UK e-bikes have ‘almost nothing in common’ with electric motorbike ridden by Simon Cowell

The Bicycle Association (BA) has released a statement on Simon Cowell’s recent accident, saying the vehicle he was riding would be classed in the UK as an electric motorbike, not an e-bike.

In the UK, e-bikes are limited in speed to 15.5 mph and have at most 250 W (1/3 horsepower) assist motors. They must also have functional pedals. Only e-bikes which meet these criteria are exempted from full motorcycle regulations.

The BA said that what are usually referred to as e-bikes for sale in UK cycle shops have “almost nothing in common in technical or safety terms with the electric motorbike which was ridden by Simon Cowell at the time of his accident”.

“UK e-bikes (EAPCs) have an excellent safety record and the assistance power is of the same order of magnitude that riders can apply by pedalling. There is very little risk of any electric bike bought in the UK causing an unintentional wheelie.

“People in the UK will find e-bikes safe, fun, healthy and a wonderfully practical means of transport. All reputable e-bikes on sale today will meet the EAPC rules. Nonetheless, please do always read the instructions, seek cycle training if you feel you need it, and keep your e-bike well maintained.”

The full statement read:

The Bicycle Association was saddened to read about Simon Cowell’s recent accident. We extend our sympathy and wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Media reports now indicate that the vehicle was in fact a “Swind EB-01”, also with 60 mph top speed and with a 15 kW (20 horsepower) motor.

This vehicle has, misleadingly in our opinion, been described as an “electric bike” or “e-bike”. In the UK, this vehicle would in fact be classed as an electric motorbike, requiring full type approval, registration, tax, licence, insurance and a motorbike helmet to be worn.

In the UK, the gently motor-assisted cycles known commonly as “electric bikes” or “e-bikes” are limited in speed to 15.5 mph and have at most 250 W (1/3 horsepower) assist motors. They must also have functional pedals. Only e-bikes which meet these strict criteria, legally referred to as “Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles” (EAPCs), are exempted from full motorcycle regulations.

The BA, on behalf of the UK cycling industry, would stress that what are usually referred to as e-bikes for sale in UK cycle shops have almost nothing in common in technical or safety terms with the electric motorbike which was ridden by Simon Cowell at the time of his accident.

UK e-bikes (EAPCs) have an excellent safety record and the assistance power is of the same order of magnitude that riders can apply by pedalling. There is very little risk of any electric bike bought in the UK causing an unintentional wheelie.

People in the UK will find e-bikes safe, fun, healthy and a wonderfully practical means of transport. All reputable e-bikes on sale today will meet the EAPC rules. Nonetheless, please do always read the instructions, seek cycle training if you feel you need it, and keep your e-bike well maintained.

We recommend that the first step for anyone interested in trying a safe, UK-specification e-bike is to visit a local cycle retailer for professional advice and support.

Pure Electric has also issued a comment on the accident: “E-bikes are an incredible transport solution that can help millions of people get fit, move around cities easily and have fun while they’re doing it; it would be a tragedy if this one isolated accident in Los Angeles deters people from riding them here in the UK, particularly given the way the streets are filling up with cars again since lockdown ended,” said Tom McPhail, director of public affairs.

Find out more about UK e-bike regulations here.

Read the August issue of BikeBiz below:

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