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Ireland passes laws to make e-scooters legal and rule out insurance need on e-bikes

Ireland passes laws to make e-scooters legal

Legislation changes in Ireland signed of at the tail end of last year confirm that electric bike and electric scooter riders will not be forced to have mandatory insurance, as other vehicle classes do and that e-scooters are now road legal.

By law, an electric bike remains, legally speaking, a bicycle (unless it can be assisted beyond 15.5mph),

In news that may have flown a little under the radar, electric scooters too have been permitted for use on roads in Ireland, introduced as a new vehicle class in the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023.

There are of course rules governing the vehicle weight, power and speed, along with other technical requirements, but the market is now the first in the British Isles to approve usage by the public outside of share schemes.

As for the subject of mandatory insurance, both e-bikes and electric scooters have been confirmed as not requiring cover, with regulations that came into force from December 23rd, 2023, confirming such vehicles as not considered ‘motor vehicles’.

Vehicles are, legally speaking:

(a) any motor vehicle propelled exclusively by mechanical power on land with —
(i) a maximum design speed of more than 25 km/h, or
(ii) a maximum net weight of more than 25 kg and a maximum design speed of more than 14 km/h

Pedal assisted bikes, on account of that need to pedal, are exempt as they are not wholly motor powered. In line with European norms, speed pedelecs are considered motor vehicles.

England has, as yet, only achieved a repetitive back and forth on the subject of whether e-scooters will become legal. There was an indication in a Queen’s Speech, while Grant Shapps was the Transport Minister, that a legalisation was inbound, but that does not appear to have been echoed since the change to Mark Harper.

It is widely expected that an election will come later this year and in view of this Cycling Electric will next week begin a series of interviews with MPs to understand the fine detail of proposed transport manifestos.

If you would nonetheless like to insure your electric bike, as many do, Cycling Electric has a bicycle and e-bike insurance cost comparison tool pulling detail from all the main suppliers.

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