Pedal-assisted bikes (e-bikes) are becoming increasingly popular in large and small towns/cities due to the convenience and advantages they offer for getting about in urban environments. We have decided to give you some useful tips to avoid getting fines for breaching the Highway Code.
First of all, make sure that your e-bike is really pedal-assisted, namely, that the motor only works when you pedal and that this assistance stops at 25 km/h (the presence of an accelerator is a warning bell). In 2009, a European law gave pedal-assisted bikes the name of EPAC (Electrically Power Assisted Cycles) and any intervention that alters their operation is forbidden and subject to an administrative penalty in compliance with the law.
E-bikes and normal bikes are subject to strict statutory regulations, governed by Articles 68 and 182 of the Highway Code. Here are a few of them:
– Always keep the brakes in perfect working order. From the Highway Code: “the bicycle must be fitted with separate braking devices for each wheel that work in a timely and effective manner.” It goes without saying that it is essential to check the condition of the brakes, the wear of the brake shoes or brake pads, as well as the alignment of the brake discs to prevent accidental braking.
– Get off the e-bike. All “cyclists must get off their bike and push it when traffic conditions require it, and when they are a hindrance or a danger to pedestrians.” For example, this applies in strictly pedestrian areas or on pedestrian crossings. Cyclists can only cycle along appropriately marked (with lines and squares on one side) pedestrian and cycle paths, always cycling cautiously and at a reduced speed.
– All in single file. Cyclists must stay in single file in all circumstances when required by traffic conditions, and must never ride more than two abreast. Outside city/town centres, they must always keep in single file, except when one of the cyclists is aged under ten and must cycle on the right of the other cyclist.
– The kerb. It is reserved for pedestrians but cyclists can get off their bike and push it.
– Never in the dark. When cycling outside city/town centres half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise, and in tunnels, cyclists must wear a reflective vest.
– Lights, bell and reflectors. Bicycles must be fitted with acoustic signalling devices (a bell) and visual ones, but you already knew that… White (or yellow) lights are required at the front and red lights at the rear. In addition, yellow reflectors must be fitted to pedals and wheels for total visibility, also at the side.
– Child seats. Bicycles can be equipped for transporting a child, provided that appropriate equipment is fitted, whose characteristics are set out in the Highway Code: the transport of children up to age 8 requires approved child seats, which must be tightly fastened and regularly inspected. They must not hinder the cyclist’s vision or movements, and must be chosen according to the needs of the cyclist and the child.
– A helmet is always a life saver. The only rule requiring the use of a helmet is common sense. Therefore, even though it is not compulsory to wear a protective helmet, we, at Armony, recommend one.
These are the fundamental rules to avoid any type of penalty when riding your e-bike. So now that spring is here, go out and have fun but don’t forget to ride with caution!