As would be expected in Australia, specific laws for using the electric bike in public areas are required for the safety of the user and for pedestrians.
What makes the electric bike different enough to require new laws?
Up until now it has been easy to specify particular vehicles but the E-Bike moves into the grey area of motorised vehicle on pedestrian pathways. Previously, vehicles were clearly differentiated from each other, eg., cars and trucks are very different to bicycles being in that traditional bikes are not considered as motorised vehicles.
For that reason alone, bicycles the laws for bikes were entirely different to those for cars, trucks and so forth. Motorbikes were again easy to identify as being in a separate category to cars and trucks or from traditional bicycles.
Here again it was easier to set specific laws for the motorbike as it clearly needed independent rules to follow that were different rules to that of the car or the bicycle.
Now with the growing popularity of the electric bicycle in Australia, it has become important to define their category amongst the road-users and create specific guidelines for them that will be distinctly different to that of the car or motorbike.
Hence the need to create a new set of rules specifically designed for the electric bike rider so that things are more clear in what is allowed and is not allowed within the realms of the use of E-Bikes either in public places or in private grounds..
In Europe, electric powered bikes have been around for many years. Regular bikes had motors attached to them. This was a great alternative to having to get a licence but still provided a simple means of transport for regular use and commute between home and work.
The base guidelines for E-Bike laws have derived from
How do these E-Bike restrictions and limitations help?
In various cities around Australia electric bikes have become more commonplace to be written along so you can use public footpath and bicycle paths. Without having certain guidelines set in place these electric-powered vehicles can be a dangerous addition to public pedestrian pathways.
We might assume that a person will take the required responsibility to protect the public around them while using their electric bike - but that would be a mistake. That is why it is necessary to have specific laws that relate to the entire electric bike transport product, as something the user would be responsible for, taking into consideration the power or the E-Bike. So there are now official regulations for how the vehicle is operated and used in these public arenas.
In the main the same rules and laws would apply to use of an electric bicycle as related to a regular powered bicycle.
In other words things like the requirement by law to wear a helmet and use headlights on your bike if riding in dark would all still be relevant. You would also be allowed to ride on public footpath and on bicycle and walking with your E-Bike.
The only additional things that are current at this time within the laws of Australia would be:
MAX 250 W POWER
For use in public areas eg., public footpaths and cycle paths, your electric bike cannot be powered at more than 250 Watts.
Even if the electric bike has a throttle (power-control on handle-bars), it must be pedal assisted. It is the operation of the pedal-assist function that differentiates it from a motor-bike/scooter.
SPEED LIMIT OF 25 km/h
The regulations of using an electric bike in public areas requires that the speed of the electric bike is limited to 25 km/h. Although many may question this as being far slower than someone would ride on a regular non-powered bicycle, it is required by law.
Electric bike company in Melbourne, at My Onebike, we understand that the power on these E-Bikes far exceeds these speed limitations. That is why they have a de-limiting function that is provided with all of their Onebike E-bikes so that when a rider is not in a public area, for instance they were riding on an off-road bike trail or they were riding outdoors on an adventure ride through the rough terrain, the rider could remove these limits and ride the electric bike at full-capacity if they wanted to.
This is especially the case for their electric mountain bikes, because they are robust enough to travel those dustry, untamed roads. By having the option of delimiting your speed, you can utilise the full power of the 250-500W motor so that you can enjoy a more thrilling E-Bike ride.
Even our Elmax E-Bike, within our commuter range has this function applied to it. And although an electric commuter bike is designed for city use in general, as an outdoor recreational product, you may also want to take your E-Bike off-road at times. Having this delimiting option available give you the ability to ride faster and at a more powerful level than you would get the opportunity for in a regular city-ride experience.
Can an E-Bike with the limits applied effectively cope with a variety of public roads and hilly landscapes?
Yes, a well-designed electric-bike is not a toy, it is a fully-functional method of transport. The regulations applied for on-road use and for use on public footpaths, takes into consideration what an electric bike might be use for.
E-Bikes would generally be used for:
Travelling short distances regularly, (shops)
A method of transport to and from work (city and suburban commute)
Recreational activities (public cycling paths)
Adventure recreation (trail-rides)
In all of these instances above a quality electric bike, produced by a reputable E-Bike company in Australia, can easily cope with these rides without any issue.
Keep in mind that the E-Bike is defined by having pedal assist. Therefore even if you were riding up a hill, you could apply more or less pedal-power to help you through the motion of getting to the top.
If you really want to ride faster!!
If you are not thinking of these laws as limitations but instead as laws that are there to protect you and the public that are in your immediate surroundings while you are riding, you will not feel like it is a restriction.
Being a road-user is dangerous enough, even as the driver of a car, you are continuously at risk on the road without people obeying the road-laws and that applies just the same for a motor-bike.
There are already laws in place that protect the cyclist, they are not there to limit you, but to protect you.
If you are enjoying your E-Bike experience and you would like to try out more speed and test out its power consider finding trail bike riding clubs. There are plenty of off-road venues in and around Australia where you can get the opportunity to use your -Bike to its full capacity.
Additionally, high-quality electric mountain bikes can cope with full-on off-road terrain;
- Extreme hills
- Jumping logs
- Uneven dirt roads
etc…just like any other traditional (non-powered) mountain bike.
The mountain bikes at the Onebike brand can definitely live up to all of these expectations.
In fact, if you wanted to organise a test ride at a particular venue or trail, all you need to do is contact our office on 0408 335 716, or use the Booking Form (we get back to you very quickly!)
With the upsurge of electric bike popularity, it is likely that we will be seeing more trails set up specifically for electric-bike trail bike riding or at least adapted for their use.
For now, you are advised to adhere to the laws and regulations that apply to either Australia or to your state if they have independent laws regarding electric bikes.
In Victoria, an electric bike is simply an electric powered upgrade to a regular bicycle and does not require either to be registered nor does the rider require a license. However, you can check below for specifications regarding this matter from the official road authorities for each state.
If you live in or around Melbourne or Brisbane, we can organise a free test ride. Alternatively, if you are outside of these areas, our 30 day money-back guarantee and 3-year warranty can give you peace of mind in being able to receive good after-sales care and service.
My Onebike is an Australian-owned electric bike company that delivers Australia-wide. We have a fantastic follow-up service to our customers so that we can help them through their teething problems with their new electric bike. We can help explain Australian laws relating to E-Bikes, just contact our office.