below in my web site:

Also, you may need the Construction & Use regulations for all bicycles, assisted or not:

Walk Assist Throttle
Although the EU has it's own walk assist law with 6kph (3.6 mph) limit, the UK's permitted Walk Assist throttle conditions such as the 4 mph assist limit and use of a self returning thumb throttle were derived from the UK law on pedestrian controlled vehicles which is in multiple parts in various laws relating to motor vehicles. The use of a walk throttle to get away from a standstill without pedalling while on board appears to be illegal, since a rider either seated on a bike or with a foot on a pedal as in scooting is not a pedestrian, as ruled by Waller L J in the Court of Appeal, (Crank v Brooks [1980] RTR 441). The many complexities that can occur in passing such legislation you might find interesting or just plain irritating in the debate in the House of Lords on the link below:

National law on conditional use of all bicycles on the pavements: (two Links)

Law permitting riding bicycles and pedelecs on Bridlepaths/ Bridleways:

This Countryside Act 1968 unusually only covered two wheeled bicycles, whereas most UK Bicycle law refers to Bicycles, Tricycles and Bicycles with four or more wheels. However, the government backed SUSTRANS organisation has since gained permission for pedelec Tricycles to use bridlepaths too. Still no permission for Quad pedelecs though.

Getting legal permission to have a fully acting "Twist and Go" throttle on a pedelec:

The Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval test now includes a sub-category for "Twist and go" electric bikes, which require type approval as Single Vehicle Approval (SVA), but which can otherwise be used like other normal pedelecs. Fewer modifications will now be needed for these machines to pass the test and gain type approval. The MSVA test costs £55 per individual vehicle.

Each individual bike must pass the Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval (MSVA) test. This provides UK-specific type approval (i.e. it is not valid in other EU countries) and the DfT regard these as legal bureaucracy free pedelecs.

The new class for Twist & Go EAPCs is called "250W LPM", a sub-category of the standard "Low Powered Moped", which is the L1e-A category which T&G EAPCs fell into before. The new edition of the test manual reduces the requirements somewhat for this new sub-category. For example, a kickstand is still required, but it does not have to auto-retract. Moped-like mirrors are now not required, etc., etc. Basically almost any legal pedelec meets the requirements, but check the PDF manual linked to below:


Grandfather Rights
The old 1983 EAPC regulations did not specify how pedelec power was to be applied, leaving the door open for any method including fully acting throttles. However the 2015 amendments to EU law barred such throttles, power only allowed by pedalling to be truly assist in nature. By convention though, existing machines from before 1st January 2016 had Grandfather Rights to remain as they were, this confirmed by a prior DfT statement of intentions at a joint consultation meeting with the industry and police on 13th April 2013.
HOWEVER
Be aware that to claim Grandfather Rights the pedelec should conform to the 1983 law in its entirety, and that means an assist power rating of 200 watts or less. Unfortunately most of the e-bikes supplied in the UK from the early 2000s to 2016 were 250 watts rated like the current law as a result of a DfT error in 2003, so technically they cannot legally have Grandfather Rights. However this legal nicety is unlikely to be a subject for challenge by any authority since the DfT didn't specify it when describing Grandfather Rights in that meeting. For the details on that 2003 DfT error see below:

The Evolution of a Power Rating problem

Back at 9th May 2003 the EU issued the two and three wheeled type approval law 2002/24/EU which contained the 2.2.(h) exemption for pedelecs to not be considered motor vehicles and thus remain bicycles. That specified these conditions to benefit from the exemption:

"(h) pedal cycles with pedal assistance which are equipped with an auxiliary electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power of less than or equal to 250 W, where the output of the motor is cut off when the cyclist stops pedalling and is otherwise progressively reduced and finally cut off before the vehicle speed reaches 25 km/h "

That type approval law was mandatory for all EU member nations and the regulation was accompanied by an order that all conflicting national law had to be removed within six months. Our UK law did conflict since it limited power to 200 watts, but the DfT passed the new EU regulation into law through parliament on 10th November 2003 without removing our conflicting law. The mandatory order is no longer available online from the EU but I copied and pasted the text and you can read it on this link:
www.pedelecs.co.uk/flecc/eu_directive.rtf

So from then on we appeared to have two conflicting laws, the UK law saying 200 watts, the EU 250 watts. In fact as an EU member the EU law always took precedence in our courts, but the DfT when asked wrongly said it was a matter for the courts in their muddled October 2005 document below:
www.pedelecs.co.uk/flecc/EAPC_guidelines.pdf

From 1999 the Japanese makers like Yamaha and Panasonic had wrongly assumed Britain also had EU law at that time, so supplied 250 watts anyway, with the Chinese and others following likewise, hence the twelve year legal tangle from 2003 to 2015.

E-Scooters
At the time of writing it appears these may be given limited legalisation shortly, but meanwhile machines resembling a child's scooter, but which are fitted with either an electric motor or an internal combustion engine, have been determined by two High Court judgements to be motor vehicles within the meaning of The Road Traffic Act 1988. Therefore not electric assist bikes. You will see this on page three in the EAPC guidelines linked to just above.

Kit Motors
Be aware that hardly any of the above applies to kits or any home construction, the regulations only being for manufactured pedelecs. So both individuals and suppliers operate in a legal vacuum in which all try to supply and/or use as closely conforming to the complete e-bike law as they can, trusting that is acceptable. That has always worked throughout all of Europe and the UK without any mention of a possible prosecution, providing the three main points of the law are adhered to, i.e. 250 watts maximum assist, 15.5 mph maximum assist speed and power only when pedalling.

