If you are looking to buy an electric bike but aren’t sure how and where you can use it, this article is an important read for you. You’ve probably been wondering whether e-bikes are legal in the UK and if you can ride them on the roads. Well, the short answers are yes and yes, but there are certain conditions that you and your e bike must meet in order to make it legal. 

Who can ride an e bike? 

You can ride an electric bike in the UK as long as you are aged 14 or over and the bike meets certain requirements, the main one being that it must be an electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPC). 

What is an EAPC? 

An EAPC or electrically assisted pedal cycle is an electric bike which has pedals that are used to propel it. It can’t provide power unless you are pedalling. 

An EAPC’s electric motor cannot exceed 250 watts and all electrical assistance must be cut off when the bike reaches speeds of 15.5 miles per hour. If your e-bike exceeds this power and speed, then it will need to be classed as a motorcycle and therefore will need to be registered, taxed and insured for use on the roads. 

In order to be road legal, your EAPC must also show either the output of, or the manufacturer of, the motor and the battery’s voltage or maximum speed. 

Where can you ride electric bikes? 

As long as your e-bike satisfies the requirements of an EAPC then it can be used on the roads, cycle paths or anywhere else where ordinary cycles are permitted. It’s important to remember that any rules which apply to cyclists on the road will also apply to those using an ebike, this includes: 

  • Cyclists cannot join an A road if that part of it is designated as a motorway – such as the A1(M). 
  • Cycling on the pavement is not permitted. 
  • You can’t ride two or more abreast when going around a corner or using a narrow or busy road.  
  • A front white light, rear red light and rear red reflector must be fitted to your bike in order to ensure other road users can see you. 

If you are under the age of 14 then you can ride an ebike off road. 

What if you want more power? 

Of course there is the option to upgrade your cycle power beyond 250 watts and 15.5 mph, but when buying an electric bike that features a more powerful motor you will need to remember that it will not be road legal and can therefore only be used for off-road purposes. 

How do you know if your e-bike is road legal? 

If you buy a new e-bike in the UK from a reputable retailer or use an electric bike conversion specialist to add power to your existing pedal cycle, then you will be advised at the time of the options and can choose a bike that is road legal, if you wish to ride on the roads. If, however, you are buying second hand, then look out for the details as mentioned in the EAPC section above – i.e. make sure you can see the motor’s output or manufacturer and also the maximum speed or the voltage. This will give you the information you need to check that your e-bike is road legal. 

Nippon E Bikes are e-bike conversion specialists who can add power to existing pedal cycles. Please follow the link for more details on their electric bikes and conversion kits. 

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