Pedelec Law - The Details

WallyM

Pedelecer
Aug 10, 2020
39
18
First of all thank you for all the info in one place, i am still in the process to digest and read everything. But I have one question- if I buy a Pedelec in Holland or Germany (with EU guidelines) is it ok to drive it here in England ?
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
14,540
5,638
58
West Sx RH
Yes if it is 250w rated, beware of the Speed pedelecs models as they aren't legal here if not insured and licenced.
 
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sjpt

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 8, 2018
2,725
2,119
First of all thank you for all the info in one place, i am still in the process to digest and read everything. But I have one question- if I buy a Pedelec in Holland or Germany (with EU guidelines) is it ok to drive it here in England ?
Yes; one of the benefits of harmonization of regulations ... hopefully that will continue when we leave EU. It must have the nominal 250w (or less) motor and speed limited to 25kph. Watch out for which side the brakes are mounted.
 
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WallyM

Pedelecer
Aug 10, 2020
39
18
That you for your valuable responses, that is giving me a big relief. well - 250 Watt it is then.
 

PP100

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 28, 2020
252
147
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.
.
You joined the trade 70 years ago? Were you a kid at the time? Just how old are you?
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
49,289
27,001
You joined the trade 70 years ago? Were you a kid at the time? Just how old are you?
I'm 84 and started full time work at 14 years old.

That wasn't unusual in those days when there weren't all the intrusive and restrictive personal laws we have now. For example at 11 years old with three part time jobs I worked/schooled a thirteen hour day Monday to Friday and an 11 hour day on Saturdays, earning exactly the same as I did when I eventually left school to work full time.

Of course that would be very illegal in many ways these days, making the employers liable to prosecution which I regard as very silly, since I trust you can judge that it did me no harm in terms of longevity, health and ability.
.
 

Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
1,848
453
75
I'm 84 and started full time work at 14 years old.

That wasn't unusual in those days when there weren't all the intrusive and restrictive personal laws we have now. For example at 11 years old with three part time jobs I worked/schooled a thirteen hour day Monday to Friday and an 11 hour day on Saturdays, earning exactly the same as I did when I eventually left school to work full time.

Of course that would be very illegal in many ways these days, making the employers liable to prosecution which I regard as very silly, since I trust you can judge that it did me no harm in terms of longevity, health and ability.
.
It was normal, even though I am not quite 74, I had my first job at 12 as a Butcher's boy, on a delivery bike, tracking miles around Waltham Abbey in 1958/9. It was hard, especially in Winter snow....
Then I worked, in a Garage, greasing car suspensions, changing oil and filters. Till the sales manager picked a fight with me (he slugged me under the chin with a grease gun while he was drunk, he drank his midday meal....) and I put him out.
I was covered in his blood when I arrived home, and my father thought it was mine, did not wait to hear that he was the loser and lying on the floor, and jumped into his car, to "sort him out!"
He came back 2 hours later, and he was grinning, after taking him to the local hospital!
Other than a huge bruise on my neck (which if frontal, would have killed me I later found out!), I was unharmed. My Mother had to keep telling my Father to stop grinning!!!!!!!
The salesman eventually apologised.....several months later, as his boss told him to apologise or leave!
After that escapade, I was taken on by an ex motor bike racer, after school and at weekends, who had opened a Motorbike shop nearby. He taught me a huge amount about engines and the like, knowledge I still have today.
I worked there till I was 17, when I decided to join the Navy as a Mechanician, with advanced promotion, at 17, instead of leaving school later and going to a uni. I was just sick of Grammar School.
A decision I have never regretted as it got me eventually into university in the navy and afterwards. In the RN I served almost 12 years in all.
Story over, but I just wanted to agree with you, that was how we made money in those days as young men.....it was not just given to us!!!
regards
Andy
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
49,289
27,001
It was normal, even though I am not quite 74, I had my first job at 12 as a Butcher's boy, on a delivery bike, tracking miles around Waltham Abbey in 1958/9. It was hard, especially in Winter snow....
Some close parallels there Andy!

My Saturday job from 11 years old was also as a butcher's boy on a trade bike, in the mornings delivering weekend joints and collecting the cash. Then in the afternoons helping Sid the junior butcher in making the sausages for the following week, then helping in the big cleanup ready for the following weeks shop trading.

And like you I went to a grammar school which in my case was as useless as any school could possibly be, so I wasted no time in getting out and into work. I also caught up on education in my forces years, the Army in my case.
.
 
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Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
1,848
453
75
Some close parallels there Andy!

My Saturday job from 11 years old was also as a butcher's boy on a trade bike, in the mornings delivering weekend joints and collecting the cash. Then in the afternoons helping Sid the junior butcher in making the sausages for the following week, then helping in the big cleanup ready for the following weeks shop trading.

