The European Cyclist’s Federation (an umbrella group for cycling organisations across Europe) has warned that eBike owners will be legally required to take out insurance unless the new EU Motor Insurance Directive is altered before it becomes law. At the moment eBikes do not need to be insured in the EU as they are legally equivalent to conventional bicycles, but an insurance requirement would make them more expensive to own and could discourage people from buying them.
This would be very damaging for the industry. At present, eBikes represent a convenient halfway-house between unpowered cycles and motor-vehicles, but if they are subject to all of the same paperwork as a motor-vehicle, then they will become less attractive choices.
The European Parliament will vote on this new legislation on January 22nd, and the ECF is calling on cyclists and cycling bodies to lobby their MEPs to remove eBikes from the proposal. The Federation has written a template letter, which you can download and send to your own MEP to register your concern.
It’s currently unclear whether this law will apply to UK eBike owners, especially with the present uncertainty around Brexit. Nevertheless, even if UK cyclists are exempt, an EU-wide insurance requirement would slow down progress and innovation in the eBike market, which would have a negative impact on all of us.