However, I can tell you the legal way of dealing with a kit, athough no-one has ever done it:

1) Buy and fit the motor kit.
2) Make an appointment at an approved vehicle testing station, paying the £55 test fee.
3) Most often the purpose of this is to get an SVA (Single Vehicle Approval), entitling it for use as a type approved motor vehicle. However your intention will be to get the inspector to agree that it meets the pedelec requirements so is exempt from being a motor vehicle and is approved as a pedelec.

However, if you get and accept SVA approval as well at the same time, as specified earlier in getting legal permission, you will be able to have a fully acting throttle on a post December 2015 pedelec with it still considered a bureaucracy free pedelec, a bonus. I repeat though, no-one to my knowedge has ever done this to create a kit pedelec so it's never been necessary, but it is the DfT specified correct way when creating any motorised vehicle from more than one vehicle or from parts.

N.B. The DfT is increasingly referring to SVA as IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval), so you might need this for online linking in future.
In summary, legislators don't like kits, too many variables, so avoid their mention like the plague. Mainland Europe killed the kit car industry long ago and our laws have damaged it here too, so we are perhaps lucky that the lawyers don't pay attention to our little pedelec kit niche.

Powered Trailers
There is no law here or in the EU permitting powered trailers following a bicycle, whether pushing it or not, so the status of such a combination is even more difficult than that of kits. However there are very small numbers of such trailers on the road both here and in some parts of Europe, especially The Netherlands, so it appears to be another "blind eye" subject like kit bikes. Do it with fingers crossed. Alternatively you could permanently couple the trailer and bike as one vehicle and take the outfit through Single Vehicle Approval as a tricycle pedelec or quad pedelec.
.
 
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Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
11,937
4,630
57
West Sx RH
A great post flecc and all the relevant info in one place.
 
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Atlav4

Pedelecer
Feb 16, 2020
141
56
Great post, all relevant legality pertaining to any purchases, and or any modifications in one place. Excellent for quick reference. To be totally ignored by the "What's it got to do with you like" brigade.
 
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Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
1,606
357
74
I think many of you will be aware of what a complex subject electric assist bicycle law is and pitfalls in trying to second guess it. As a result, and with my knowledge of it since joining the trade 70 years ago, I'm often called upon in here to give answers on the subject. But of course I won't always be around and being at the Covid-19 peak vulnerability age I thought it best I record all the information links, clarifications and sources for others to get any answers they need on this subject. Some of necessity is on my web space and I'm making arrangements to ensure that stays online for a decade to make this post a reliable source to bookmark for the pedelec law sources and clarification details.

A legal, bureaucracy free pedelec is a bicycle and never a motor vehicle in relation to any usage laws. Thus laws intended specifically for motor vehicles like national speed limits never apply. There are many local authority and private premises limits that can apply to all bicycles though, and the UK lower age limit of 14 years for riding a pedelec.

1983 EAPC law, only now valid combined with amendments from the 2015 law below

6th April 2015 revisions to EAPC law

Clarification from the above link on the specification plate required on pedelecs

Plate (a) (i) is only for the historic e-bikes from before 6th April 2015.
Plate (a) (ii) is for all pedelecs since that date.

Confirmed as below by James Brown, International Vehicle Standards, Department for Transport:

"As part of the GB EAPC amending legislation, that will come into force on 6 April 2015, the requirement for the marking identification has been amended. Previously a plate showing the manufacturer, maximum continuous rated power output and voltage was necessary, from April 6 2015 the requirement will be that the manufacturer, maximum continuous rated output and maximum assisted cutoff speed shall be marked on the cycle."

This should be in the form of a plate or permanent label bearing all three items of information, mounted in a prominent easily read location on the bicycle.

The 14 years minimum age limit law for riding a pedelec:

Northern Ireland has its own Road Traffic jurisdiction,
though they mainly follow ours. The mainland UK 1983 law as amended by the 2015 law were only adopted from 13th May 2020 in Northern Ireland. They already had the 14 years lowest age limit to ride pedelecs via our above 1988 RTA which they adopted there in their 1995 RTA. They also have the same EU regulations.

Original 2003 Motor Vehicle Type approval law with pedelecs exemption from being a motor vehicle in Article 2.2. (h):

Same thing but 2013 integrated version:

You don't need but may also desire a copy of BS1727 to understand the motor and battery testing and proof of compliance that originally supported the manufacturers data plate declaration of older e-bikes, but I can't let you have that or give you a link, as you need to pay a lot of money for it! It's not necessary to have this though.

