So what is an electric bike in the rest of the UK is still treated as a motorbike when used in Northern Ireland. However, no type approval is required. Minister Mallon recently referred to the emerging cycle lanes in the assembly, as well as the creation of a pedestrian and cyclist champion within the Department for Infrastructure, tasked with delivering on the commitment to increase the percentage of walking and cycling journeys.
The change in legislation puts Northern Ireland on a par with the rest of the UK, the Republic of Ireland and pretty much everywhere else in the world, and should be a boost for the Northern Irish electric bike market.
The company currently sells e-bike insurance outside Northern Ireland through Compare NI’s sister website Quotezone. Given that electric bike use is growing worldwide and that cycling is seen as a key mobility solution to avoid public transport during the current coronavirus pandemic, as well as an opportunity to increase green travel, removing barriers to electric bike use and increasing consistency with other jurisdictions is a sensible – and long overdue – step for Northern Ireland.
Paul has been riding bikes since he was a teenager and has been writing about bike technology for nearly a decade. E-bikes also reduce congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions, and improve access to town centres.
E Bikes NI is a small independent family business run by the Scott’s and specialises in the supply and maintenance of electric bikes in Northern Ireland and the border counties. The Department for Infrastructure has confirmed that anyone owning one of these bikes in Northern Ireland must have a motorcycle licence.
Keith spent years researching electric bikes even though they were not legal in Northern Ireland, Keith and Gwyneth travelled to the UK mainland on numerous occasions to research electric bikes further and even travelled to Spain to see E-bikes and e-scooters in operation. E-bikes can now be used on public roads in Northern Ireland without registration, licensing or insurance.
The police have said that, until it is defined in law, an electric bike is to be considered a motor vehicle and therefore requires insurance, tax, etc. About 6 years ago, he bought a new high-end carbon road bike with dreams of becoming the new Bradley Wiggins.
The measure comes into effect tomorrow (May 1) and brings Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK, where electric bikes and DIY electric bikes are legal and exempt from the restrictions on motorcycles as long as they meet certain requirements limiting their power and speed.
A Northern Ireland comparison website is set to offer insurance for e-bike users following the proposed law change that will boost the use of electric bikes in the province.