e-bike insurance
EU says no to compulsory e-bike insurance

Recently the European Parliament dismissed a proposal to require riders of electric bikes to buy motor-vehicle-style third-party liability insurance. 

The proposal was originally issued in May last year by the European Commission regarding the Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive, when two MEPs put forward amendments that include electric bikes in the scope of Motor Directive. 

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) feared that the use and sales of e-bikes would suffer “substantial damage” if such a law had passed. They lobbied the Commission to make a clear line between a motor vehicle and a power-assisted e-bike in their proposal, but were unsuccessful. 

“Third party liability insurance would discourage millions of European citizens to use [electric bikes], undermining the efforts and investments of several member states and the European Union to promote sustainable mobility,” warned advocacy director of the ECF, Adam Bodor. 

A current street-legal pedal-assist e-bike in Europe has a 250-watt battery powered assisted motor, cuts out at 25 km/h, and is only activated when the rider uses the pedals. These are considered a bicycle in other EU legislation.

The decision by the European Parliament on January 22 denied the Commission's proposal to define a 250-watt e-bike as a motor vehicle requiring compulsory third-party insurance, ruling that this was a disproportionate measure for an electric bike.

“This is a sensible decision by the European Parliament IMCO committee. We are happy that they agreed with ECF that there is no need to define e-bikes as motor vehicle and require compulsory third party liability insurance," said Mr Bodor.

The decision still has to be validated by a further vote, but this is expected to be a formality.