The UK is also signed up to the relevant European technical standards for pedelecs, EN15194.
It's what really matters technically. You can download it to read on the link below in my web site:

Also, you may need the Construction & Use regulations for all bicycles, assisted or not:

Walk Assist Throttle
Although the EU has it's own walk assist law with 6kph (3.6 mph) limit, the UK's permitted Walk Assist throttle conditions such as the 4 mph assist limit and use of a self returning thumb throttle were derived from the UK law on pedestrian controlled vehicles which is in multiple parts in various laws relating to motor vehicles. The use of a walk throttle to get away from a standstill without pedalling while on board appears to be illegal, since a rider either seated on a bike or with a foot on a pedal as in scooting is not a pedestrian, as ruled by Waller L J in the Court of Appeal, (Crank v Brooks [1980] RTR 441). The many complexities that can occur in passing such legislation you might find interesting or just plain irritating in the debate in the House of Lords on the link below:

National law on conditional use of all bicycles on the pavements: (two Links)

Law permitting riding bicycles and pedelecs on Bridlepaths/ Bridleways:

This Countryside Act 1968 unusually only covered two wheeled bicycles, whereas most UK Bicycle law refers to Bicycles, Tricycles and Bicycles with four or more wheels. However, the government backed SUSTRANS organisation has since gained permission for pedelec Tricycles to use bridlepaths too. Still no permission for Quad pedelecs though.

Getting legal permission to have a fully acting "Twist and Go" throttle on a pedelec:

The Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval test now includes a sub-category for "Twist and go" electric bikes, which require type approval as Single Vehicle Approval (SVA), but which can otherwise be used like other normal pedelecs. Fewer modifications will now be needed for these machines to pass the test and gain type approval. The MSVA test costs £55 per individual vehicle.

Each individual bike must pass the Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval (MSVA) test. This provides UK-specific type approval (i.e. it is not valid in other EU countries) and the DfT regard these as legal bureaucracy free pedelecs.

The new class for Twist & Go EAPCs is called "250W LPM", a sub-category of the standard "Low Powered Moped", which is the L1e-A category which T&G EAPCs fell into before. The new edition of the test manual reduces the requirements somewhat for this new sub-category. For example, a kickstand is still required, but it does not have to auto-retract. Moped-like mirrors are now not required, etc., etc. Basically almost any legal pedelec meets the requirements, but check the PDF manual linked to below:


Grandfather Rights
The old 1983 EAPC regulations did not specify how pedelec power was to be applied, leaving the door open for any method including fully acting throttles. However the 2015 amendments to EU law barred such throttles, power only allowed by pedalling to be truly assist in nature. By convention though, existing machines from before 1st January 2016 had Grandfather Rights to remain as they were, this confirmed by a prior DfT statement of intentions at a joint consultation meeting with the industry and police on 13th April 2013.
HOWEVER
Be aware that to claim Grandfather Rights the pedelec should conform to the 1983 law in its entirety, and that means an assist power rating of 200 watts or less. Unfortunately most of the e-bikes supplied in the UK from the early 2000s to 2016 were 250 watts rated like the current law as a result of a DfT error in 2003, so technically they cannot legally have Grandfather Rights. However this legal nicety is unlikely to be a subject for challenge by any authority since the DfT didn't specify it when describing Grandfather Rights in that meeting. For the details on that 2003 DfT error see below:

The Evolution of a Power Rating problem

Back at 9th May 2003 the EU issued the two and three wheeled type approval law 2002/24/EU which contained the 2.2.(h) exemption for pedelecs to not be considered motor vehicles and thus remain bicycles. That specified these conditions to benefit from the exemption:

"(h) pedal cycles with pedal assistance which are equipped with an auxiliary electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power of less than or equal to 250 W, where the output of the motor is cut off when the cyclist stops pedalling and is otherwise progressively reduced and finally cut off before the vehicle speed reaches 25 km/h "

That type approval law was mandatory for all EU member nations and the regulation was accompanied by an order that all conflicting national law had to be removed within six months. Our UK law did conflict since it limited power to 200 watts, but the DfT passed the new EU regulation into law through parliament on 10th November 2003 without removing our conflicting law. The mandatory order is no longer available online from the EU but I copied and pasted the text and you can read it on this link:
www.flecc.co.uk/m/eu_directive.rtf

So from then on we appeared to have two conflicting laws, the UK law saying 200 watts, the EU 250 watts. In fact as an EU member the EU law always took precedence in our courts, but the DfT when asked wrongly said it was a matter for the courts in their muddled October 2005 document below:
www.flecc.co.uk/m/EAPC_guidelines.pdf

From 1999 the Japanese makers like Yamaha and Panasonic had wrongly assumed Britain also had EU law at that time, so supplied 250 watts anyway, with the Chinese and others following likewise, hence the twelve year legal tangle from 2003 to 2015.

E-Scooters
At the time of writing it appears these may be given limited legalisation shortly, but meanwhile machines resembling a child's scooter, but which are fitted with either an electric motor or an internal combustion engine, have been determined by two High Court judgements to be motor vehicles within the meaning of The Road Traffic Act 1988. Therefore not electric assist bikes. You will see this on page three in the EAPC guidelines linked to just above.

Kit Motors
Be aware that hardly any of the above applies to kits or any home construction, the regulations only being for manufactured pedelecs. So both individuals and suppliers operate in a legal vacuum in which all try to supply and/or use as closely conforming to the complete e-bike law as they can, trusting that is acceptable. That has always worked throughout all of Europe and the UK without any mention of a possible prosecution, providing the three main points of the law are adhered to, i.e. 250 watts maximum assist, 15.5 mph maximum assist speed and power only when pedalling.

However, I can tell you the legal way of dealing with a kit, athough no-one has ever done it:

1) Buy and fit the motor kit.
2) Make an appointment at an approved vehicle testing station, paying the £55 test fee.
3) Most often the purpose of this is to get an SVA (Single Vehicle Approval), entitling it for use as a type approved motor vehicle. However your intention will be to get the inspector to agree that it meets the pedelec requirements so is exempt from being a motor vehicle and is approved as a pedelec.

