Are Electric Bikes Legal?

Are Electric Bikes Legal?

 In short, yes!

Stroll into a bike shop and you’ll be able to find everything, from slick electric hybrids to electric mountain bikes and electric cargo bikes. These bikes made by trusted brands are legal in the UK, but that’s not to say that every electric bike you come across will be. 

There are a number of things to look out for when buying an electric bike (particularly in the second-hand bike market) to make sure that you are purchasing something that is safe to use and road legal.

How popular are e-bikes?


In 2020 electric bike sales made up almost a quarter of all bike sales in the UK. The cost-of-living crisis has dampened this slightly, particularly when it comes to buying new bikes, but a report by Mintel still finds that almost 20% of people in the UK planning to buy a bike this year plan to purchase an electric one.

They are particularly popular due to the distances they can travel, with AutoTrader recently finding that almost half of car owners think that electric bikes could replace their shorter car journeys in future. This demonstrates that it is a growing sector – and one that is attracting non-cyclists to the wonders of two wheels.

What makes an electric bike road legal?

Electric bikes are classed as Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles or EAPC’s, which means to be road legal they must adhere to the DVLA’s requirements.

To meet this guidance, there are a few notable requirements that electric bikes must meet:

  • Bikes must have pedals that will propel the bike
  • They must have a maximum power output of 250 watts
  • Electric assistance must switch off when the bike reaches a speed of 15.5mph

Other smaller details that electric bikes must have are front and rear lights (as well as a red rear reflector) and a plate or marking that shows key details of the bike, such as manufacturer, maximum speed and motor power output.

If your bike is made by a reputable manufacturer then you can almost certainly rest easy on this front, but if you do have any concerns then refer back to the DVLA guidance page or contact the manufacturer or retailer directly. 

Electric bike safety

As with all popular technologies, there are now plenty of cheap electric bike imitations and modified models on the market that are of a lower standard. 

For instance, it is now possible to convert normal bicycles into electric bikes using a kit. Whilst some companies like Boost offer this legally and within DVLA requirements, there are a number that do not. If you are purchasing a bike that has been converted, always try and find out how the conversion was done and who carried it out. This will reduce the chances of you falling foul of the law.

These bikes, as well as being illegal, can also be very unsafe. Converted bikes in particular may not be up to the rigours of travelling at certain speeds, whilst cheap imitation options may use poor components and have inadequate safety precautions.

One of the most important parts of electric bike safety is the quality of its battery. The majority of electric bikes use lithium-ion batteries, which are reliable and store a large amount of energy in a small device. Well-designed batteries from reputable manufacturers will have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they are safe and difficult to damage, however this is less likely with cheap versions by unknown brands.

It is important to avoid these batteries, or electric bikes that use them, as they carry a significant fire risk. Some tell tale signs that may signify whether it is of poor quality are:

  • Misspelling on the bike or battery
  • Attempts to copy established brands
  • No instructions or warranty card

If you see any of these things then you should think twice about buying. 

At MyNextBike we verify every listing against a database of bike manufacturers across the world to ensure you have all the information you need to buy a safe and road legal electric bike.

Happy riding!

Charlie FC

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