E-bikes vs e-scooters

E-bikes vs e-scooters: These two types of vehicles are not the same, and in debates about regulation the Bicycle Association believes it is important that they be considered separately. In terms of their product safety, stability, and heath benefit for the user, they are very significantly different.

ItemE-bike (EAPC)E-scooterIssue
Wheel size16″ to 28″8″ to 12″Stability over obstacles, potholes
Ground clearance6″-10″ (pedal clearance is also specified in standards)2″-4″Grounding on obstacles, potholes
Riding positionSeatedStandingStability
Speed/controlPedalling required, motor assist up to 15.5 mphThrottle control up to 15.5 mph (for rental trial models. Some privately owned models may be faster)Speed differential with other cycles. Actual average speed of EAPCs only around 11 mph
Power250 W500 W (for rental trial models. Some privately owned models may be higher power)Acceleration
WeightTypically ca. 22 kgRental trial models up to 55 kg. Privately owned usually lower.Impact damage in any collision
BrakesDetailed requirements in law, braking performance set in the harmonised standardNo clear requirements except for rental trial units. Stopping distance, ‘over the front’ risk
LightingFront and rear lighting at similar levels above road to most road vehicles by law. Pedal, wheel reflectors give extra visibility.Rear light can only be very low down. Wheels so small that side reflectors show little movementVisibility to other road users
SignallingStable enough for riders to use clear hand signalsOften not stable enough to use hand signals. Most have no turn indicators. If fitted, indicators often poorly positioned, small.Signalling intentions clearly to other road users while maintaining control.
Product safety/construction regulationsCE marking, harmonised standard (BS EN 15194) in placeCE marking or type approval (TBC) – no standard availableConsumer safety
Age limit14+TBCSafety
TrainingBikeability available widely in schools, national training standards.Only vendor-supplied training or in-app instructionsUser skill and competence for safe use in traffic
Third party insuranceNot required but many riders insured anywayUnclear – none possible while illegal to use privately owned e-scootersImpact on third parties or MIB
Environmental impactLong lifespan – ca. 10 years
Removeable battery
Short lifespan (1-3 years?)
Usually non-removable battery
CO2 cost and recyclability
Health impactSignificant benefits, many studies confirmNo benefits or minimal at bestPublic health
Estimated current UK ownership350,000200,000
ItemE-bike (EAPC)E-scooterIssue