However, if you get and accept SVA approval as well at the same time, as specified earlier in getting legal permission, you will be able to have a fully acting throttle on a post December 2015 pedelec with it still considered a bureaucracy free pedelec, a bonus. I repeat though, no-one to my knowedge has ever done this to create a kit pedelec so it's never been necessary, but it is the DfT specified correct way when creating any motorised vehicle from more than one vehicle or from parts.

N.B. The DfT is increasingly referring to SVA as IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval), so you might need this for online linking in future.
In summary, legislators don't like kits, too many variables, so avoid their mention like the plague. Mainland Europe killed the kit car industry long ago and our laws have damaged it here too, so we are perhaps lucky that the lawyers don't pay attention to our little pedelec kit niche.

Powered Trailers
There is no law here or in the EU permitting powered trailers following a bicycle, whether pushing it or not, so the status of such a combination is even more difficult than that of kits. However there are very small numbers of such trailers on the road both here and in some parts of Europe, especially The Netherlands, so it appears to be another "blind eye" subject like kit bikes. Do it with fingers crossed. Alternatively you could permanently couple the trailer and bike as one vehicle and take the outfit through Single Vehicle Approval as a tricycle pedelec or quad pedelec.
.
Many thanks.
Great reading.
Andy
 
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BazP

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 8, 2017
325
160
70
Sheffield
Many thanks for this information and I hope you are around in 20 years time to update it.

Now, if you could sort the the Government's Covid advice out !!!--:rolleyes:
 
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,492
23,311
Many thanks for this information and I hope you are around in 20 years time to update it.
I'll be 104 then ! :D

Now, if you could sort the the Government's Covid advice out !!!--:rolleyes:
Already done that.

Just ignore everything they say and do what you think best from your life experience. It's what I've been doing and I think that of the average 10 year old's life experience would exceed the quality of this government's advice to date.
.
 

Lazeyboy

Pedelecer
Mar 4, 2018
65
2
57
Llanrwst
I think many of you will be aware of what a complex subject electric assist bicycle law is and pitfalls in trying to second guess it. As a result, and with my knowledge of it since joining the trade 70 years ago, I'm often called upon in here to give answers on the subject. But of course I won't always be around and being at the Covid-19 peak vulnerability age I thought it best I record all the information links, clarifications and sources for others to get any answers they need on this subject. Some of necessity is on my web space and I'm making arrangements to ensure that stays online for a decade to make this post a reliable source to bookmark for the pedelec law sources and clarification details.

A legal, bureaucracy free pedelec is a bicycle and never a motor vehicle in relation to any usage laws. Thus laws intended specifically for motor vehicles like national speed limits never apply. There are many local authority and private premises limits that can apply to all bicycles though, and the UK lower age limit of 14 years for riding a pedelec.

1983 EAPC law, only now valid combined with amendments from the 2015 law below

6th April 2015 revisions to EAPC law

Clarification from the above link on the specification plate required on pedelecs

Plate (a) (i) is only for the historic e-bikes from before 6th April 2015.
Plate (a) (ii) is for all pedelecs since that date.

Confirmed as below by James Brown, International Vehicle Standards, Department for Transport:

"As part of the GB EAPC amending legislation, that will come into force on 6 April 2015, the requirement for the marking identification has been amended. Previously a plate showing the manufacturer, maximum continuous rated power output and voltage was necessary, from April 6 2015 the requirement will be that the manufacturer, maximum continuous rated output and maximum assisted cutoff speed shall be marked on the cycle."

This should be in the form of a plate or permanent label bearing all three items of information, mounted in a prominent easily read location on the bicycle.

The 14 years minimum age limit law for riding a pedelec:

Northern Ireland has its own Road Traffic jurisdiction,
though they mainly follow ours. The mainland UK 1983 law as amended by the 2015 law were only adopted from 13th May 2020 in Northern Ireland. They already had the 14 years lowest age limit to ride pedelecs via our above 1988 RTA which they adopted there in their 1995 RTA. They also have the same EU regulations.

Original 2003 Motor Vehicle Type approval law with pedelecs exemption from being a motor vehicle in Article 2.2. (h):

Same thing but 2013 integrated version:

You don't need but may also desire a copy of BS1727 to understand the motor and battery testing and proof of compliance that originally supported the manufacturers data plate declaration of older e-bikes, but I can't let you have that or give you a link, as you need to pay a lot of money for it! It's not necessary to have this though.

The UK is also signed up to the relevant European technical standards for pedelecs, EN15194.
It's what really matters technically. You can download it to read on the link below in my web site:

Also, you may need the Construction & Use regulations for all bicycles, assisted or not:

Walk Assist Throttle
Although the EU has it's own walk assist law with 6kph (3.6 mph) limit, the UK's permitted Walk Assist throttle conditions such as the 4 mph assist limit and use of a self returning thumb throttle were derived from the UK law on pedestrian controlled vehicles which is in multiple parts in various laws relating to motor vehicles. The use of a walk throttle to get away from a standstill without pedalling while on board appears to be illegal, since a rider either seated on a bike or with a foot on a pedal as in scooting is not a pedestrian, as ruled by Waller L J in the Court of Appeal, (Crank v Brooks [1980] RTR 441). The many complexities that can occur in passing such legislation you might find interesting or just plain irritating in the debate in the House of Lords on the link below:

National law on conditional use of all bicycles on the pavements: (two Links)

Law permitting riding bicycles and pedelecs on Bridlepaths/ Bridleways:

This Countryside Act 1968 unusually only covered two wheeled bicycles, whereas most UK Bicycle law refers to Bicycles, Tricycles and Bicycles with four or more wheels. However, the government backed SUSTRANS organisation has since gained permission for pedelec Tricycles to use bridlepaths too. Still no permission for Quad pedelecs though.

