Electric bikes and UK law: what you need to know

If you are riding an electric bike in the UK, you'll want to know about the law, and most importantly when an electric bike becomes a motor vehicle. In this blog, I will run through all your FAQs around e-bikes and UK Law.


Currently, the UK legislation is based on the EU law EN15194 (but be aware this could change, we blame Brexit!) At the moment your bike is an "electrically assisted pedal cycle" (or EAPC, e-bike, or Pedelec) if:

  1. The bike has pedals that propel it; 
  2. The electric motor won't assist you when you’re travelling more than 25 km/h (15.5mph); and 
  3. The power doesn't exceed 250 watts. 

You may find off-road bikes that can go faster than 15.5 mph by flicking a switch (or "chipping"), but for UK law these are not compliant with EAPC regulations for on-road use.

We’ve outlined the most frequently asked questions about electric bikes and the law below:

Do I need a licence for an e-bike?

As long as your e-bike fits the criteria above, no you don’t need a license.

How old do you need to be to ride an e-bike?

You must be over 14 years old to ride an electric bike

Do I need to pay vehicle tax?

No, you don’t need to pay vehicle tax on an e-bike.

Do I need to register an e-bike?

You don’t need to register an e-bike.

Are there any restrictions to where I can ride an e-bike?

As long as the e-bike fits the criteria above, you can ride your e-bike on any cycle path and anywhere else that bikes are normally allowed.

What are the penalties for riding an e-bike illegally?

If you are found to be breaking any of the regulations mentioned above then the rider could have their bike impounded along with a potential fixed penalty offer, giving them the chance to accept 6 penalty points and a £300 fine. (Correct at the time of writing).


Author Tom Corcoran

Tom is co-founder of The Cycle Company and although he is the oldest member of the team, he has recently discovered a slightly frightening love of descending Alpine passes. Despite this, the thing he enjoys the most in the TCC shop is helping clients who currently lack confidence on two wheels, to find an e-bike that enables them to re-discover the joy of cycling.  

The Cycle Company

At The Cycle Company, we stock e-bikes from several British brands including Raleigh, EstarliVolt, Forme and MiRider - these e-bikes are all obviously compliant with UK law. The other brands we stock - Kalkhoff, Focus and Hiko Bike - all adjust the set-up of their bikes to be compliant with UK law too. So you can rest assured that buying an electric bike with The Cycle Company is both sensible and entirely legal... and gives you endless cycling options!