The European Commission has initiated a review of the type approval directive for motorised vehicles. A revision could bring the end of stifling regulation for e-bikes such as speed pedelecs and even cargo bikes.
The European light electric vehicle association LEVA-EU has been campaigning for a revision of directive 168/2013 for some time. Since January 2017 all e-bikes must comply with the European harmonised technical rules laid down in type-approval legislation. That might change in the future.
Already, pedal-assist bikes with assistance up to 25 km/h and a maximum continuous rated power of 250W have been exempt from type-approval which usually applies to mopeds for example, meaning it comes from before a time of speed pedelecs (max speed 45 kph) or cargo e-bikes with motors delivering 500 Watt or more. This has meant a difficult if not thwarted market.
It remains to be seen how the EU Commission will decide and also whether any such regulation more specific to light electric vehicles would affect Pedelecs 25, which currently classify as bicycles. Riders may thus use cycle lanes and rive without a helmet depending on national regulation.
The European Commission has asked TRL, a UK based research centre specialised in mobility, to investigate the position of LEVs in the type approval and the national traffic codes. The analysis includes all LEVs such as electric scooters, self-balancing vehicles, electric bicycles in and outside the type approval, or electric cargo bicycles.
TRL has started a broad survey of the sector through an online questionnaire that can be completed until 30 October. TRL confirmed that the survey is intended only for specifically-invited stakeholders from government bodies, trade organisations, and user representative groups, meaning industry professionals. Any organisations wishing to be involved in this stage of the study can contact TRL directly.
“However, we realise that the current legal framework is extremely complex and confusing,” LEVA-EU wrote in their press statement. The association will therefore “organise a number of information meetings intended to provide a clear picture of the current legal framework. In addition, we will explain the opportunities and risks of the ongoing review.”
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