New E-Bike Regulations in Ireland: What You Need to Know

The Department of Transport has clarified new regulations on e-bikes which limit the power of their motors, following concerns expressed by e-bike owners.

The Maximum Continuous Output for the most popular category of e-Bikes, which do not require tax or insurance, is limited to 250w, but the motors on bikes in this category can sometimes produce more power for a short time, for example, when a bike is going up a hill.

Press releases and communications on the department's website had said the 250w limit applied to the "Maximum Power" and this caused consternation amongst some e-bike owners who contacted at least one retailer to ask if their bikes would be legal under the new regulations which come into effect on Monday.

There are other categories of e-Bike where the maximum continuous power is higher than 250w and/or where the motor does not cut at speeds over 25kp/h but continues up to 45kp/h.

These types of e-Bikes or e-Mopeds will be legal under the new regulations, but they will have to be registered and insured and will be subject to an annual road tax. Users will have to be at least 16 years old and will be required to wear motorcycle helmets.

The e-Bikes which have a maximum continuous output of 250w or less where the motor cuts out once 25kp/h is reached will be treated the same as bicycles and there is no age limit, tax or insurance required or legal requirement for a helmet.

Garda presence 'important' - RSA

A public information campaign will begin on Monday and will run for a number of weeks on television, video-on-demand, social, digital, and radio.

Road Safety Authority Director of Partnerships and External Affairs Sarah O'Connor said it will be an "important" and "big" day as an "entirely new kind of vehicle is being written into law".

She said the new rules are "going to take people accepting it and getting their heads around it," and that as far as enforcement goes, "the presence of the gardaí is going to be what's important".

She said "education and engagement will be the first port of call" for gardaí, whose powers will extend to "confiscation" of the vehicles and "fixed charge notices" for misuse.

Ms O'Connor said e-scooters and the new laws around them are not "light" or "easy" or "glib" - rather the regulations are designed to "protect children".

They will be allowed to be driven in cycle lanes, bus lanes, and on local, regional, and national roads.

She said it will not, for instance, be legal for a 15 year-old child, wearing a helmet, on the pavement, travelling to school, to ride one.

Neither will it be lawful for e-scooters to be driven on pavements at all.

She said now was not the time to debate the quality of cycle lane surfaces and if users find the surface they are riding on is poor, the advice is to "slow down".