Electric bikes are becoming highly popular in Australia, all thanks to their environmental benefits, ease of use and convenience. These electric beasts combine the power of electric motors and pedaling for riders, and have become one of the most sought-after means of commute and recreation among Australians.
However, many enthusiasts often question: Do e-bikes need license and registration in Australia? If you are wondering the same, then scroll down to learn more about e-bike licensing requirements in Australia. So without any further ado, let’s dive in.
Is it necessary for e-bikers to get a license in Australia?
Before we explore the legal framework in detail, let’s talk about the major concern among all users: Do e-bikes need license and registration in Australia?
Well, if your electric bike complies with the power requirements which is 250 Watts for pedal-assisted bikes, then you don’t require any license, third-party insurance or even registration to ride your electric bikes. You can freely ride your electric bike without any legal document.
Moreover, it is also important to note that non-compliant electric bikes that operate on motors exceeding the power limits are strictly prohibited on public roads. You are only allowed to use these electric bikes on private properties. Otherwise, you need to comply with the motorcycle requirements and do legal registration for public use.
Can you use your motorbike license for your e-bike?
Many users often ask about using their motorcycle license for their e-bikes. The simple answer to this question is: No!
Your motorcycle license is only valid for your motorcycles, not electric bikes. In simple words, your license or any legal document doesn’t make your electric bikes legal. It is your electric bike and its specifications that make it legal.
If you want to keep up with the legal requirements on public roads in Australia, your bike should be according to the stipulated standards of a road-legal electric bike. So before you buy any electric bike, make sure that it meets the standard and regulations in Australia.
Are electric bikes legal across Australia?
Since Australia has been a little slower in adoption of electric bikes as compared to the rest of Europe, some users are also concerned about the legality of electric bikes across Australia.
If you are one of those users, then we have some delightful news for you! E-bikes are legal across Australia. Whether you want to go on a weekend adventure or for daily commute, you can use your e-bike.
The guidelines and limitations set out by the European standard EN 15194: 2009 and EN 15194: 2009 + A1: 2009 apply to all e-bikes across Australia. The following guidelines are generally applicable across Australia (although there are some minor variations in speed limits and regulations, which relate back to bicycle regulations).
However, a few territories have included these requirements in a different set of regulations, such as Western Australia’s eRideable guidelines.
In Australia, e-bikes come in two varieties, both with motors that have a 25 km/h speed restriction (though you may pedal past this limit without motor-assistance). Following the guidelines set forth by the Australian regulatory bodies, the following section describes each kind of e-bike:
These e-bikes come with electric motors that run at no more than 250 Watts. You have to use manual pedal assistance to activate the motor. These bikes weigh less than 50 kg.
These electric bikes should run at 200 Watts or less. They may also feature a throttle to activate the electric motor, but once you reach the speed of 6 km/hr, the power must be switched off. These bikes can easily cross more than 6 km/hr entirely using the motor power… but you can do that either in pedal-assistance mode (where you use your leg power in addition to the motor assistance) or in pure manual/ cycling mode.
The majority of Australia’s states have similar laws, some state or local regulations regarding bicycles differ, and e-bikes are no exception. This affects activities like transporting passengers and using your phone while riding a bike. It’s crucial for cyclists to educate themselves with state regulations about electric bikes.
Can you ride on footpaths using your electric bikes?
In all Australian states and towns, it is strictly forbidden for riders of electric bikes to ride on pavements. It’s important to always keep in mind that walking on footpaths can put you and other pedestrians at serious risk. It’s best to avoid walking on footpaths altogether to be safe.
However, some exceptions are discussed and explained in detail below. Let’s take a quick look at them:
Shared routes that are accessible to both bicyclists and pedestrians may exist in some states, such as New South Wales. But it’s crucial that you stay to the left and give way to pedestrians when riding your bike.
Almost every territory and town in Australia has biking tracks. Therefore, it would be best if you use the biking tracks for your commute. If there is a bike track available, it is wise not to ride on the same street as other automobiles. It’s also crucial to remember that automobiles other than bicycles are not permitted to use your biking track for over 50 yards.
Do police check your electric bikes in Australia?
Some riders are also concerned about the police inquiries. Mostly, the police don’t check electric bikes. However, in case, your bike meets a road accident or you break standard regulations, they might probe.
In such circumstances, when the police probes or inspects your electric bike, the only thing that matters to them is your e-bike label. Typically, all electric bikes come with a label attached from the manufacturers.
So before you make the purchase, make sure your label has all the important elements like model, manufacturer, importer, maximum speed limitations and power capacity. Whether you are buying it from an online store or a local dealer, it is imperative that you check your bike label for all these crucial details.
Additional e-bike rules and regulations in Australia
Now, there are some additional rules and regulations regarding e-bikes in Australia. Let’s continue reading to learn more about that:
- Hand Signals: Practice using hand signals correctly to alert other drivers if you intend to stop, slow down, or turn. It would be best to ensure you use specified and conventional signals.
- Riding Abreast: You and your riding companion are only allowed to ride together for a maximum of 1.5 meters; any additional distance will prevent you from riding together. It is important to note that no more than two electric bikes can ride side by side unless they are taken over by a third biker.
- Bus Lanes: Cyclists and e-bikers are allowed to use the bus lanes and tramways, but you must exercise particular caution not to try to pass a bus or tram that is attempting to re-enter traffic after coming to a complete stop.
- Helmets: Australia has a legislation that has made it mandatory for all e-bike riders to wear helmets at all times. You could be penalized for cycling without a helmet.
- Pavements: You can also receive a fine from the police for biking on the pavement if they are having a particularly rough day. Cycle tracks and shared walkways are not considered “footpaths.” Anybody over 16 is not permitted to ride a pushbike on a sidewalk that isn’t designated as a shared walkway for bicycles and walkers in the majority of states and territories.
- Traffic Rules: It is important to remember that red lights are not just for other vehicles, traffic rules stay the same for e-bikes as well. Like other vehicles, you are also not allowed to drive through red traffic lights. Until the bicycle traffic signal turns green, it is mandatory for all e-bikers to always stop at a red light. You could risk a penalty of $300 if you violate that traffic rule for whatever reason.
- Lights: When riding at night, you also need to be equipped with front and rear lights as it’s highly unsafe to ride without them. In case you are not equipped with a working light at night, it may also result in a penalty. For added convenience, many e-bikes come with built-in front and rear lights, so you may have a safe ride at night.
We hope we have answered your query regarding whether e-bikes need license and registration in Australia. Not just that, we have tried to cover everything you need to know about e-bike license requirements in detail.
While you might not require a license for your electric bike in Australia, it is important to follow all the rules and regulations. Remember, these rules are designed for your safety, so make sure to stick to them to stay away from any legal trouble or accidents.