Frequently asked questions about electric bicycles

An electric bikes pays off quickly but right now you might have lots of questions. We’ve compiled the most common of these questions here.

Electric bicycles and the law

Electric bicycles are subject to the same laws as ordinary bicycles with the addition that the electric motor is limited to 25km/h. You don’t need to have a special license to cycle an electric bicycle.

Nearly all electric bicycles sold in Europe are “pedal assist” electric bicycles, also known as “pedelecs” (short for “pedal-electric”). The electric motor isn’t the means of propulsion. What it does is provide assistance to the cyclist.

More technically, under Article 1(h) of EU Directive 2002/24/EC, these bicycles are defined as “cycles with pedal assistance which are equipped with an auxiliary electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power of 0.25 kW, of which the output is progressively reduced and finally cut off as the vehicle reaches a speed of 25 km/h, or sooner, if the cyclist stops pedalling”.

They are considered to be pedal cycles for the purposes of the law.

You don’t pay motor tax on an electric bicycle. You don’t have to have insurance either.

However, you may wish to insure your bicycle against theft or accidental damage. This can be purchased online from less than €15 per month depending on the value of your bicycle. See Bikmo or Blue Insurance for more information.

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If you have a question that isn’t answered here, don’t think twice about emailing us at We’ll be happy to help in any way we can. Don’t forget too to read our guide to getting an electric bicycle in Cork.