The main legal requirement you need to be aware of when buying an electric bike is that you must be aged 14 or over to ride one.
You don’t need to register your bike, pay tax or get insurance. That’s because, despite having a motor, an electric bike is not covered by the same laws as a car or motorbike, as long as it meets the following specifications:
- It does not power itself over 15 mph
- The power doesn’t exceed 250 watts
- The power output, or manufacturer of the motor is displayed
- Either the maximum speed, or the battery’s voltage is displayed
- Pedals can be used to propel it
If a bike doesn’t meet these requirements, it is classed as a motor vehicle and must be insured, registered and taxed. You’d also need a driving licence and be required to wear a helmet by law. However, it’s still a good idea to wear a helmet when riding your bike.
Off-road bikes can go above 15mph, as long as they are not used on the road.
The UK law was brought in line with EU law in 2015, so it could change after Brexit.