Pedelec Law - The Details

guerney

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 7, 2021
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All these more complex arguments will come to nought once a case is referred to a senior court such as the high court, appeal court or supreme court. There one or more senior judges, often with the assistance and advice of a master at the high court, will decide what the spirit of the law is. i.e. What parliament intended.

That can only have one outcome since the spirit of the law is contained within its title:

Electric Assist Pedal Cycles

i.e. The electrical element is only there to help the rider propel the bicycle, so merely spinning the pedals does not constitute the rider propelling the bicycle with the motor assisting.
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Therefore, can I get away with it if "In use", I only engaged the 15.5mph limited throttle after I started pedalling, and disengaged the throttle shortly before ceasing pedalling? It's illegal according to the letter of the law, but might not be in it's "Spirit". But I'll leave my throttle disconnected for now, despite all the agony from my damaged and aged knees while starting at lights, or after a sudden stop at high gear, or on very steep hills etc.
 
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Michael Price

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 7, 2018
258
168
If I installed a 250w mid drive kit onto a bike made in 2006, can I legally use the throttle exclusively to propel the bike to 15.5mph?
Others have talked about several reasons why not
but also - the pre 2016 regulation allow for a throttle BUT they also limit the power to 200W rather than the current 250W
So - another no

I do miss my throttle on my old bike - but the extra power is great!
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,842
28,677
Therefore, can I get away with it if "In use", I only engaged the 15.5mph limited throttle after I started pedalling, and disengaged the throttle shortly before ceasing pedalling? It's illegal according to the letter of the law, but might not be in it's "Spirit". But I'll leave my throttle disconnected for now, despite all the agony from my damaged and aged knees while starting at lights, or after a sudden stop at high gear, or on very steep hills etc.
I doubt you need worry about this law on throttles since it clearly isn't being policed. The DfT only introduced the change in the law in 2015 to tidy up the old anomaly on power ratings, so while they were about it they decided the easiest thing to do was to fully align with the EU law which banned fully acting throttles.

One year later we had the referendum which eventually took us out of the EU, a cruel irony!

In the interim period before departure, the DfT introduced a bureacratic way to allow throttles by going through a single vehicle approval test. That was in response to a consultation when we made it clear we wanted our throttles back. However, since that still breached EU law it was a rather silly move, but obviously they meant well to try to please us.

We can see that they are not in any way against us having throttles but have got themselves into a political trap. Despite Brexit, our politicians want to keep legal alignment with the EU on key factors like transport since it makes any future agreements so much easier to reach, so that makes it difficult for the DfT to reverse out of what they did in 2015.

Meanwhile the roads have thousands of e-bikes with throttles, some legally, some illegally and the police have no idea how to tell which is which. All that really matters is to have a 250 watt rated e-bike that cuts power at 15.5 mph, 17 mph in practice since the DfT have confirmed that the usual 10% tolerance is allowed. These two things are what the police can easily check so that's all they are likely to do.

So it's up to you whether you want to take a miniscule risk by using a throttle. In the unlikely event you did get pulled over and that is found, just act innocent and surprised, saying you had no idea it wasn't allowed. All that will happen then is they'll give you a warning to disconnect it since everything else about your machine is legal.

But again, even the chance of that happening is vanishingly small. The police really do have better things to do.
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vidtek

Esteemed Pedelecer
Mar 29, 2015
317
153
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Bournemouth BH12
Therefore, can I get away with it if "In use", I only engaged the 15.5mph limited throttle after I started pedalling, and disengaged the throttle shortly before ceasing pedalling? It's illegal according to the letter of the law, but might not be in it's "Spirit". But I'll leave my throttle disconnected for now, despite all the agony from my damaged and aged knees while starting at lights, or after a sudden stop at high gear, or on very steep hills etc.
I have not had a problem, chatting to police on the ground on the prom, they were quite interested in the bike and we discussed the throttle issue. I was not at all surprised by their complete ignorance of the law regarding throttles, they did not have a clue. They also have more important things to concern themselves with all the trippers dossing down on the beach in Bournemouth at the time.

