The British Electric Bike Association has urged the Department for Transport to give electric bike manufacturers the chance to catch up with potential new regulations following the beginning of a consultation period on the sector.
The recommendations come following the DfT’s opening of two separate consultations on electric bikes designed to bring UK rules in line with European regulations. The first seeks views on law changes to accommodate small electric personal vehicles on roads and cycle tracks, while the other concerns the specifications of electrically-assisted pedal cycles.
Current UK rules were set in 1983, while European construction regulations were revised in 2002, causing potentially off-putting confusion in the electric bike sector. The DfT’s consultation document said: “Failure to align could result in legal challenge to our national rules by the European Commission.”
BEBA has submitted its response to the DfT and, in the event of UK e-bike regs changing, it has asked the DfT to introduce them slowly: “BEBA would recommend a 12-month phase-in period. EABs (Electric Assisted Bicycles) have a long build-time – anything up to three months plus up to one month – shipping if manufactured abroad. Both manufacturers and retailers would have little time to sell their product if the phase-in period is less than 12 months.”
BEBA also advised that culling tough restrictions on throttles could be damaging: “The proposal to abolish throttles would add restrictions and as such reduce the market. A throttle broadens the appeal of EABs and gives travel independence to the less able bodied and elderly in society.”
According to BEBA, at present approximately 21,000 electric bikes are sold in Great Britain each year.