If you’re an e-bike rider, you might soon need an expensive insurance policy to ride it legally. That’s because the European Commission has proposed updated laws, which would mean you’ll need the same level of insurance cover as any other motor vehicle.
Last month, the European Commission issued a statement, including a paragraph which clarified that e-bikes – even road-legal pedelecs – are categorised as motor vehicles, and need to be treated as such for insurance purposes. And it also appears that e-MTBs won’t be excluded from the updated legislation, even if they’re exclusively used off-road, as the Directive will apply “irrespective of the terrain on which the vehicle is used”.
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The proposal is being opposed by cycling organisations though. For example, The European Cyclists’ Federation has issued a statement, which points out that e-bikes are treated differently to motor vehicles under licencing and type approval regulations, while raising concerns that more regulation will suppress e-bike use.
But what about Brexit? Well, the prospect of the UK leaving the EU is still unlikely to make any difference, given that all the EC’s laws will still apply here during a transition period (expected to last until the end of 2020, and possibly much longer). However there is the option for individual states to exempt e-bikes from having insurance, which might be an option here in the UK – as long as civil servants and MPs aren’t too busy getting ready for Brexit. A UK government consultation closed last month, but if you’ve got something to say, you can still contact your MEPs and ask them to lobby to exclude e-bikes from the legislation.