I think it is basically a non-issue and it will only be fully resolved when there is an accident and the bike involved is forensically scrutinized after a serious incident. In the meantime I will continue to use my throttle to help me start off particularly on an incline. I won't concern myself over some obscure legal nicety especially where my safety is concerned.
 
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Fozziebear40

Finding my (electric) wheels
Jun 20, 2021
16
10
I have not had a problem, chatting to police on the ground on the prom, they were quite interested in the bike and we discussed the throttle issue. I was not at all surprised by their complete ignorance of the law regarding throttles, they did not have a clue. They also have more important things to concern themselves with all the trippers dossing down on the beach in Bournemouth at the time.

I think it is basically a non-issue and it will only be fully resolved when there is an accident and the bike involved is forensically scrutinized after a serious incident. In the meantime I will continue to use my throttle to help me start off particularly on an incline. I won't concern myself over some obscure legal nicety especially where my safety is concerned.
I've not cycled for 20 years (I'm 59 now) due to a back problem which left me with a weak left leg. My wife wanted a bike to learn to ride (don't ask :)) wanted electric to cycle with her friend. Couldn't find one, Covid etc and not being able to shop, so we ordered a cheap Chinese fold-up, Fiido D4S. I had to give it a go :p ....... amazing, I'm back on 2 wheels! The throttle is the key, kick start, pedal away. Use the throttle at the start, let it go when cycling. My wife said never seen me smile like that. Suffice to say I've ordered a Wisper Wayfarer (legal throttle) for my 60th birthday and as we are moving to Shropshire, country lanes, bridleways here I come.
 

Tim@Wisper

Trade Member
May 6, 2021
20
5
I've not cycled for 20 years (I'm 59 now) due to a back problem which left me with a weak left leg. My wife wanted a bike to learn to ride (don't ask :)) wanted electric to cycle with her friend. Couldn't find one, Covid etc and not being able to shop, so we ordered a cheap Chinese fold-up, Fiido D4S. I had to give it a go :p ....... amazing, I'm back on 2 wheels! The throttle is the key, kick start, pedal away. Use the throttle at the start, let it go when cycling. My wife said never seen me smile like that. Suffice to say I've ordered a Wisper Wayfarer (legal throttle) for my 60th birthday and as we are moving to Shropshire, country lanes, bridleways here I come.
Great to hear! We hope you enjoy your bike! All the best, Tim
 

BazP

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 8, 2017
358
174
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Sheffield
I'm afraid the police cannot do any enforcement in respect of bicycle bells Andy.

Originally there had never been a law requiring bells on bicycles, but in 1999 legislation was passed requiring all new bicycles to be sold with bells, but with no requirement for the bell to be fitted or compulsion for a cyclist to use them. The Highway Code rule 66 merely suggests the use of one. Therefore from then on a bicycle seller only needed to hand a loose bell to a buyer of a bicycle to comply with the law.

If you see that as ridiculous as I'm sure we all do, it gets worse.

In 2011 a "Red Tape Challenge" was mounted (one against useless laws) and the 1999 legislation was cancelled, so there's now no law on having a bell or any warning device on a bicycle.
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I know that the above comments pertain to bells but I was wondering if the same applied to the use, after purchase, of pedal and spoke reflectors.
I ask because I recently came across a Facebook site devoted to banning all cyclists from using canal towpaths. The main voice on that site is continuously stating, and quoting the Highway Code, that any cycle not having the above is an illegal one and that applies to 99% of bikes that use canal paths.
As I initially suspected, he is a boat owner.
Thank you in advance.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,842
28,677
I know that the above comments pertain to bells but I was wondering if the same applied to the use, after purchase, of pedal and spoke reflectors.
I ask because I recently came across a Facebook site devoted to banning all cyclists from using canal towpaths. The main voice on that site is continuously stating, and quoting the Highway Code, that any cycle not having the above is an illegal one and that applies to 99% of bikes that use canal paths.
As I initially suspected, he is a boat owner.
Thank you in advance.
He is wrong.