And like you I went to a grammar school which in my case was as useless as any school could possibly be, so I wasted no time in getting out and into work. I also caught up on education in my forces years, the Army in my case.
.
Grammar schools THEN, were only really orientated for people with two left hands, wanting to be eventually in parliament or property developement IMHO.
Some of my colleagues are/were just that. One is/was a professor at Oxford (my chess partner!).
For the boys, woodwork was the only practical craft available that (still) interests me. The ladies had cooking, which I requested and was turned down flat, not for boys!!
Though I have cooked for most of my life, as a hobby only, from the age of 6 or 7....Mum was our (my brother as well who is still a formidable cook and professional A*rsehole!) teacher.
I spent my lunch times either playing chess or designing and making stuff in the woodwork workshop.
This had two lathes, one for metal that I eventually, with no help, taught myself to use, and one for wood, where I made fruit bowls like a nut case. I made them of quality wood and they were considered to be far too thin in the eyes of the woodwork master, who told me they would (wood?) not last 6 months. In fact, all the ones for my family, all lasted 40 or more years.....
On the metal work lathe I made a servo for an RC plane, just from my head (12 or 13 y.o.), there being no plans anywhere I looked. It was a bit heavy but powerful, and it worked! I was chuffed to bits and my woodwork master was blown out the water!! It was meant as a replacement for a rubber band escapement, but the plane could not take the weight!
I also made a binary add & subtract, using multi pole switches and small light bulbs, demonstrating an early interest in computing I feel. Up to 3F FFFF in Hexadecimal.
I did a small amount of boxing (damn dangerous sport!) to please my Dad, which was useful if aggressive idiots in the RN wanted to do battle I found! And Rugby (football was banned!) to please myself....
Dear flecc, you have reminded me of some very faded memories, many, many thanks.
Andy
 

Edward Elizabeth

Pedelecer
Aug 10, 2020
136
191
Buckinghamshire
Grammar schools THEN, were only really orientated for people with two left hands, wanting to be eventually in parliament or property developement IMHO.
I think your humble opinion may be wrong. I went to grammar school then, joined the Army and ended a successful 24 year career as a Major. I now have a successful consultancy practice advising upon logistics and security in conflict zones and areas of the World with questionable rule of law. I'm quite glad I didn't leave school at 14 to be an apprentice something or other.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
49,289
27,001
I think your humble opinion may be wrong. I went to grammar school then, joined the Army and ended a successful 24 year career as a Major. I now have a successful consultancy practice advising upon logistics and security in conflict zones and areas of the World with questionable rule of law. I'm quite glad I didn't leave school at 14 to be an apprentice something or other.
A lot of variation I think, both in grammar schools and individuals. Back in the 1940s my older brother passed the scholarship and went to a grammar school he enjoyed at Isleworth, but then we moved and he had to transfer to the useless grammar school that I was to suffer later. He found it as useless as I did and left early without any qualifications to get into work.

We had to do national service back then and in his he gained a short service commission. He then had a successful civilian career during which he also broadcast on both radio and TV on his subject and at one time ran an experimental facility for ICI, finishing his working years in consultancy. His son gained a commission in the army at 18 and spent his life in service, also ending as major and today in retirement is a range officer for the army in North Yorkshire looking after environmental matters. His two children in turn are both currently commissioned officers, son in the Yorkshire Regiment, daughter in the Royal Signals.

Turning to myself, Idid gain three promotions as an NCO but didn't want to try for a commission having very different ambitions, one of which in very early life was never to be poor since our parents were poor East Enders and often struggled in life for a variety of reasons. Hence my working hard at the age of 11 and paying towards my keep from then on, culminating at 24 years old in buying a bungalow for my parents to live in free of any charge for the 40 years of the rest of their lives. Having seen so many dying before achieving any retirement, another ambition from the age of 16 was to retire early which I achieved at 54 years old. A remaining ambition was to do as little in harness as possible in which I succeeded by only being employed for 38 years during the 40 following starting work at 14, the other two years taken off work in two evenly spaced sabbaticals, enjoying life.

In addition to those two happy years, since 54 years old I've lived in retirement for 30 years in some affluence, during that 30 years with six brand new cars in succession, currently a full electric one.

Neither my brother, recently deceased at 87, or myself now 84 had any regrets about leaving a grammar school early and not entering university, since we both had very successful careers, and for myself a very easy life for most of its span to date.
.
 
