Electric bikes: how to distinguish them from mopeds

Bici elettriche: come distinguerle dai ciclomotori.

Electric bikes

They are known generically as electric bikes, even if the most correct term is “pedal assisted”. They are bicycles in which the human propulsive force is added to that of an electric motor to reduce the effort during pedaling.

By law, they can not exceed 25 km / h (in addition they would fall into the moped category) and the electric motor torque is available only when pedaling. But what is the difference between a pedal-assisted bicycle and a moped?

The pedal assisted bicycles (also called EPAC or Pedelec) are regulated, in the member countries of the European Union, by the directive 2002/24 CE which defines them as means “equipped with an electric auxiliary motor having a maximum continuous nominal power of 0.25 kW whose power is progressively reduced and finally interrupted when the vehicle reaches 25 km / h or earlier if the cyclist stops pedaling “and consequently excludes them from any type-approval obligation.

They are therefore, bicycles in all respects provided that:

• the maximum continuous power of the electric motor is 0.25 kw;

• the power supply of the motor decreases progressively to stop definitively when a speed of 25 km / h is reached;

• the engine power supply stops before reaching 25 km / h and the cyclist stops pedaling.

The indispensable condition for talking about an electric pedal assist bike is that the vehicle moves only if the pedals are activated, even if there is an auxiliary motor that facilitates pedaling, provided that this does not completely replace muscle propulsion user.

Vehicles that do not meet these characteristics, have the obligation to comply with the law, to be approved and registered if you do not want to incur heavy salaries provided by the highway code until the confiscation of the vehicle. What if the electric bike had an accelerator? Is this component legal?

Some models of electric bicycles on the Italian and foreign market, can be equipped with an accelerator (in the jargon, “manettino”) which, when activated, starts the electric motor without the use of the pedals.

In this case we are faced with a non-compliant electric bike, as the law, as previously written, provides for the starting of the electric motor only and exclusively with the cyclist’s co-participation through pedaling.

Check or ask the seller if, by operating the accelerator, the rear wheel starts up without pedaling because, in this case, the vehicle you are about to buy is in effect a moped that must be certified to ride on the road. of circulation and license plate and have the insurance for civil liability towards third parties.

In addition, to ride on the public street with a moped you must wear a helmet and have, from 19/01/2013, even the license of category AM.