BRUSSELS, Belgium (BRAIN) — A recent European Parliament decision about electric bike regulation was lauded by some cyclists' advocacy groups and industry groups, but a retailer group, ETRA, slammed the decision on Monday. The parliament ruled that electric bikes with motors of up to 250 watts and top speeds of 25 kph (15.5 mph) will remain regulated as bicycles. Anything faster or more powerful will remain a motorbike.
The European Cyclists' Federation and COLIBI, a suppliers' group, supported the decision because it keeps bicycles and low-powered electric bikes exempt from possibly more stringent regulations aimed at more powerful electric machines.
ETRA, however, noted that Article 2.2 (g), a part of the ruling, excludes vehicles primarily intended for off-road or off-pavement use. As a result of this article, such vehicles remain largely unregulated and have no speed or motor output limitations.
"This article causes us great concern," ETRA secretary general Annick Roetynck said. "The fast pedelec category with assistance up to 45 kmh is becoming increasingly popular ... We are not referring to some dubious products thrown on the market by shady manufacturers. It concerns well-established major brands. One accident with one of these illegal vehicles is likely to greatly damage the whole business."
An ETRA statement said the group is "really puzzled by the cheerful reactions of the other stakeholders," including ECF and COLIBI. "They now cheer about the fact that pedal assisted bicycles remain at 25 kmh and 250W. Yet, they are blind for the fact that as a result of their lobby, Article 2.2(g) creates a dangerous no man's land for vehicles with no speed and no power output limit."