Press Release

Simon Cowell accident: Bicycle Association statement

August 10, 2020

The Bicycle Association is the trade association representing the UK cycle industry.

The Bicycle Association was saddened to read about Simon Cowell’s recent accident. We extend our sympathy and wish him a full and speedy recovery.

It is reported that the vehicle he was riding when the accident occurred was a “Swind EB-01”, with 60 mph top speed and with a 15 kW (20 horsepower) motor.

This vehicle has, misleadingly in our opinion, been described as an “electric bike” or “e-bike”. In the UK, this vehicle would in fact be classed as an electric motorbike, requiring full type approval, registration, tax, licence, insurance and a motorbike helmet to be worn.

In the UK, the gently motor-assisted cycles known commonly as “electric bikes” or “e-bikes” are limited in speed to 15.5 mph and have at most 250 W (1/3 horsepower) assist motors. They must also have functional pedals. Only e-bikes which meet these strict criteria, legally referred to as “Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles” (EAPCs), are exempted from full motorcycle regulations.

The BA, on behalf of the UK cycling industry, would stress that what are usually referred to as e-bikes for sale in UK cycle shops have almost nothing in common in technical or safety terms with the electric motorbike which was ridden by Simon Cowell at the time of his accident.

UK e-bikes (EAPCs) have an excellent safety record and the assistance power is of the same order of magnitude that riders can apply by pedalling. There is very little risk of any electric bike bought in the UK causing an unintentional wheelie.

People in the UK will find e-bikes safe, fun, healthy and a wonderfully practical means of transport. All reputable e-bikes on sale today will meet the EAPC rules. Nonetheless, please do always read the instructions, seek cycle training if you feel you need it, and keep your e-bike well maintained.

We recommend that the first step for anyone interested in trying a safe, UK-specification e-bike is to visit a local cycle retailer for professional advice and support.