France has created a new cyclomobiles légers vehicle category in its traffic code that will cover 25km/h electric vehicles without pedals. Both e-scooters and light electric mopeds appear to fall into this category.
Here in the UK, there is widespread confusion about the legal status of both e-scooters and lower speed e-mopeds.
Electric scooters are currently only road legal if they are part of a government-approved share scheme. Privately-owned e-scooters – while widely available for purchase – can only be used on private land.
Confusion also surrounds the legal status of a number of e-bikes. We’ve covered key distinctions in more detail in our article When does an e-bike officially become a moped? but essentially if a bike lacks pedals or has a motor greater than 250W or provides power assistance above 25km/h then you’ll need a licence for it.
Bike Europe reports that the new French vehicle category is intended for vehicles with
- a maximum speed of 25km/h
- a non-thermal motor with a maximum net power of 350W
- an unloaded weight of under 30kg
- without any facilities for the transport of goods
Riders of such vehicles need to be at least 12 years old. A helmet is not compulsory, but civil liability insurance is. Riders are also being asked to wear a reflective safety vest in conditions where there is poor visibility.
The cyclomobile léger will not need to have a number plate.
So far, so straightforward – but reacting to the news on its website, European light electric vehicle trade association, LEVA-EU, points out that all cyclomobiles légers still need to be type-approved.
The organisation goes on to highlight Vassla’s lightweight electric moped as one of the few type-approved e-bikes without pedals currently on the market.