ECF press releases

20.11.2012- EU Parliament Backs ECF And Bicycle Industry Campaign To Protect Future Of Cycling

Brussels, Belgium- The European Parliament has voted today for a clear separation between active and passive transport. ECF welcomes the success of its campaign, which has safeguarded the future of cycling investments.

“We need a clear border line between what a bicycle is and what exceeds the definition of a ‘bicycle’,” explains Ceri Woolsgrove, ECF’s Road Safety Officer.

“This is important for clear decisions on the use of infrastructure and facilities for bicycles that authorities have to make on the international, national, regional and local level.”

Under current EU legislation, E-bikes, known officially as electronically power assisted cycles (EPACs) or pedelecs, are limited to 250 watts. They must propel the rider at no more than 25kph so that they can safely share bicycle infrastructure with other users.

In a vote at the European Parliament today, MEPs have decided to keep the original European Commission proposal; only pedelecs with a maximum speed of 25 km/h and 250 watts power will remain exempt from motorbike regulation. Europe’s cycling organisations have welcomed the move, seeing it as a clear separation between bicycles and motorbikes

There had been previous calls for pedelecs with unlimited output to be exempt from Type Approval procedures, meaning more powerful machines would not be subject to more rigorous testing. ECF, alongside industry groups, lobbied for legislation to remain the same.

“It’s a good thing that the exemptions to this legislation for electric bicycles remain unchanged,” Woolsgrove adds.  

“The minute you start changing the definition of a bicycle, you’re opening up cycling to a whole range of nasty legislation. It could mean compulsory helmets, insurance, licensing to name but a few of the negative consequences. You don’t want to damage the reputation of cycling, and lose all the wonderful benefits that cyclists’ have.” 

ECF supports the huge growth in pedelec use and sales and sees it as an important tool in promoting future sustainable transport. Under current legislation, pedelecs have been a huge success story in Europe, with over 700,000 units sold in 2011. In Germany alone, there are already one million pedelecs in use, with 310,000 sold last year. This is in stark contrast with electric cars, which managed to sell just over 11,500 vehicles in Western Europe last year despite large subsidies.

The Parliament vote still needs be ratified by the European Council, yet after long months of debate, this is generally seen as a formality. Other countries have seen EU legislation as the best way to regulate bicycles, with Australia recently adopting EU style electric bicycle legislation.

“ECF would especially like to the thank Colibi and Coliped for all their hard work during the campaign. Our collaboration was a perfect example of how the industry and user groups can influence government,” says Manfred Neun, ECF President. 

Notes to the Editor



Royalty free images are available at :

About the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF)

With over 70 members across nearly 40 countries, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) unites cyclist’ associations from across the globe, giving them a voice on the international level. Our aim is to get more people cycling more often by influencing policy in favour of cycling. ECF is a partner in the Cycle Logistics project. 

Definition of a Pedelec:

To qualify as pedelecs (EPACS) and be classified as bicycles they must satisfy three bicycle 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

Media Contacts

ECF Communications Officer, Julian Ferguson. or +3228809284

Ceri Woolsgrove, ECF’s Road Safety Officer, +322588021

Last Updated November 21, 2012