Getting legal permission to have a fully acting "Twist and Go" throttle on a pedelec:

The Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval test now includes a sub-category for "Twist and go" electric bikes, which require type approval as Single Vehicle Approval (SVA), but which can otherwise be used like other normal pedelecs. Fewer modifications will now be needed for these machines to pass the test and gain type approval. The MSVA test costs £55 per individual vehicle.

Each individual bike must pass the Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval (MSVA) test. This provides UK-specific type approval (i.e. it is not valid in other EU countries) and the DfT regard these as legal bureaucracy free pedelecs.

The new class for Twist & Go EAPCs is called "250W LPM", a sub-category of the standard "Low Powered Moped", which is the L1e-A category which T&G EAPCs fell into before. The new edition of the test manual reduces the requirements somewhat for this new sub-category. For example, a kickstand is still required, but it does not have to auto-retract. Moped-like mirrors are now not required, etc., etc. Basically almost any legal pedelec meets the requirements, but check the PDF manual linked to below:


Grandfather Rights
The old 1983 EAPC regulations did not specify how pedelec power was to be applied, leaving the door open for any method including fully acting throttles. However the 2015 amendments to EU law barred such throttles, power only allowed by pedalling to be truly assist in nature. By convention though, existing machines from before 1st January 2016 had Grandfather Rights to remain as they were, this confirmed by a prior DfT statement of intentions at a joint consultation meeting with the industry and police on 13th April 2013.
HOWEVER
Be aware that to claim Grandfather Rights the pedelec should conform to the 1983 law in its entirety, and that means an assist power rating of 200 watts or less. Unfortunately most of the e-bikes supplied in the UK from the early 2000s to 2016 were 250 watts rated like the current law as a result of a DfT error in 2003, so technically they cannot legally have Grandfather Rights. However this legal nicety is unlikely to be a subject for challenge by any authority since the DfT didn't specify it when describing Grandfather Rights in that meeting. For the details on that 2003 DfT error see below:

The Evolution of a Power Rating problem

Back at 9th May 2003 the EU issued the two and three wheeled type approval law 2002/24/EU which contained the 2.2.(h) exemption for pedelecs to not be considered motor vehicles and thus remain bicycles. That specified these conditions to benefit from the exemption:

"(h) pedal cycles with pedal assistance which are equipped with an auxiliary electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power of less than or equal to 250 W, where the output of the motor is cut off when the cyclist stops pedalling and is otherwise progressively reduced and finally cut off before the vehicle speed reaches 25 km/h "

That type approval law was mandatory for all EU member nations and the regulation was accompanied by an order that all conflicting national law had to be removed within six months. Our UK law did conflict since it limited power to 200 watts, but the DfT passed the new EU regulation into law through parliament on 10th November 2003 without removing our conflicting law. The mandatory order is no longer available online from the EU but I copied and pasted the text and you can read it on this link:
www.flecc.co.uk/m/eu_directive.rtf

So from then on we appeared to have two conflicting laws, the UK law saying 200 watts, the EU 250 watts. In fact as an EU member the EU law always took precedence in our courts, but the DfT when asked wrongly said it was a matter for the courts in their muddled October 2005 document below:
www.flecc.co.uk/m/EAPC_guidelines.pdf

From 1999 the Japanese makers like Yamaha and Panasonic had wrongly assumed Britain also had EU law at that time, so supplied 250 watts anyway, with the Chinese and others following likewise, hence the twelve year legal tangle from 2003 to 2015.

E-Scooters
At the time of writing it appears these may be given limited legalisation shortly, but meanwhile machines resembling a child's scooter, but which are fitted with either an electric motor or an internal combustion engine, have been determined by two High Court judgements to be motor vehicles within the meaning of The Road Traffic Act 1988. Therefore not electric assist bikes. You will see this on page three in the EAPC guidelines linked to just above.

Kit Motors
Be aware that hardly any of the above applies to kits or any home construction, the regulations only being for manufactured pedelecs. So both individuals and suppliers operate in a legal vacuum in which all try to supply and/or use as closely conforming to the complete e-bike law as they can, trusting that is acceptable. That has always worked throughout all of Europe and the UK without any mention of a possible prosecution, providing the three main points of the law are adhered to, i.e. 250 watts maximum assist, 15.5 mph maximum assist speed and power only when pedalling.

However, I can tell you the legal way of dealing with a kit, athough no-one has ever done it:

1) Buy and fit the motor kit.
2) Make an appointment at an approved vehicle testing station, paying the £55 test fee.
3) Most often the purpose of this is to get an SVA (Single Vehicle Approval), entitling it for use as a type approved motor vehicle. However your intention will be to get the inspector to agree that it meets the pedelec requirements so is exempt from being a motor vehicle and is approved as a pedelec.

