BA Technical Update October 2023
September has been a busy time for the BA’s Technical Service.
- We held a webinar for members (running it three times to ensure everyone could attend!) to explore the impact of the recent amendment to the main e-bike product safety standard, EN15194. The key take-away is that after the two-year transition period which expires in August 2025, there will be a strong expectation from regulators that e-bike battery packs must comply with a specific safety standard, EN50604. BA members can access the slides here –https://www.bicycleassociation.org.uk/download/what-to-do-if-ts-or-opss-visit-or-challenge/ these also include a number of other updates around product safety standards.
- Shortly after those slides were produced, a 2023 edition of the five-part cycle lights and reflectors standard ISO 6742 was also published, and automatically adopted as a British Standard. We will update our guidance on cycle lighting regulations ASAP.
- We have also been working closely with (among many others) researchers commissioned by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to look into e-bike battery safety. We’re stressing the generally excellent safety record of the mainstream cycle industry, in sharp contrast to the less safe e-bikes, kits, third party batteries and chargers often bought by consumers via online marketplaces. We’re working hard to ensure that any new regulations address the main cause of the problem and don’t just add cost to an already safe industry.
- OPSS is also conducting a wider review of the regulations around personal mobility devices, including e-bikes. We’ve heard that some retailers have been approached by OPSS and asked to evidence the safety of products, as part of this review. Similar requests are also sometimes made by Trading Standards. We’ve produced guidance (LINK) about how best to prepare for and respond to any such request, covering the roles of everyone in the supply chain: retailers, distributors, importers and manufacturers.
- Our project to develop national Codes of Conduct for cycle logistics riders and operators, and minimum training standards for rides, continues apace, and comments are welcome on the third drafts of the documents: https://www.bicycleassociation.org.uk/cargo-bikes-cycle-logistics/
- E-scooter legalisation still seems some way off but a recent hint of the shape it may eventually take came in a recent newsletter from transport consultancy TRL, who are working for Government to develop detailed regulations for future use of privately owned e-scooters. The first article in the newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/trl/trl-explorer-vol-14-8767153?e=f1ec55f6b1 provides links to a report they produced for the Irish Government which influenced legalisation there, and it is implied that the key specifications (500W, 25 km/h, max weight 25 kg) might also be recommended for the UK. But it is not clear where this would leave rental e-scooters, which typically weigh rather more than 25 kg. In our view, not too much weight should be given to this “teaser” from TRL – it would be wise to await a more formal publication.
- At European level, a number of topics are still very active, including:
- The new EU Batteries Regulation, which among other aspects has some concerning clauses about making e-bike batteries repairable at the cell level. Work is ongoing via our colleagues at CONEBI to limit this via guidance. Recycling targets are another active area of work.
- A proposal has also just made that new EU “Right to Repair” legislation be extended to bikes and e-bikes. These were previously out of scope. If implemented , this could add obligations to e.g. make spare parts available for extended periods. CONEBI is working now to understand more and potentially influence this process.
- If any BA member would like to engage directly on these or other issues at EU level, please just let us know and we’ll put you in touch with CONEBI, the EU-level umbrella body for cycle industry trade associations, of which the BA is a founding member. They run working groups which are open to all BA member companies.