Electric bicycle or electric moped?

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The electric bicycle market in the UK is growing, unfortunately so is confusion.

Electric bicycles are a great way to get from A to B. An electric moped is also a great way to get from A to B.

While they’ve both definitely got usefulness in common, there are a few gigantic differences between the two.

What is the difference between an electric bicycle and an electric moped?

Electric bicycles can legally be ridden by anyone aged 14 or over, without the need for it to be registered, riders to have a licence or to be insured.

An electric bicycle must produce no more than 250 watts of power and the engine must cut out at 15.5mph. It must also have pedals that can propel it.

Once it goes over 250 watts, an electric bicycle is no longer a bicycle and becomes an electric moped.

What else is different?

  1. Riding standards

You do not require training or a licence to ride an electric bicycle. To ride an electric moped you need to at least have a provisional licence and have completed Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) to ride one on the road.

Essentially that means there is a minimum age and standard you are required to meet to get on the road, keeping you and other road users safe.

  1. Insurance cover

You cannot ride an electric moped on UK roads without at least a basic level of moped insurance.

That minimum level is Third Party Only insurance and it ensures that if you were to damage another vehicle or property, or injure another road user, there would be some insurance there to cover the costs.

You can ride an electric bicycle without insurance cover. So if you injure another road user or damage another vehicle or property, there’s no insurance in place to cover the costs.

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  1. MOTs

Electric mopeds require a valid MOT to ride legally on UK roads, which is a bit like a safety blanket.

An MOT is a test that basically makes sure your vehicle isn’t a death trap and that over the next 12-months, it shouldn’t turn into one either.

Electric bicycles do not require an MOT, so, regardless of their condition, they can be ridden on the road.

  1. Safety gear

To ride an electric moped in the UK, you must wear a helmet, and as you may have guessed, you don’t on an electric bike.

But when does an electric moped become an electric motorbike?

An electric moped becomes an electric motorbike when it produces 4kW of energy or more.

Next page: Can I insure an electric motorbike?