However, if you get and accept SVA approval as well at the same time, as specified earlier in getting legal permission, you will be able to have a fully acting throttle on a post December 2015 pedelec with it still considered a bureaucracy free pedelec, a bonus. I repeat though, no-one to my knowedge has ever done this to create a kit pedelec so it's never been necessary, but it is the DfT specified correct way when creating any motorised vehicle from more than one vehicle or from parts.

N.B. The DfT is increasingly referring to SVA as IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval), so you might need this for online linking in future.
In summary, legislators don't like kits, too many variables, so avoid their mention like the plague. Mainland Europe killed the kit car industry long ago and our laws have damaged it here too, so we are perhaps lucky that the lawyers don't pay attention to our little pedelec kit niche.

Powered Trailers
There is no law here or in the EU permitting powered trailers following a bicycle, whether pushing it or not, so the status of such a combination is even more difficult than that of kits. However there are very small numbers of such trailers on the road both here and in some parts of Europe, especially The Netherlands, so it appears to be another "blind eye" subject like kit bikes. Do it with fingers crossed. Alternatively you could permanently couple the trailer and bike as one vehicle and take the outfit through Single Vehicle Approval as a tricycle pedelec or quad pedelec.
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Thanks for all your time and effort in compiling that. Stay safe!
 
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Bobajob

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 1, 2019
294
128
Cornwall
I think many of you will be aware of what a complex subject electric assist bicycle law is and pitfalls in trying to second guess it. As a result, and with my knowledge of it since joining the trade 70 years ago, I'm often called upon in here to give answers on the subject. But of course I won't always be around and being at the Covid-19 peak vulnerability age I thought it best I record all the information links, clarifications and sources for others to get any answers they need on this subject. Some of necessity is on my web space and I'm making arrangements to ensure that stays online for a decade to make this post a reliable source to bookmark for the pedelec law sources and clarification details.

A legal, bureaucracy free pedelec is a bicycle and never a motor vehicle in relation to any usage laws. Thus laws intended specifically for motor vehicles like national speed limits never apply. There are many local authority and private premises limits that can apply to all bicycles though, and the UK lower age limit of 14 years for riding a pedelec.

1983 EAPC law, only now valid combined with amendments from the 2015 law below

6th April 2015 revisions to EAPC law

Clarification from the above link on the specification plate required on pedelecs

Plate (a) (i) is only for the historic e-bikes from before 6th April 2015.
Plate (a) (ii) is for all pedelecs since that date.

Confirmed as below by James Brown, International Vehicle Standards, Department for Transport:

"As part of the GB EAPC amending legislation, that will come into force on 6 April 2015, the requirement for the marking identification has been amended. Previously a plate showing the manufacturer, maximum continuous rated power output and voltage was necessary, from April 6 2015 the requirement will be that the manufacturer, maximum continuous rated output and maximum assisted cutoff speed shall be marked on the cycle."

This should be in the form of a plate or permanent label bearing all three items of information, mounted in a prominent easily read location on the bicycle.

The 14 years minimum age limit law for riding a pedelec:

Northern Ireland has its own Road Traffic jurisdiction,
though they mainly follow ours. The mainland UK 1983 law as amended by the 2015 law were only adopted from 13th May 2020 in Northern Ireland. They already had the 14 years lowest age limit to ride pedelecs via our above 1988 RTA which they adopted there in their 1995 RTA. They also have the same EU regulations.

Original 2003 Motor Vehicle Type approval law with pedelecs exemption from being a motor vehicle in Article 2.2. (h):

Same thing but 2013 integrated version:

You don't need but may also desire a copy of BS1727 to understand the motor and battery testing and proof of compliance that originally supported the manufacturers data plate declaration of older e-bikes, but I can't let you have that or give you a link, as you need to pay a lot of money for it! It's not necessary to have this though.

The UK is also signed up to the relevant European technical standards for pedelecs, EN15194.
It's what really matters technically. You can download it to read on the link below in my web site:

Also, you may need the Construction & Use regulations for all bicycles, assisted or not:

Walk Assist Throttle
Although the EU has it's own walk assist law with 6kph (3.6 mph) limit, the UK's permitted Walk Assist throttle conditions such as the 4 mph assist limit and use of a self returning thumb throttle were derived from the UK law on pedestrian controlled vehicles which is in multiple parts in various laws relating to motor vehicles. The use of a walk throttle to get away from a standstill without pedalling while on board appears to be illegal, since a rider either seated on a bike or with a foot on a pedal as in scooting is not a pedestrian, as ruled by Waller L J in the Court of Appeal, (Crank v Brooks [1980] RTR 441). The many complexities that can occur in passing such legislation you might find interesting or just plain irritating in the debate in the House of Lords on the link below:

National law on conditional use of all bicycles on the pavements: (two Links)

Law permitting riding bicycles and pedelecs on Bridlepaths/ Bridleways:

This Countryside Act 1968 unusually only covered two wheeled bicycles, whereas most UK Bicycle law refers to Bicycles, Tricycles and Bicycles with four or more wheels. However, the government backed SUSTRANS organisation has since gained permission for pedelec Tricycles to use bridlepaths too. Still no permission for Quad pedelecs though.

Getting legal permission to have a fully acting "Twist and Go" throttle on a pedelec:

The Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval test now includes a sub-category for "Twist and go" electric bikes, which require type approval as Single Vehicle Approval (SVA), but which can otherwise be used like other normal pedelecs. Fewer modifications will now be needed for these machines to pass the test and gain type approval. The MSVA test costs £55 per individual vehicle.

