Electric bikes: licensing, tax and insurance

1. Rules in England, Scotland and Wales

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 don’t need a licence to ride one and it doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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 doesn’t meet the EAPC rules
  • it can be propelled without pedalling (a ‘twist and go’ EAPC)

This should have been done by the manufacturer or importer before you bought it. If it’s been type approved, it will have a plate showing its type approval number.