E-bikes: MP calls for electric bikes to have number plates - what are the current rules

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MPs and industry experts are calling for electric bikes to have number plates and insurance for pedestrian safety - but what are the current E-bike rules?

E-bikes can weigh twice as much as a conventional bicycle. While most cannot travel faster than 15.5mph by law, some have been modified to go much faster. As a result, there are calls for E-bikes to be regulated in the same way as cars.

On Friday June 9, a 15-year-old boy who was riding an electic bike died in a collision with an ambulance after being followed by police in Salford. In another incident, two teenage boys were killed in an e-bike crash in Ely earlier this year.

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The incidents have left many to claim E-bikes are unsafe. Ian Stewart, chairman of the Commons Transport Select Committee has said more needs to be done to keep people safe. Mr Stewart told the Mail on Sunday: "I don’t think the regulations are a good fit for new technologies.

"It’s not just e-bikes, there are issues with e-scooters and driver-assist/self-driving technology increasingly embedded in cars." Fellow committee member Greg Smith told the newspaper: "With more types of vehicle competing for road space, it is only fair that all users are treated equally.

"E-bikes and e-scooters can achieve considerable speeds and cause damage to other vehicles and injure people, so should have to carry the same insurance requirements and tax liabilities as users of motor cars."

What are the current E-bike rules?

You can ride an electric bike if you’re 14 or over, as long as it meets certain requirements. You do not need a licence to ride one and it does not need to be registered, taxed or insured.

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An E-bike must have pedals that can be used to propel it. It must show either:

  • the power output
  • the manufacturer of the motor

It must also show either:

  • the battery’s voltage
  • the maximum speed of the bike

Its electric motor:

  • must have a maximum power output of 250 watts
  • should not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph

If an E-bike meets the above requirements, it’s classed as a normal pedal bike. This means you can ride it on cycle paths and anywhere else pedal bikes are allowed.

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