New Regulations For E-Scooters And E-Bikes Come Into Force 20th of May 2024

Users of e-scooters must be over 16 for their own safety and the safety of other road users.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan T.D. and Minister of State Jack Chambers T.D. welcome the commencement of new regulations under the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 for e-scooters and e-bikes/e-mopeds into Irish legislation.

From 20th May, regulations that set out new legal and safe technical parameters and usage of e-scooters and e-bikes will come into effect. The regulations will layout the rules of the road for people choosing to use light electric vehicles which will be enforceable under Irish law.

A public information campaign outlining how these vehicles can be enjoyed and used safely on our roads will roll out from commencement day. The Gardaí and Road Safety Authority have been involved in the development of these regulations from the start and An Garda Síochána will be responsible for their enforcement.

E-scooters and e-bikes are an increasing feature in all cities, towns and villages in Ireland. The introduction of these new rules provides a legal basis for the range of vehicles available and the correct way of using them. This will help improve the safety for other road users as well as the vehicle users themselves

The regulations set out clearly how different types of e-scooters and e-bikes can be used safely.

1. E-scooters with a maximum power output of 400 W or less, a maximum design speed of 20km/h and with a maximum weight of 25 kg – these are the regular e-scooters used by the majority of people – will be legal to use on public roads. Any e-scooter that goes over these parameters – more powerful and heavier e-scooters – will remain illegal. The new regulations stipulate that users of e-scooters must be 16 or over, because of safety concerns for young users and other road users. People over 16 will be able to use their e-scooters in cycle lanes and bus lanes but not footpaths or pedestrianised zones and are not allowed to carry other passengers or goods.

2. E-bikes with a maximum power output of 250 W or less, a motor that cuts off once pedalling stops and has a maximum speed of 25km/hr – e-bikes that the vast majority of people use – will be treated the same as bicycles and will be permitted to use cycle lanes and bus lanes but will not be permitted for use on footpaths.

3. E-mopeds are powered cycles with pedals that have an electrical power-assist greater than e-bikes and are often capable of speeds in excess of even fast cyclists. Because of this additional power, all e-mopeds will require vehicle registration through Revenue and to have annual motor tax (€35 per annum). Users must be 16 years and above. There are two categories of e-mopeds:

(a) Those that have a maximum design speed of 25km/hr and a maximum power output of up to 1000W, and have an electric motor that cuts off when pedalling stops (L1e-A e mopeds). These vehicles will be permitted for use in cycle lanes and bus lanes but not on footpaths and users are legally required to wear a motorcycle helmet.

(b) Those that have a maximum design speed of up to 45km/hr and a maximum power output of 4000W (L1e-B e-mopeds). L1e-B e-mopeds can have a motor that cuts off when pedalling stops (pedal-assist) or can be powered by its motor alone, called throttle e-mopeds. Both pedal-assist and throttle e-mopeds under the L1e-B category, will require a Category AM driver’s licence. Additionally, throttle e-mopeds will require insurance. Both L1e-B mopeds will not be permitted to use cycle lanes, bus lanes, footpaths or pedestrianised zones and users are legally required to wear a motorcycle helmet.

The technical and usage parameters for e-scooters, e-bikes and e-mopeds are set out below.

1. E-scooters 

In June 2023, a new class of vehicles called Personal Powered Transporters (PPTs) were introduced under the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023. E-scooters will now be classed as PPTs and must comply with technical and usage specifications in order to be legally used on public roads.

An e-scooter is a vehicle with a small standing platform and no seat, for use by one person only. An e-scooter may have two or more wheels and be propelled by an electric motor.

Technical requirements

 To be permitted for use on public roads, e-scooters must:

  • have a maximum continuous rated power output of 400 W or less,
  • have a maximum net weight of 25 kg (including batteries),
  • have a maximum design speed of 20 km/h or less,
  • have wheels with a minimum diameter of 200mm,
  • be fitted with front and rear lights and reflectors, brakes and a bell, and
  • be fitted with a manufacturer’s plate certifying the power output, weight and design speed.

