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Government's 500W and throttle e-bike proposals are 'unnecessary, risky and the wrong approach' say UK trade bodies

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Rebecca Morley's picture

Rebecca Morley

Rebecca has been in cycling journalism since 2018. She started out at trade title BikeBiz and still contributes features to its monthly magazine, and was also named one of Cycling UK's 100 Women in Cycling 2019.


1 month 2 weeks ago


If you're right, which I believe you are, the law needs to be clarified and tightened. The door is left wide open to those who would fetter e-bikes, and thereby normal bikes too, with onerous regulation, taxation, licencing and so on. And, as BBB says, we will soon be sharing whatever pitiful cycling infrastructure exists with de-facto delivery vans.

Cycling is a force for good, 500W+ electrically powered traojan horses will be its undoing.

1 month 3 weeks ago

Legal ebike motors suck as Bosch Performance CX are already 600w "peak" and there is no time restriction or anything else regarding how long they can put out that peak power mentioned in the EPAC rules.

Manufacturers seem to be able to interpret the rules as they like and self certify that the "motor maximum continuous rated power of the electric motor" is 250w, even when it's much more.

1 month 3 weeks ago

Please don't be naive, people. The proposed changes have nothing to do with promoting/encouraging cycling. They are about delivery companies (ab)using the cycle infra for their fleets of even bigger and more powerful cargo vehicles that pretend to be bicycles. 

1 month 3 weeks ago

If the resulting machines' performance envelope distribution curve is significantly different from that of bicycles then the logic of framing them under the same legislation breaks down.


It's not about promoting whatever use-case (disabled, cargo, last mile, etc) no matter how worthy it may be. It's about the simple question: is it a bicycle, or at least near-as-makes-no-difference a bicycle? Otherwise it needs its own regulations attuned to its own characteristics. So it can't be an ebike, it is whatever it is which is something different. 

1 month 3 weeks ago

Its mostly stupid proposals apart where they are needed for Disable assistance and heavy duty cargo bike requirements.

Its disappointing not one commentator mentioned the disability angle though.

Still this is the DfT - would rather fanny around on eBikes than pull their finger out on eScooters.

1 month 3 weeks ago

My initial thinking on this is that it is more about a change so that the majority of e-bikes on the road aren't technically illegal.  The problem is that with the 15.5mph limit people are still going to de-restrict.  Unless you are using a cargo bike with a heavy load what use is 500W really if power cuts off at 15.5mph?  Unless you want to do La Redoute at the same speed as Pogacar it is rarely going to be utilised. 

I'm still of the opinion that upping the restriction limit to 20mph, aligning with the limit on an increasing number of roads, would kill off a decent percentage of people de-restricting their bikes. In most cases 250W would be sufficient for that.