E-cycle 250W to 500W max power change proposal position statement

Last updated: 29/02/2024

  • Wheels for Wellbeing support the retention of the current maximum motor power output for unregistered e-assist pedal cycles (EAPCs) at 250W.
  • We oppose proposals to increase the maximum motor power output from 250W to 500W for the following reasons:
  1. We have seen no evidence to suggest that safety or utility for e-cyclists would be improved by an increase in the maximum motor power from 250W to 500W. The support we have seen for this measure has been based on personal preference and anecdote.
  2. Many pedestrian groups including organisations representing Disabled people are already concerned about the safety of sharing spaces with cyclists and e-cyclists. An increase in risk from these vehicles due to increased acceleration of heavier e-cycles could have a significant adverse effect on Disabled people walking/wheeling and cycling.
  3. Increased risk from e-cyclists on shared (including line or demarcator separated) traffic-free paths and shared spaces could lead to more spaces being fully pedestrianised. excluding cyclists from places they are currently permitted to ride. Again this would disproportionately reduce travel mode options for Disabled people where their cycle is their mobility aid.
  4. Increased EAPC power could be used to strengthen and justify calls from anti-cycling lobbyists seeking to require tests and registration for every person using an e-cycle. Any licensing or registration requirements would disproportionately affect Disabled people, who are much less likely to be able to gain any such licence or registration: Disabled people will be disproportionately less able to pass any test, complete administrative tasks or find means to pay for any registration. Many Disabled people who are unable to hold driving licences on medical or other grounds currently make safe use of e-cycles for essential journeys.
  5. Tampering to raise or remove motor cut-off speeds could become a more serious and more frequent problem if higher-powered motors were permitted. This tampering increases risk to other users of public space, as well as increasing fire risk. We do not believe there is any benefit to increasing these risks via increasing motor powers.
  6. Higher powered, higher speed e-assist pedal cycles are already permitted under moped/motorcycle regulations for those who wish to use them and are aged 16 or over, with appropriate licensing, insurance, number plate and MOT. These motorcycles, commonly known as S-pedelecs, have a range of cut-off speeds. They may not be used on cycle paths or in cycle lanes. We would support discussion on whether a registered, licenced S-pedelec category separate from the moped and motorcycle categories could be beneficial.

Wheels for Wellbeing also support the retention of the current power cut-off for unregistered EAPCs at 15.5mph/25kph for similar reasons to those above.

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