 Any e-scooter that does not comply with the above technical parameters will remain illegal for use on public roads.

Usage requirements 

E-scooters should be used in the same way as bicycles on public roads. Users must:

  • Drive on the left (including bicycle lanes and bus lanes). 
  • Be 16 or older.
  • Obey the rules of the road, particularly for traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, pelican crossings and zebra crossings.
  • Obey signals given by a Garda or school warden.
  • Obey all traffic lights, including bicycle traffic lights.
  • Obey all traffic signs in the same way that they apply to cyclists.
  • Not carry passengers or goods.
  • Not use the footpath.
  • Obey a speed limit of 20km/h.
  • Not use a Mobile phone.

2. E-bikes

Regulations around the type and use of e-bikes will be classified for the first time into Irish legislation and are based on regulations set out by the EU.

E-bikes are bicycles with electrical power-assist up to certain parameters as set out in EU type-approval legislation. E-bikes which are non-compliant with this legislation will be classed as e-mopeds (please see next section).

Cargo bikes which meet the below requirements will also be treated as e-bikes.

Compliant e-bikes will be treated as bicycles in terms of traffic legislation and use on public roads. They will be permitted to use cycle lanes and bus lanes, but will not be permitted to use footpaths.

E-bikes:

  • Have a maximum continuous rated power of less than or equal to 250W.
  • Output of the motor cuts off when the cyclist stops pedalling.
  • Output of the motor is progressively reduced and finally cut off before the vehicle speed reaches 25 km/h.

 3E-mopeds

E-mopeds, also known as speed pedelecs, s-pedelecs and throttle e-mopeds, are powered cycles with pedals, that have an electrical power-assist greater than e-bikes. Additionally, vehicles where the electric motor powers the vehicle without pedalling are also classed as e-mopeds.

E-mopeds will be classed as L1e mechanically propelled vehicles (MPVs) under Irish law and are subject to specific technical and usage requirements.

All E-mopeds will require:

  • Vehicle Registration with the Revenue Commissioners
  • Motor tax to be paid annually.

There are two distinct classifications under the L1e vehicle classification and there are some different requirements for each classification.

(a) L1e-A e-mopeds

Technical parameters

E-mopeds which fall under the L1e-A classification will:

  • Have a maximum continuous rated power up to 1000W.
  • Have a maximum design speed of up to 25km/h. 
  • Have an electric motor that cuts off when pedalling stops.
  • The output of the motor progressively reduces and finally cut off at a certain speed.

Usage parameters

  • L1e-A e-mopeds where the electric motor cuts off when pedalling stops (pedal assist) will not require insurance. 
  • Users of e-mopeds which are compliant under this vehicle category will not require a driving licence.
  • L1e-A e-mopeds will be permitted for use in cycle lanes and bus lanes, but not footpaths or pedestrianised areas. 
  • Users will be legally required to wear a motorcycle helmet and reflective high-vis and protective clothing is strongly recommended.

(b) L1e-B e-mopeds

Technical parameters 

E-mopeds which fall under the L1e-B classification will:

  • Have a maximum continuous rated power up to 4000W.
  • Have a maximum design speed of up to 45km/h. 
  • Output of the motor may cut off when pedalling stops (s-pedelec).
  • Output of the motor may progressively reduce and finally cut off at a certain speed.

An L1e-B e-moped that does not require pedalling and can be powered by its motor alone is called a Throttle e-moped.

Usage parameters

  • Throttle L1e-B e-mopeds, that do not require pedalling to move, will require insurance. 
  • Pedal Assist L1e-B e-mopeds will not require insurance.
  • L1e-B e-mopeds will require a Category AM licence for both pedal-assist and throttle e-mopeds.
  • L1e-B e-mopeds will not be permitted for use in cycle lanes, bus lanes, footpaths and pedestrianised areas.
  • Users will be legally required to wear a motorcycle helmet and reflective high-vis and protective clothing is strongly recommended.

(Source – Leitrim Observer – News – Donal O Grady 15/05/2024)

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