Electric bicycles and the law

 

Sir, – I take it from your recent article (“Bicycle-sharing scheme in ¤300,000 crowdfunding move”, Business, October 22nd) that Dublin will soon be overrun by electric bicycles moving along our cycle lanes at speeds which only the most athletic of us could previously have managed.

This would be bad enough, but that almost all such bicycles are illegally on the road is worse.

Electric bicycles are not exempt from the requirements imposed on other mechanically propelled vehicles by the Road Traffic Act. The Act defines a pedal cycle as being propelled “solely by the physical exertions of a person or persons seated thereon”, and defines a mechanically propelled vehicle as including “a bicycle or tricycle with an attachment for propelling it by mechanical power, whether or not the attachment is being used”.

There is, unlike in the UK, no exemption for electrically assisted pedal cycles, low powered or otherwise.

Like other mechanically propelled vehicles, electric bicycles require third-party insurance and vehicle registration, and their drivers need a valid driving licence.

Requirements which, I fear, few electric bicycles, if any, meet. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL J WALSH, BL

Clontarf,

Dublin 3.