Each individual bike must pass the Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval (MSVA) test. This provides UK-specific type approval (i.e. it is not valid in other EU countries) and the DfT regard these as legal bureaucracy free pedelecs.

The new class for Twist & Go EAPCs is called "250W LPM", a sub-category of the standard "Low Powered Moped", which is the L1e-A category which T&G EAPCs fell into before. The new edition of the test manual reduces the requirements somewhat for this new sub-category. For example, a kickstand is still required, but it does not have to auto-retract. Moped-like mirrors are now not required, etc., etc. Basically almost any legal pedelec meets the requirements, but check the PDF manual linked to below:


Grandfather Rights
The old 1983 EAPC regulations did not specify how pedelec power was to be applied, leaving the door open for any method including fully acting throttles. However the 2015 amendments to EU law barred such throttles, power only allowed by pedalling to be truly assist in nature. By convention though, existing machines from before 1st January 2016 had Grandfather Rights to remain as they were, this confirmed by a prior DfT statement of intentions at a joint consultation meeting with the industry and police on 13th April 2013.
HOWEVER
Be aware that to claim Grandfather Rights the pedelec should conform to the 1983 law in its entirety, and that means an assist power rating of 200 watts or less. Unfortunately most of the e-bikes supplied in the UK from the early 2000s to 2016 were 250 watts rated like the current law as a result of a DfT error in 2003, so technically they cannot legally have Grandfather Rights. However this legal nicety is unlikely to be a subject for challenge by any authority since the DfT didn't specify it when describing Grandfather Rights in that meeting. For the details on that 2003 DfT error see below:

The Evolution of a Power Rating problem

Back at 9th May 2003 the EU issued the two and three wheeled type approval law 2002/24/EU which contained the 2.2.(h) exemption for pedelecs to not be considered motor vehicles and thus remain bicycles. That specified these conditions to benefit from the exemption:

"(h) pedal cycles with pedal assistance which are equipped with an auxiliary electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power of less than or equal to 250 W, where the output of the motor is cut off when the cyclist stops pedalling and is otherwise progressively reduced and finally cut off before the vehicle speed reaches 25 km/h "

That type approval law was mandatory for all EU member nations and the regulation was accompanied by an order that all conflicting national law had to be removed within six months. Our UK law did conflict since it limited power to 200 watts, but the DfT passed the new EU regulation into law through parliament on 10th November 2003 without removing our conflicting law. The mandatory order is no longer available online from the EU but I copied and pasted the text and you can read it on this link:
www.flecc.co.uk/m/eu_directive.rtf

So from then on we appeared to have two conflicting laws, the UK law saying 200 watts, the EU 250 watts. In fact as an EU member the EU law always took precedence in our courts, but the DfT when asked wrongly said it was a matter for the courts in their muddled October 2005 document below:
www.flecc.co.uk/m/EAPC_guidelines.pdf

From 1999 the Japanese makers like Yamaha and Panasonic had wrongly assumed Britain also had EU law at that time, so supplied 250 watts anyway, with the Chinese and others following likewise, hence the twelve year legal tangle from 2003 to 2015.

E-Scooters
At the time of writing it appears these may be given limited legalisation shortly, but meanwhile machines resembling a child's scooter, but which are fitted with either an electric motor or an internal combustion engine, have been determined by two High Court judgements to be motor vehicles within the meaning of The Road Traffic Act 1988. Therefore not electric assist bikes. You will see this on page three in the EAPC guidelines linked to just above.

Kit Motors
Be aware that hardly any of the above applies to kits or any home construction, the regulations only being for manufactured pedelecs. So both individuals and suppliers operate in a legal vacuum in which all try to supply and/or use as closely conforming to the complete e-bike law as they can, trusting that is acceptable. That has always worked throughout all of Europe and the UK without any mention of a possible prosecution, providing the three main points of the law are adhered to, i.e. 250 watts maximum assist, 15.5 mph maximum assist speed and power only when pedalling.

However, I can tell you the legal way of dealing with a kit, athough no-one has ever done it:

1) Buy and fit the motor kit.
2) Make an appointment at an approved vehicle testing station, paying the £55 test fee.
3) Most often the purpose of this is to get an SVA (Single Vehicle Approval), entitling it for use as a type approved motor vehicle. However your intention will be to get the inspector to agree that it meets the pedelec requirements so is exempt from being a motor vehicle and is approved as a pedelec.

However, if you get and accept SVA approval as well at the same time, as specified earlier in getting legal permission, you will be able to have a fully acting throttle on a post December 2015 pedelec with it still considered a bureaucracy free pedelec, a bonus. I repeat though, no-one to my knowedge has ever done this to create a kit pedelec so it's never been necessary, but it is the DfT specified correct way when creating any motorised vehicle from more than one vehicle or from parts.

N.B. The DfT is increasingly referring to SVA as IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval), so you might need this for online linking in future.
In summary, legislators don't like kits, too many variables, so avoid their mention like the plague. Mainland Europe killed the kit car industry long ago and our laws have damaged it here too, so we are perhaps lucky that the lawyers don't pay attention to our little pedelec kit niche.