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Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
1,848
453
75
I think your humble opinion may be wrong. I went to grammar school then, joined the Army and ended a successful 24 year career as a Major. I now have a successful consultancy practice advising upon logistics and security in conflict zones and areas of the World with questionable rule of law. I'm quite glad I didn't leave school at 14 to be an apprentice something or other.
...but you were not at my Grammar School I believe, and at the same time as I was there, now were you?
When were you in a grammar school?
I will restate that was how they looked at things when I was there.
Remember, it was a Rugby only, cricket in the summer school, where all forms of football were forbidden, for example.
It was one of around 10 or so others, all of the same "persuasion"......we played each other at Rugby and tennis....
Mine was in Hertfordshire.
Grammar schools went through some "hoops" from the then labour government of Harols Wilson, between 1965 and 1970, which I myself hated, hence RN! Apparently, after 1976 it got a bit better....I was long gone!
In retrospect, my biggest failure was passing the 11+ with an extremely high grade........sadly!
Andy
 
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grey delite

Just Joined
Sep 16, 2015
2
2
83
I'm not at all sure that I can follow all the ins and outs of this but If I were to buy a used s-pedelec on eBay, is it possible to detune it so that the motor cuts out at 15.5mph and is then able to be legally operated without all the faff of licensing insurance etc.? And how would I go about it?
 

soundwave

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 23, 2015
11,759
4,831
I'm not at all sure that I can follow all the ins and outs of this but If I were to buy a used s-pedelec on eBay, is it possible to detune it so that the motor cuts out at 15.5mph and is then able to be legally operated without all the faff of licensing insurance etc.? And how would I go about it?
i have been riding my bike around since 2014 with a dongle going 30mph the police are not interested unless you kill some one.

there is a gang of 15 kids all flying round on scooters and there not road legal yet plod dont do jack ;)
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
9,822
3,931
Basildon
I'm not at all sure that I can follow all the ins and outs of this but If I were to buy a used s-pedelec on eBay, is it possible to detune it so that the motor cuts out at 15.5mph and is then able to be legally operated without all the faff of licensing insurance etc.? And how would I go about it?
Probably not legally. First of all, nobody is checking, so it's a bit academic. The problem you have is that it will be plated as an S-pedelec with the speed on the plate. You'd have to remove that and put on a new plate that shows thee new speed of 15.5 mph without it looking like an amateur job because if there were any suspicion, they could check the history through the serial number.

The idea is flawed in that you can buy the non-S-pedelec version and you wouldn't need to do anything
 
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mdepps

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 15, 2020
20
8
i have been riding my bike around since 2014 with a dongle going 30mph the police are not interested unless you kill some one.

there is a gang of 15 kids all flying round on scooters and there not road legal yet plod dont do jack ;)
Interesting point about scooters here. They are illegal, but tolerated and as yet unregulated. A kid at the garage where I had my car repaired has a scooter with a 2600W motor, and he wants to upgrade! And obviously he can ride with a throttle, which we, supposedly aren't allowed to do. With Covid and climate awareness scooters are suddenly ideal, so pressure is now on governments to legalise. If they do, then they will obviously limit the engine size in line with ebikes, and then there will be no logical reason to ban throttles from ebikes any more. At this point they will hopefully have a look at the maximum cutout speed too, and maybe just implement the 20mph US standard.

Nailed on EU remainer, but there's now an opportunity to align ourselves with a more liberal standard over the pond..
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
49,289
27,001
Nailed on EU remainer, but there's now an opportunity to align ourselves with a more liberal standard over the pond..
I'm afraid this widely held view is a myth Mark.

I often get the impression from posts that members think our UK/EU laws are tough and that there's a free-for-all in many other places. As the following will show, nothing could be further from the truth, and that includes much of the USA as seen further down.

Mainland Europe of course has a single standard which all but the UK and Germany strictly follow. Many other countries follow EU law, including the EEC countries, Turkey and Australia for example, Japan's is similar but very much tougher. China has adopted EU law but is delaying implementation to get a smoother transition.. Malaya has announced that it is banning e-bikes, something which has happened in some Chinese cities and city areas.

The videos seen from the USA of 1500 watt or greater e-bikes doing amazing things are mostly off-road or on remote tracks, since nowhere in the USA is more than 1000 watts permitted. Federal law says 750 watts and 20 mph assist, so what? My legally bought and operated e-bike peaks at 1000 watts, and it's the second I've owned like it. US states can pass their own laws which override Federal law but none have gone above 1000 watts or 30 mph and most states stick to federal law.

First the bits where the US state laws are easier, States can appear in more than one section, both easier and stricter:

These 8 states permit 1000 watts:

California, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington DC.

These 2 states permit 25 mph assist:

Louisiana, Pennsylvania.

These 2 states permit 30 mph assist:

Connecticut, Idaho.

N.B. None of these higher speed and 1000 watt states coincide. Perverse indeed.

Now for the bad news!!

