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E-bikes: What are the regulations and what can be done to improve safety?

The average speed of e-bikes ranges between 20 to 25 km per hour, while an e-scooter can travel up to 48km per hour

The drafting of legislation for increasing road safety by reducing speed limits, reforming penalty points and introducing mandatory drug testing is “accelerating”, Minister for State Jack Chambers has said following road deaths at the weekend.

The road fatalities continued a “really worrying trend” throughout this year, he said, having already surpassed the total number of road deaths that occurred in 2022.

A further two people were killed in separate road traffic collisions on Monday in Dublin and Monaghan, including a cyclist, who was involved in a crash with a truck at the Dolphin’s Barn Bridge.

The cyclist, who was riding an e-bike, was taken to St James’s Hospital with “serious injuries” following the collision, which occurred around 12:30pm. They were later pronounced dead.


Last year, The Irish Times reported that two people died and 42 more suffered serious injuries from collisions involving e-scooters since the start of 2020. These figures were released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). Separately, figures provided to The Irish Times by the gardaí in 2022 showed 535 “traffic incidents” involving e-scooters in the first nine months of 2021; and of these, 136 involved a collision.

This year, a teenager who was riding an electric bike died in June after a collision in Co Dublin. The 18-year-old crashed into a pillar in Tallaght, gardaí said.

In August, a coroner warned of the dangers of riding an e-bike after consuming alcohol after a cyclist was killed when his e-bike crashed into a lamppost in Dublin two years ago.

In October, a man in his 50s was struck by a van while travelling on an electric scooter in Co Sligo.

The Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023, which governs the use of e-scooters and e-bikes, was signed into law in June, but the popular electric-powered scooters remain illegal on the road until the regulations are signed.

Under the new laws, the maximum speed for e-scooters is going to be 25 kilometres per hour. The average speed of e-bikes ranges between 20 to 25 kilometres per hour, while an e-scooter can travel up to 48 kilometres per hour.

When the Minister for Transport signs a commencement order for the new Act, which is not expected to happen until the end of 2023, the following changes will come into force:

  • E-bikes will be split into two classifications. Those which are pedal-assist e-bikes (pedelecs) with a power output up to or equal to 250W and where the motor cuts before reaching 25 kilometres per hour, will be classified in the same way as a regular pedal cycle.
  • However, those with more than 250W power output will be classified as mechanically propelled vehicles (MPV), and therefore will be subject to vehicle registration, insurance, driver licensing and helmets.

As these laws have not yet come into effect, currently, regardless of the type of bike, the rules are as follows, according to the Road Safety Authority (RSA):

If it can be powered by mechanical or electrical power alone (meaning it can continue without you pedalling or scooting it) then it is considered to be a MPV.

Under road traffic law, if an MPV is used in a public place, it is subject to all of the regulatory controls that apply to other vehicles, meaning it must be roadworthy, registered, taxed and insured).

The driver of the vehicle must hold the appropriate driving licence and is obliged to wear a crash helmet.

It is illegal for people under the age of 16 to ride an MPV in a public place. If the bike is not an MPV, there is no law against children riding it in a public place.

“We are accelerating the drafting of legislation to reduce speed limits, reform penalty points and introduce mandatory drug testing. In addition, we are also working with An Garda Síochána so there is increased enforcement and greater visibility of gardaí on our roads,” Minister of State Jack Chambers said.

The Road Safety Authority is also ramping up communications as well as awareness campaigns, particularly as the darker months approach, he said.

*This article was amended following publication