E-bikes at risk: BA and ACT urge industry to respond on 500W, throttle proposals

Just two weeks remain for the UK cycle industry to have its say on the current Government consultation to double the permissible power of e-bikes, and to remove the need for pedalling.

Trade bodies the Bicycle Association (BA) and Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) have now teamed up to urge the industry to respond urgently and before the deadline on April 25th – with a strong recommendation to oppose both changes, for three key reasons:

(1) It is unnecessary. The current regulations work well overall, with huge potential for growth as seen in other countries. There’s no evidence these changes would significantly boost demand – instead, for real e-bike growth we need safer cycling infrastructure, and purchase incentives to address affordability. 

(2) It is risky. It will take reputable suppliers some time to deliver safe, tested products to the new specification. So in the short-term this change will drive customers to order high fire risk 500W products online, and/or to tamper with existing e-bikes, also with potential fire risk. Longer-term, it risks moped-style regulations on the whole e-bike category, because with no pedalling required e-bikes would be seen as a light mopeds, not as cycles. There are also as yet unquantified risks from more powerful, heavier e-bikes sharing cycle lanes, risking further regulatory backlash.

(3) It is the wrong approach. The industry welcomes innovation and the potential of new micromobility vehicle categories, but these proposals do not provide a sustainable framework for these new opportunities. We strongly urge that any new vehicle types, for example 500W, throttle e-bikes or e-scooters, be introduced under the comprehensive LZEV framework approach which was already proposed by the current Government, to provide category-specific regulations appropriate to each new vehicle type, and leave the well proven EAPC regulations broadly unchanged.

These concerns, and suggested responses, are set out in more detail here on the BA website.

Responding to the consultation is very easy – just click this link or below to start a pre-filled email with some key messages, write in with your own views, or use any of the other response suggestions provided.

Steve Garidis, BA Executive Director, said:

“These proposed changes may seem superficially appealing to some users, but everyone in the industry should realise that they fundamentally change the nature of the e-bike. And that puts at risk its status of being treated like a bicycle in law, rather than as a moped. We strongly urge everyone in the industry to respond to this consultation – and to urge e-bike end users and customers who love the freedom of using their e-bike just like a bicycle, to do so too.”

Jonathan Harrison, ACT Director, said:

“E-bike sales are critical to the success of cycle retailers across the UK, and we are really concerned that these proposals will put that at risk. Blurring the lines between e-bikes and mopeds risks a regulatory backlash which could easily make the entire e-bike category less attractive, and that could be disastrous for the cycle trade. We’re asking retailers, and their customers, to speak up and respond to this consultation.”

Responding is simple. Just send an email before April 25th to [email protected] and include the text “I oppose both proposed changes to the EAPC regulations” or start with a pre-filled response by clicking below.