The requirement in law for bicycles to have front and rear of pedal orange pedal reflectors and a red rear reflector is the same as that for lighting, only in force between sunset and sunrise. If the bike is only ridden in daylight they are not necessary. There is no law requiring spoke reflectors to be fitted, though the law requires that each new bike has to be supplied with them fitted. It's perfectly legal to take them off if you wish.**

Highway Code advice has no force in law. Courts do sometimes use it as a guide to assess the sense of responsibility of a person appearing before them, but it cannot be used to determine guilt.


**
The Pedal Cycles (Safety) Regulations (PCSR) ensure that every new bicycle is sold with several extra reflectors, some of which are not required by RVLR (you may have seen bikes with yellow or white reflectors placed in the spokes).
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BazP

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 8, 2017
358
174
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Sheffield
He is wrong.

The requirement in law for bicycles to have front and rear of pedal orange pedal reflectors and a red rear reflector is the same as that for lighting, only in force between sunset and sunrise. If the bike is only ridden in daylight they are not necessary. There is no law requiring spoke reflectors to be fitted, though the law requires that each new bike has to be supplied with them fitted. It's perfectly legal to take them off if you wish.**

Highway Code advice has no force in law. Courts do sometimes use it as a guide to assess the sense of responsibility of a person appearing before them, but it cannot be used to determine guilt.


**
The Pedal Cycles (Safety) Regulations (PCSR) ensure that every new bicycle is sold with several extra reflectors, some of which are not required by RVLR (you may have seen bikes with yellow or white reflectors placed in the spokes).
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Many thanks for the reply.
Would these lighting regulations for public roads also extend to PROW’s, in particular, bridleways?
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
50,842
28,677
Many thanks for the reply.
Would these lighting regulations for public roads also extend to PROW’s, in particular, bridleways?
I can't be sure, but I believe the answer is yes since they are public cycle routes defined by the Countryside Act 1968.

British Waterways also make the law for the canal network so they may have something to say on this subject on canal towpaths. I rather doubt that extends to such detail as cycle reflectors, but they may require observance of the national law on cycle lighting after dark.
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Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
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Many thanks for the reply.
Would these lighting regulations for public roads also extend to PROW’s, in particular, bridleways?
You would think that all bikers want to be clearly seen at night for (obvious?) safety reasons, but methinks some really don't!!! :oops:
Regards
Andy
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
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90% or more bikes I see at night have either no lights at all or very dim cheap crappy ones that are barely visible.
 
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BazP

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 8, 2017
358
174
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Sheffield
You would think that all bikers want to be clearly seen at night for (obvious?) safety reasons, but methinks some really don't!!! :oops:
Regards
Andy
I agree that everything at night should be well lit but my query was regarding reflectors in the daytime, which happen to be covered by the lighting regs.
 

Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
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I agree that everything at night should be well lit but my query was regarding reflectors in the daytime, which happen to be covered by the lighting regs.
I understood that they are apparently not required in the daytime.
But as we have really thick fogs here, I would have imagined that they could serve as an extra indicator for overtaking traffic on such days......
Even on non foggy days I have my lights switched on.....but that is just my opinion.....safety first at all times.....
regards
Andy
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
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West Sx RH
And the barely visible crap ones, one has to be within about 10 feet to even notice them.
 

Melissa Mo

Just Joined
Mar 23, 2022
1
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Very useful post
 

Michael Price

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 7, 2018
258
168
You would think that all bikers want to be clearly seen at night for (obvious?) safety reasons, but methinks some really don't!!! :oops:
Regards
Andy
Yes - except teenage boys because they are invulnerable, indescructable and so great at controlling their bike that they can always avoid any problems


until they can't

which is the problem - still - most of then grow up
 

lightning

Pedelecer
Mar 26, 2022
248
65
l've been to London recently and the pedelec laws are being universally flouted, with ebikes doing way more than 15.5mph, plus ebikes that don't need pedalling, in abundance .
 

soundwave

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 23, 2015
12,861
5,281
l've been to London recently and the pedelec laws are being universally flouted, with ebikes doing way more than 15.5mph, plus ebikes that don't need pedalling, in abundance .
its been like that everywhere forever lol
 
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