What rules must be observed for electric bicycles (e-bikes) on the road?
13 March 2024

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) have become increasingly popular in recent years. E-bikes are bicycles equipped with an electric motor that supports or even replaces the pedaling power of the rider. 

E-bikes are a promising way for many people to get from A to B in an environmentally friendly and health-conscious way. However, anyone riding an e-bike on the road should follow a few rules to protect themselves and other road users.

The main types of e-bikes

  • E-Bikes: are bicycles that function independently of the pedaling power of the rider. The motor can have a power of more than 250 watts and drive the bike faster than 25 km/h. Depending on their performance and speed, e-bikes are classified as mopeds, mopeds or motorcycles and must be registered, insured and ridden accordingly.
  • Pedelecs: are bicycles with electric pedal assistance. The power is 250 watts and allows a speed of up to 25 km/h. Registration, insurance and driving license are not required.
  • S-Pedelecs: are fast pedelecs that can drive up to 45 km/h. They are considered mopeds and therefore require registration and insurance. The driver must have an AM driving license (colloquially: moped driving licence) and wear a helmet.

Legal basis and rules of conduct

Since e-bikes have now become very popular, there are a number of legal principles and rules of conduct that you should observe when riding an e-bike.

Legal basis:  E-bikes are legally classified as bicycles in Germany. That means they must obey the same traffic rules as bicycles. These include, for example:

  • The maximum permissible speed is 25 km/h.
  • E-bikes may only be used on cycle paths if they are available.
  • If the speed limit is exceeded, a fine can be imposed.
  • E-bikes must be equipped with a lighting system.
  • E-bikes must have an insurance number plate.

Behaviour rules: In addition to the legal basis, there are also some rules of conduct that should be observed when riding an e-bike. These include, for example:

  • Observe the traffic regulations: E-bikes are considered motor vehicles and must therefore obey the same traffic rules as cars and motorcycles. A helmet must be worn on public roads and speed limits must be obeyed. You should only use the sidewalk if necessary. Watch your driving, especially when cornering and in the wet.
  • Be visible:  E-bikes are often quieter than cars or motorcycles, making them more difficult to see for other road users. Wear light-colored clothing and use a bright lamp on your e-bike when riding at night.
  • Drive defensively: Don't drive too fast and don't drive too recklessly! Be aware of road hazards and drive defensively accordingly. Avoid risky driving maneuvers and be considerate of other road users.
  • Take regular breaks: E-biking can be exhausting, so it's important to take regular breaks. Dismount and stretch to relax your body.
  • Take care of your e-bike: Please maintain your e-bike regularly so that it stays in good condition and you can ride safely. Check tire pressure, brakes and lights regularly.

With these tips, you can help protect yourself and other road users from injury.

Conclusion

E-bikes are a comfortable and environmentally friendly way of getting around, but there are legal bases and rules of conduct to protect yourself and others.

Here are some additional tips for safe e-bike riding:

  • Familiarize yourself with your e-bike before your first ride.
  • Practice driving in different traffic situations.
  • Pay attention to the regular maintenance of your e-bike.
  • Have your e-bike checked regularly by a specialist.

By following these tips, you can minimize the risk of accidents while riding an e-bike.

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