E Bike Legislation
E-Bikes – The law, legislation, and Cycle to Work Schemes
Updated Mar 2022
E-Bikes are now enormously popular in the UK, however their use is sometimes clouded in some mystery – specifically regarding their legality and definition.
So at Ezone Riders we cut through the spin and jargon, and tell you exactly what the current law is regarding E-bikes based on Government guidance and legislation rather than third party interpretation or hearsay.
I’ll cover the main areas that we are asked about;
Electric bikes: Who can ride one? Do I need a license, tax or insurance?
You can ride an electric bike if you’re 14 or over, as long as it meets certain requirements as detailed below.
These electric bikes are known as ‘Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles’ (EAPCs). You do not need a licence to ride one and it does not need to be registered, taxed or insured.
What is an Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle - EAPC?
An EAPC must have pedals that can be used to propel it.
It must show either: The power output / the manufacturer of the motor
It must also show either: the battery’s voltage / the maximum speed of the bike
Its electric motor: must have a maximum power output of 250 watts and should not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph (25 KMph).
(NOTE: This doesn’t mean that you can’t travel at more than this speed, it just means that the motor should not be active beyond this speed)
An EAPC can have more than 2 wheels (for example, a tricycle).
Where you can ride?
If a bike meets the EAPC requirements above then it’s classed as a normal pedal bike. This means you can ride it anywhere that normal pedal bikes are allowed.
What if a Bike doesn’t meet the EAPC?
Any electric bike that does not meet the EAPC rules above is viewed in the same class as a moped for example when you are riding it on Public Roads, and it also needs to be registered and taxed. You’ll need a driving licence to ride one and you must wear a crash helmet.
The bike however may be used on private land or other areas which are not classed as Roads.
What is Cycle to Work?
This is a government initiative to incentivise Employees and Employers to Cycle to Work. The scheme is available to almost all sectors, so providing you are over 16 and earning above the minimum wage, then you should qualify. EAPCs are covered under this scheme.
How do I Save Money on the Scheme?
There are a lot of numbers and percentages being quoted regarding the savings, however much of this saving is indirect, and the reality is that your Employer buys the bike and then rents it to you for a period of time for a fixed monthly amount. This monthly rental is deducted from you before tax, therefore effectively giving you the Bike rental Tax and National Insurance free. It is also not considered as a Taxable Benefit (such as a car would be), and therefore you would not be taxed on the benefit. In theory, the bike should be used primarily for work travel, however this is not imposed nor measured.
What happens at the end of the Rental?
There are sometimes issues with the Bike at the end of the rental period. The employee can enter into a secondary rental period, or potentially purchase the Bike at a pre-agreed depreciated price. In certain circumstances, the option to buy cannot be offered during the rental period – this is a technical issue which could mean that the rental may be deemed as a Finance Agreement. However sometimes after the Rental is finished, the Employee may be offered a final payment to own the bike. This is not always made 100% clear to employees on the scheme.
How does the Employer Benefit?
The Employer is able to claim Capital Allowances on buying the Bike and therefore can benefit from TAX as well.
The scheme works well for Employees and Employers – a genuine Win-Win as long as all parties are aware of the full terms.
How do I get a Bike under this scheme?
Your first port of call is to get your Employer to agree to it … after all it’s the Employer who has to buy the Bike.
This brochure best explains everything …
… so you could get your Employer to have a read over this to see if they are open to doing the Scheme. Alternatively (or as well as), you can use a Scheme Manager – this is a company who basically organise the scheme and takes the work and administration away from the Employer. The Schemes are also better at presenting the benefits to your Employer.
Either way, the first step is to get your employer on board.