There are 50 states plus Washington DC, which is a federal district, and here's shock number one. Over a quarter of them require some form of driving licence to ride an e-bike on roads! And shock number two is that e-bikes are banned from almost all state federal highways.

These states until very recently totally banned e-bikes and still refuse to register them:

New York State, Illinois.

They are still subject to restrictions, for example e-bikes can only be used on roads in New York State with speed limits no higher than 30 mph. Elsewhere they are illegal.

These 13 states require a moped licence or some other form of drivers licence:

Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington.

These 4 states require e-bike registration:

Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania.

These 4 states require helmet wearing:

California, Tennessee, Washington, Massachusetts for under 16s on any bicycle.

These 4 states have minimum age limits at or above the UK's 14 years to ride an ebike:

Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, Virginia.

These states require third party insurance, plus vehicle inspection before going on the road.

North Dakota, Pennsylvania

Nevada requires full lights and mirror fitted.

Virginia requires compliance with motor vehicle laws when on road.

This chaotic national situation means it's very easy to fall foul of the police any time an e-bike rider crosses a state line.

So there you are, the grass on the other side isn't quite as green as I bet many of you thought previously. The UK and Europe aren't so bad for e-biking after all, remember that these EU countries, Germany, The Netherlands and Denmark allow much more, 28 mph S class ebikes with minimal bureaucracy. And if the European parliament recommendation for complete removal of power limits ever comes about, there will be many other countries getting jealous of us!
.
 
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mdepps

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 15, 2020
20
8
I'm afraid this widely held view is a myth Mark.

I often get the impression from posts that members think our UK/EU laws are tough and that there's a free-for-all in many other places. As the following will show, nothing could be further from the truth, and that includes much of the USA as seen further down.

Mainland Europe of course has a single standard which all but the UK and Germany strictly follow. Many other countries follow EU law, including the EEC countries, Turkey and Australia for example, Japan's is similar but very much tougher. China has adopted EU law but is delaying implementation to get a smoother transition.. Malaya has announced that it is banning e-bikes, something which has happened in some Chinese cities and city areas.

The videos seen from the USA of 1500 watt or greater e-bikes doing amazing things are mostly off-road or on remote tracks, since nowhere in the USA is more than 1000 watts permitted. Federal law says 750 watts and 20 mph assist, so what? My legally bought and operated e-bike peaks at 1000 watts, and it's the second I've owned like it. US states can pass their own laws which override Federal law but none have gone above 1000 watts or 30 mph and most states stick to federal law.

First the bits where the US state laws are easier, States can appear in more than one section, both easier and stricter:

These 8 states permit 1000 watts:

California, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington DC.

These 2 states permit 25 mph assist:

Louisiana, Pennsylvania.

These 2 states permit 30 mph assist:

Connecticut, Idaho.

N.B. None of these higher speed and 1000 watt states coincide. Perverse indeed.

Now for the bad news!!

There are 50 states plus Washington DC, which is a federal district, and here's shock number one. Over a quarter of them require some form of driving licence to ride an e-bike on roads! And shock number two is that e-bikes are banned from almost all state federal highways.

These states until very recently totally banned e-bikes and still refuse to register them:

New York State, Illinois.

They are still subject to restrictions, for example e-bikes can only be used on roads in New York State with speed limits no higher than 30 mph. Elsewhere they are illegal.

These 13 states require a moped licence or some other form of drivers licence:

Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington.

These 4 states require e-bike registration:

Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Pennsylvania.

These 4 states require helmet wearing:

California, Tennessee, Washington, Massachusetts for under 16s on any bicycle.

These 4 states have minimum age limits at or above the UK's 14 years to ride an ebike:

Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, Virginia.

These states require third party insurance, plus vehicle inspection before going on the road.

North Dakota, Pennsylvania

Nevada requires full lights and mirror fitted.

Virginia requires compliance with motor vehicle laws when on road.

This chaotic national situation means it's very easy to fall foul of the police any time an e-bike rider crosses a state line.

So there you are, the grass on the other side isn't quite as green as I bet many of you thought previously. The UK and Europe aren't so bad for e-biking after all, remember that these EU countries, Germany, The Netherlands and Denmark allow much more, 28 mph S class ebikes with minimal bureaucracy. And if the European parliament recommendation for complete removal of power limits ever comes about, there will be many other countries getting jealous of us!
.
Well you schooled me there. Thanks!
 
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soundwave

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 23, 2015
11,759
4,831
These states until very recently totally banned e-bikes and still refuse to register them:

his bike goes over 40mph and has had it for years plod does nothing! and he got a ebike after he got ran over buy one pmsl.

he has also burnt 2 down to the floor with dodgy batts 6ft high flames and next to no bike left ;)