Scooters and UK Law

Rules in England, Scotland and Wales

In order for an electric bike to enjoy the same rights as an ordinary pedal cycle, it should have working pedals, not exceed 250 Watts and the electrical assistance should cut out when the bike reaches 15.5mph.  

You can ride an electric bike in England, Scotland and Wales if you’re 14 or over, as long as it meets certain requirements.

These electric bikes are known as ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ (EAPCs). You do not need a licence to ride one and it does not need to be registered, taxed or insured.

There are different rules in Northern Ireland.

What counts as an EAPC?

An EAPC must have pedals that can be used to propel it.

It must show either:

·       the power output

·       the manufacturer of the motor

It must also show either:

·       the battery’s voltage

·       the maximum speed of the bike

Its electric motor:

·       must have a maximum power output of 250 watts

·       should not be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5mph

An EAPC can have more than 2 wheels (for example, a tricycle).

Where you can ride?

If a bike meets the EAPC requirements it’s classed as a normal pedal bike. This means you can ride it on cycle paths and anywhere else pedal bikes are allowed.

Other kinds of electric bike

Any electric bike that does not meet the EAPC rules is classed as a motorcycle or moped and needs to be registered and taxed. You’ll need a driving licence to ride one and you must wear a crash helmet.

The bike must also be type approved if either:

·       it does not meet the EAPC rules

·       it can be propelled without pedalling (a ‘twist and go’ EAPC)


Electric bicycles either come under category L1e-A, ‘powered cycles’, or L1e-B, ‘two-wheel mopeds’. For L1e-A, the motor has to be cut off at a speed of 25 km/h and the maximum continuous motor power should not exceed 1000W. The L1e-B category is subject to a maximum design vehicle speed of 45 km/h and a maximum continuous rated power of 4000W.

In the UK, an electric bike over 250W is legally classified as a moped if it is to be ridden on the road.  Mopeds must be 'type approved'*, registered, taxed, insured and have an MOT.  The rider must have the appropriate licence/training and wear a helmet.  
If an electric bike over 250W is intended for off-road use in the UK, then it must comply with the same rules which apply to off-road motorcycles. That means riders are barred from using public roads, common land, paths or tracks intended for cyclists and must be registered on an agreed list for off-road competition bikes, known as the FIM competition list, or be EC Type Examined.

Electric Mopeds

When intended for road use, an electric bicycle or speed pedelec over 250W and not over 4kW is classified as a moped (L1e-A or L1e-B). Speed pedelecs fall into the L1e-B category. That means any such vehicles must meet all the requirements that a moped and moped rider need to comply with:

  • Be 16 years of age or over

  • Have a moped entitlement on car license or a valid CBT

  • Wear a helmet

  • Fix ''L' plates if appropriate

  • The rider needs insurance, road tax and an MOT

E-bikes over 4kW intended for road use are motorcycles and must comply with the rules which apply to motorcycles of a similar output.

*Type approval

Machines over 250W intended for on road use need to be 'type approved' and registered for the road. It doesn't matter how briefly a rider will be on the public road, an e-bike over 250W is a moped and needs to be registered as such.  

Type approval is now also required for the sale of new e-bikes with a "Twist and Go" throttle (i.e. the motor can operate up to 15.5mph without the rider pedalling) but which are otherwise below the 250W rated power and 15.5mph assist speed limits. Like other e-bikes in use, these machines are still treated in UK law as bicycles, except that the rider must be 14 or over.