The law around owning an electric moped or electric scooter

Electric mopeds and scooters have been around for some time now, but there’s still some degree of confusion around whether they’re road legal.

While the streets aren’t exactly littered with these silent two-wheelers, plenty of unregistered mopeds are being taken out on public roads without a crash helmet.

So, where are electric scooters and electric mopeds for adults legal in the UK? We’ve got the lowdown on how you can ride your electric bike on the road without any problems.

Electric pedal bikes vs. electric scooters

There are two main types of electric bike. First is an electrically assisted push bike, which has pedals fitted. These are commonly known as e-bikes and can be seen in the video below.

The second, slightly newer breed of road-legal electric moped and scooters has no pedals and is solely powered by an electric motor. These are quieter than petrol-powered motorbikes and more economical.

Both are a great choice for anyone wanting an alternative mode of transport that produces fewer emissions than a car or motorbike.

Electric pedal bikes

Electric mountain bike
An electric mountain bike – treated as a push bike

For a bike to be classified as an electric pedal bike, it must meet the following Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EAPC) rules:

  1. It must have pedals that can be used to propel it.
  2. It cannot travel at more than 15.5mph when powered by the electric motor alone.
  3. The vehicle, including its battery, must not be heavier than 40kg if it’s a bicycle or 60kg if it’s a tandem or tricycle.
  4. The motor must have a maximum power output of 250 watts.
  5. The bike must display a plate showing the manufacturer, the nominal voltage of the battery and the motor’s power output.

You can legally ride one of these bikes in the UK if you are aged 14 or over. 

Electric pedal bikes or e-bikes do not need to be taxed, insured or have an MOT, although you may still choose to take out electric scooter insurance for extra protection.

The law in England, Scotland and Wales states that electric pedal bikes can be used anywhere that a standard pedal cycle is allowed, including on roads and cycleways.

Electric scooters and mopeds

Electric scooter
Electric scooter – treat as a moped

Unlike e-bikes, electrically powered mopeds and scooters must be treated in exactly the same way as a normal moped. This means that anyone currently riding one on public roads with no number plate, no helmet or no tax is breaking moped laws.

Is my electric moped road legal?

In standard form, electric mopeds and scooters are classified as L1e vehicles, the same as normal mopeds. To be fully road legal, they carry exactly the same requirements as any other L1e vehicle, as follows:

  1. You can ride a standard electric scooter in the L1e category at the age of 16.
  2. If you are 16 or over, you must have a valid provisional driving licence. You must also have completed compulsory basic training (CBT) unless you obtained a full driving licence before February 1, 2001.
  3. On obtaining your CBT you must display L plates unless you obtained a full driving licence before February 1, 2001.
  4. You must apply for vehicle tax, even though there is no cost for this.
  5. The vehicle must be type approved, registered with the DVLA and display licence plates.
  6. Once the vehicle is three years old, you must obtain an MOT certificate each year.
  7. You must have valid insurance to ride on the road, and you must wear a helmet.
  8. To class as an L1e vehicle, the scooters are restricted to a maximum speed of 30mph like any other moped.

Do you need insurance for an electric scooter or moped?

Yes. As explained above, you must have valid e-scooter insurance before you head out on the road. At Bikesure, we provide specialist electric scooter insurance for all makes and models, including cover for rare, converted and modified vehicles.

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August 8, 2023