Riding an electric bicycle while respecting the traffic rules in force
Riding an electric bicycle requires the driver to respect the Highway Code. This rule tends to guarantee his safety as well as that of the other users. It also prevents accidents that could occur. Therefore, the cyclist must respect the regulations on the EAB and follow a certain number of instructions dictated by the government. These vary depending on whether the route is in the city, outside of a built-up area, during the day or at night. In this case, it is essential that the driver be fully aware of his environment. Furthermore, they must only drive on routes that are suitable for them. Here is a closer look at the rules of the road for an Electrically Assisted Vehicle (EAB).
Electric bicycle: what are the traffic rules to respect?
Riding a bicycle exposes the cyclist to a relatively high risk of accident . This is especially true when riding directly on the road, near motorized vehicles. In order to guarantee their safety and that of other users, it is important that they respect the traffic rules in force. These rules are not the same for urban or rural traffic.
General rules for riding an EAB
Generally speaking, a cyclist who plans an outing with his electric bicycle must be aware of the environment around him. To do so, he/she should not wear headphones, earphones or earpieces likely to emit sound.
As with motorists, cyclists should not ride with their phones in their hands. Failure to comply with this rule is punishable by a fixed fine of 135 €. The cyclist must also not ride his electric bicycle after having drunk too much alcohol. The limit not to be exceeded is currently set at 0.25 mg/l of exhaled air. If you exceed this limit, you are liable to a fine.
Finally, when riding in a group, it is best to ride in single file. During the day, riding two abreast is also possible if traffic permits.
Rules to follow when riding an EAB in the city
When riding an EV in the city, the traffic rules are clearer. They are also very clear in terms of parking.
Where to ride an EV ?
In the city, cyclists are invited to use only the bicycle paths or lanes that are dedicated to them. If the roadway has such lanes on both sides, cyclists must use the one on the right, respecting the direction of the traffic, the traffic signs and the traffic lights at intersections.
Some cities do not have bike lanes. In these cases, the law states that cyclists must ride on the right side of the road. They must keep as far away from parked vehicles as possible to maintain their safety. In any case, it is strictly forbidden to ride an EV on the sidewalks, unless you are under 8 years old.
Unless otherwise specified by the city hall, owners of bicycles are allowed to ride on :
- Greenways ;
- Meeting zones, at a speed of less than 20 km/h and respecting the priority of pedestrians;
- Zone 30, in which case two-way traffic is allowed;
- pedestrian areas, as long as you ride atwalking pace.
Where to park your bike ?
If the cyclist wishes to park his or her bike, he or she can leave the bike :
- in the spaces reserved for bicycles ;
- on the sidewalks, only if the bicycle does not hinder traffic and does not represent a danger for other users.
Rules to be respected when riding an EAB outside built-up areas
In the case of riding an EAB outside built-up areas, the cyclist must take some additional precautions. In this case, it is preferable tomove away from the shoulder of the road to avoid ruts and gravel.
In curves, it is recommended to stay to the right as much as possible to avoid any collision with cars. When a truck passes, you must also be particularly careful not to be caught off guard by theair flow, which can cause imbalances.
Penalties that apply in case of non-compliance with the Highway Code when riding an EV
Respecting the Highway Code when riding an EV is a legal obligation. In case of non-compliance with the imposed rules, the cyclist can be fined. The amount of the fine varies according to the offence, as shown in the table below.
|Violation of the Highway Code||Price of the fixed fine|
|Lack of lighting||11 €|
|Changing direction without warning||35 €|
|More than two cyclists abreast on the roadway||35 €|
|Having a passenger without a seat attached||35 €|
|Exceeding the speed limit||35 €|
|Failure to stop at an amber light||35 €|
|Driving on sidewalk in built-up area||135 €|
|Wearing headphones or using a cell phone while driving||135 €|
|Driving in the wrong direction||135 €|
|Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign||135 €|
|Failure to give way to pedestrians||135 €|
|Inappropriate speed under the circumstances||135 €|
EAB: what about insurance?
Insurance is not compulsory for electrically assisted bicycles whose power is less than 250 W and whose assistance is not activated above 25 km/h. However, in case of damage caused to others, the cyclist can be held responsible. It is therefore important to have a civil liability guarantee. This is usually included in comprehensive home insurance policies.
On the other hand, the insurance is compulsory for the VAE whose :
- the power is superior to 250 W;
- the speed is higher than 25 km/h.
In this case, the bike is considered as a motorcycle and the insurance to be taken out is the same as for this type of vehicle.
Electric bicycle and registration: what are the instructions?
Registering an electric bike is not necessarily mandatory. It all depends on the power of the motor and the maximum speed of the cycle:
- electric bicycles with a motor power of 1,000 W and a speed between 5 and 25 km/h must be registered;
- electric bicycles capable of going faster than 45 km/h must be registered;
- electric bicycles with a maximum motor power of 250 W and a maximum speed of 25 km/h do not need to be registered.
You now know the rules of the road for an EAB. As a reminder, these rules exist to protect cyclists and road users. They also tend to decrease the cyclist mortality which has been increasing strongly in the last few years (+21% in 2021 compared to 2019).
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