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Electric Bikes and the UK Law

EMU ebike in London Trafalgar Square

British law on riding an electric bike in public spaces is no different than conventional pedal bikes, with one simple expectation: riders must be over 14 years old.

Regulations on e-bikes have been around in Britain since 1982 and are covered under the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPCs) guide. You can read the official information sheet provided by the government here.

Buying an e-bike from a trusted outlet like here at Emu Electric Bikes, as well as from our network of retailers, means you will not have to worry about laws covering the technical build of the bike.

This article we will look to answer the questions we receive about riding and owning an e-bike in the UK.

General Road Use

It is perfectly legal to ride your e-bike in public spaces, including cycle lanes, as they are classified as regular pedal bicycles. However, riders must be over 14 years old. You will also need to follow the regular laws and rules for cycling in busy pedestrian areas.

You can’t be booked for speeding on an e-bike but, just like all cyclists, you can be booked for dangerous or careless cycling.

Max Speed and Motor Requirements

The law states that all e-bikes must have a motor capacity of no more than 250w and are capped to have a maximum speed of 15.5mph / 25km/h. All of our bikes here at Emu meet this requirement.

Any e-bike capable of exceeding these restrictions, even ones with an ‘off road’ function (which disable or increase the speed cap), are not road legal.

No Licensing or Road Tax Required

There is no need to attain any type of driving or motor licence for an e-bike. There is also no need to apply for road tax or take your bike in for a MOT. Additionally, e-bikes do not need to have licence plates displayed and there is no need for insurance.

However, bike maintenance is important as it ensures that the e-bike is running safely and smoothing. Due to this, it should be serviced by a professional on a regular basis.

Here at Emu, we have a nationwide network of service engineers and you can find a local one near you on our Support Page.

Wearing a Helmet

It is not UK law to wear a helmet when riding an electric bike. However, we strongly recommend that you always wear a helmet when riding any type of bike.

We recommend either the Lazer or Uvex cycling helmets that we have for sale in our e-bike store.

Mobile Phone Use

There is no law against using a mobile phone while on an e-bike. However, you could still be booked for dangerous or careless cycling if you are deemed not to be in full control when doing so.

We recommended that you don’t distract yourself by calling or texting while you cycle. If you need to follow directions, you should use a phone holder. We recommended either the Finn or OsoMount smartphone mounts.

Night Time Visibility

Just like regular bicycles, electric bikes need stay visible after dark. Here at Emu, our bikes are equipped to meet the legal requirements and keep you safe.

The white front light and red back light are easily controlled by an on/off switch. The pedals also have amber reflectors and reflective edging and there is a larger reflector at the rear of the bike.

It is also recommended that you have high visibility clothing, such as bright cycling jacket and helmet.

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Emu is more than just an electric bike — it’s a new sense of freedom and fun.

‘Roam Free’ is our mantra because, like the famous bird, we believe an Emu loves to travel and take you to new places.

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