Powered Trailers
There is no law here or in the EU permitting powered trailers following a bicycle, whether pushing it or not, so the status of such a combination is even more difficult than that of kits. However there are very small numbers of such trailers on the road both here and in some parts of Europe, especially The Netherlands, so it appears to be another "blind eye" subject like kit bikes. Do it with fingers crossed. Alternatively you could permanently couple the trailer and bike as one vehicle and take the outfit through Single Vehicle Approval as a tricycle pedelec or quad pedelec.
.
brilliant post flecc thanks so much.
 
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jdallan

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 18, 2013
297
158
An excellent post Flecc, thank you. Also many thanks for the sensible advice you have posted over the years; I know I and many others have benefitted from it over the years.

Jim
 
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flash

Pedelecer
Apr 1, 2009
148
47
65
CW12
I'll be 104 then ! :D



Already done that.

Just ignore everything they say and do what you think best from your life experience. It's what I've been doing and I think that of the average 10 year old's life experience would exceed the quality of this government's advice to date.
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My father gave up cycling in his eighties started again at 90 he is 103 this year, alas no longer cycling but still as bright as a button. well pe*d off by being locked down at present. So expect to see you putting us right in another 25 years. As for your advice on the government you are spot on.
Keep on rockin in the free world.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,492
23,311
I've been asked for the following clarifications in another thread, so am answering below all the questions:

Although these laws do not apply to kits, there isn't anything in writing to say that they are ok either?

Why do kits still need to conform to the 250W power limit and speed cut off limit and power only when pedalling, if the pedelec rules don't apply to kits?

With the existing laws, does it specifically say that they only apply to manufacturers? I don't want to seem unnecessarily pedantic, I'd just like to see where it says that in writing.

The other thing i was wondering is whether a twist and go throttle would still contravene the 1963 law about pedestrian controlled vehicles and having power from a standing start?


My answer starts with the Highway Act 1835 which banned all or any motorised vehicle from public roads, having the effect that ever since then any type of motorised vehicle has to have a specific permission in law to be used on the road.

In our pedelecs case that is the 1983 EAPC Construction and Use regulation, amended 2015, and the construction aspect is also subject to EU regulation 168/2013 , now incorporated into UK law by the UK's Great Repeal Bill of 2019.

But those pedelec regulations are specifically for manufacturers in various ways. As examples, the 1983/2015 EAPC regulation refers to manufacturer plating requirements, rather like the VIN number regulation on cars, we can't just invent our own.

And 168/2013 is the Two and Three Wheel Motor Vehicle Type Approval Regulation. Firstly only manufactured vehicles can be type approved since individually created motor vehicles have their own system, Single Vehicle Approval. The only reason 168/2013 comes into it is that it contains an exemption, ruling that legally compliant pedelecs are not subject to type approval and are therefore not motor vehicles in law. If we cannot have self created pedelecs type approved since such machines have Single Vehicle Approval, we cannot use that exemption, there's no "pick and mix" with laws.

Basically in the absence of any specific permission, individually created pedelecs are not legal on the roads, so being legally non existent they don't need to conform to the existing rules. However, where the law doesn't provide, tolerance is often practiced to deal with the omission. For example, between 2003 and 2015 at least 90% of all pedelecs on UK roads were illegal because of a legal mixup on maximum power. The DfT knew it, the police knew it but normally took no notice. On one occasion when a police officer tried to prosecute a rider, we intervened and got the DfT to first overrule the police, then issue a waiver applying to all GB police forces preventing them from prosecuting on that ground.

So with kits we assume tolerance applies and to show goodwill we comply to the existing rules for manufactured pedelecs, making it easy for the authorities to allow that tolerance. The DfT are far from dumb, they know what the position is and are happy to ignore it, just so long as we don't suddenly create a big spike in road accidents, embarrassing them. That tolerance is why during EU membership they created the 250LPM class referred to below to help us out, despite it being illegal in the EU.

Finally on twist and go, use of a throttle from a standstill while on board is technically illegal, unless you take the bike through Single Vehicle Approval as sub class 250LPM permitted to have the throttle. However, no-one is ever going to prosecute for that illegal use, just so long as you don't suddenly take off and mow someone down.
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Last edited:

Gavin

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 11, 2020
315
173
Thanks @flecc, this is a really useful resource. There's a lot of information in this thread that many of us "ebike converters" should know.

As with many things in life, it isn't necessarily how much you know but how confidently you articulate yourself. So if I ever get pulled by a copper on my bike, I'll confidently quote the Highway Act 1835 at him/ her and (hopefully) watch them run back to the police station!

Thanks again
 
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,492
23,311
So if I ever get pulled by a copper on my bike, I'll confidently quote the Highway Act 1835 at him/ her and (hopefully) watch them run back to the police station!
You or others may be interested in the background to that 1835 act.

In 1826, Cornish mining engineer Richard Trevithick used one of his mine's steam pumping engines to power a road going vehicle, and with several of his mates on board drove to the next village, on what was almost certainly the first ever road going motor vehicle in the world.

News of his exploit spread and several others followed suit over the years. But parliament became aware and were duly horrified at the prospects for frightening horses and making ladies swoon, so they passed the 1835 Highway Act, which banned all "locomotives" from the roads.

The term locomotive continued to be used for motor vehicle laws from 1861 until the Motor Car Act 1903.
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,492
23,311
@flecc, very interesting. If I ever end up in this position....


....I'll be calling you as my defence witness!
I'd probably be struggling to defend whatever you did. In that same year the 1861 Locomotive Act restricted all vehicles to 10 mph maximum, which doesn't leave much room for tolerance.
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