Is an Ebike Illegal in Ireland?

A question we’re commonly asked is – Is an Ebike Illegal in Ireland? The answer is eBikes are legal in Ireland.

A bicycle is considered street legal as long as it features basic safety standards which include brakes, bells, and lights. 

However, a bicycle is not needed to be covered by legal requirements for insurance, motor taxes and a license. This is due to the fact that a bicycle is powered by a human and the possibility to cause damage is similar to that of an individual walking or running, making it very worthwhile to get a bike. 

If you have thought that there needs to be a legal movement on bicycles, it will happen just as soon as an individua needs a license to operate a wheelbarrow! It more than likely is not going to happen anytime too soon. 

While we do not have the time to go into the full legal aspect of it, let’s take a minute and just boil down some of the finer points of it all. A motor tax is typically charged due to vehicle emissions and a bicycle has zero emissions. In fact, it would be a true blessing if more people began to ride bikes, therefore a tax on cycling makes no sense. As to the license, there is no way that a bicycle is more dangerous than a car, end of story. And the closest thing to insurance for a bicycle in the EU is personal liability insurance. However, it is not mandatory nor is it just for cycling. 

man and woman riding road bikes at the road near shore

Electric Bicycles 

Electric bicycles go by a variety of names including ebikes and pedelecs are simply pedal-assisted bicycles. This basically means that the rider needs to peddle less in order to move and that the motor will stop once the bicycles reaches the speed of 25km/h. 

A couple of decades ago, a vast number of countries throughout the world legislated for these electric bicycles as they realized there were a number of benefits. A bicycle with a motor would allow people to get around areas so much easier and be able to go longer distances. This makes it heavier which is one of the downsides.

Due to the limited speed and pedal-assisted nature of these bikes is one of the key reasons they are looked at no differently than normal bicycles in a legal aspect. This has been designated by EU law, so Ireland has really no choice in the matter. 

There is also a requirement that states that the motor’s output can be no more than 250W, however, this will likely be revised in the coming years. As cargo bicycles need more to carry larger amounts. 

Speed EBikes 

Speed ebikes are very similar to ebikes with the exception that they have a higher motor which is up to 45km/h. These have a number of different rules and regulations throughout Europe including the need for helmets and plates. 

In Ireland, a speed bike is classified as a motorbike and if it is used on public roads the rider is required to have a license, insurance, helmet, and paid taxes. 

Without meeting these legal requirements, the speed ebike is illegal on the roads of Ireland. It is essential that you understand all of the requirements needed for ebikes and speed ebikes before hitting the road. While a license and other requirements are not typically needed. You will find that there are special circumstances that could lead to legal troubles. If you are unsure about the specifics in your region, be sure to talk with local law enforcement for help.