Electrically assisted freight cycle in Paris
Electrically assisted freight cycle in Paris

Government consults on 'electric personal vehicles' and e-bikes

After years of delay the Department for Transport consulted on amendments to the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPC) Regulations 1983 and a separate consultation on Electric Personal Vehicles (EPV). The former are now well out of date, while the latter sets out the law for 'Segway' scooters.

The EAPC Regulations consultation proposed harmonisation with the existing regulations that apply elsewhere in Europe. In effect they will allow very slightly higher power electrically assisted bikes but restrict them to provide power only when pedalling. This creates a class usually described as 'pedelecs' rather than electric bikes, since they are principally human powered but with electrical assistance.

CTC prefers that the twist and go, non-pedelec electric bikes remain unregulated. Various CTC members have stated that they prefer having the ability to only use electric power at certain times and this change risks turning them away from cycling.  

In addition, CTC wishes to lift the weight limit placed on electric cycles. Currently cargo cycles such as those used in Paris (above) are outside the regulations and are therefore little used. Royal Mail considered using electrically assisted freight cycles when reviewing their delivery systems but had to rule them out because the regulations outlawed their use.                        

The EPV consultation proposed to create a new class of small, one-person electric vehicle that has no human power but doesn't fit within other vehicle classes. The consultation has been brought about because of sustained pressure from the makers of the Segway Personal Transporter.

CTC believes that the creation of the EPV class will achieve little in the way of improvements to choice of vehicles. Although CTC is content for them to be classed as vehicles, we do not support the use of Segways on cycle tracks, let alone footways. Although Segway speeds are low (usually set to a maximum of 12.5 mph), they are unlikely to provide a viable alternative to the car and instead will remove cycle and pedestrian traffic, undermining the public health benefits of active travel. CTC believes that Segways are acceptable on roads, cycle lanes and bus lanes, but does not believe that priority should be given to making the changes necessary to facilitate this.

CTC's responses to the EAPC Regulations consultation and the EPV consultation are both available to download below. At the same time Office Depot launched a scheme for delivering freight by electric tricycle.

 

Chris Peck