The bicycle is a wonderful thing. It doesn’t require a license plate, driver’s license, helmet, nor insurance. Riders travel on a healthy and environmentally friendly machine and have a freedom of choice that no other mode of transport offers. EPAC’s (Pedelecs) Electric Power Assisted Cycles help provide this freedom along with the health benefits for those who find it diffifcult to ride a bicycle or who live in hilly areas. We very much support EPAC’s within the bicycling family and think that they provide excellent benfits as alternatives to the motor vehicle
EPAC’s are essentially bicycles as long as they have bicycle qualities. This is currently enshrined in the law and has worked brilliantly. More powerful machines are regulated more strictly under Type Approval, and bicycles (including the EPAC’s) are regulated outside Type Approval as lighter machines.The European Parliament has voted (20/11/2012) to keep this seperation between bicycle and motor vehicle, and after months of trilogue discussions with the Council should be rubberstamped by the Council soon.
Our press release on the recent decision to keep bicycles and motor vehicles seperate is here
What is a Pedelec or EPAC?
Pedelecs (Pedal Electic Assisted Cycles) or EPACS (Electronic Power Assisted Cycles) are much like bicycles however when pedaling the rider gets progressive assistance from the electric drive system. Pedelecs enjoy the same privileges as bicycles. They can use bicycle infrastructure and do not require helmet laws nor insurance. They are regulated by the European Standards Organisation CEN and through the Machinery Directive while scooters and more powerful machines are regulated through stricter motor vehicle Type Approval.
Currently to qualify as EPAC’s and be classified as bicycles they must satisfy three bicyle like qualities
- They go under 25 kph
- They have a continuous power of 250 Watts
- They have pedals and a progressive motor that gradually cuts off as 25 kph approaches
These are not arbitrary numbers, the power and speed are those of a thoroughly competent cyclist, the use of pedals and the progressive assistance mean that there is the connection between the forward movement and the muscle power.
We are very happy that the European Parliament voted on the 20th November to keep it this way.