Here is a break down by the RSA.ie – Road Safety Authority
What is an electric bicycle?
An electric, e-bike or booster bike is a bicycle with an electric motor. There are many types of e-bikes from those that only have a small motor to assist the rider’s pedal-power e.g. pedelecs to more
powerful e-bikes that do not need to be pedaled at all i.e. power on demand unless the rider wishes.
What is an electric or battery powered scooter?
An electric scooter is a small platform with two or more wheels that is propelled by an electric motor. Besides the motor the rider can also propel the electric scooter forward by pushing off the ground.
What is the law on e-bikes, pedelecs or battery powered scooters?
Regardless of the type of bike, or whether it requires an initial push start, the rules are:
If it can be powered by mechanical or electrical power alone (i.e. it can continue without you pedaling or scooting it) then it is considered to be a ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’ (MPV).
Under Road Traffic law if an MPV is used in a public place it is subject to all of the regulatory controls that apply to other vehicles. Therefore it must be roadworthy, registered, taxed and insured.
The driver of the vehicle must hold the appropriate driving licence and is obliged to wear a crash helmet.
What is the definition of ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’?
It is defined under The Road Traffic Act 1961 as follows: ‘a vehicle intended or adapted for propulsion by mechanical means, including:
(a) a bicycle or tricycle with an attachment for propelling it by mechanical power, whether or not the attachment is being used,
(b) a vehicle the means of propulsion of which is electrical or partly electrical and partly mechanical, but not including a tramcar or other vehicle running on permanent rails.’
What category vehicle is my pedelec, motor assisted bike or scooter?
L1e to L7e categories cover a wide range of two, three and four wheeled vehicle types. Is it compulsory to wear helmets, visors and goggles when riding motor cycles? Yes. Both rider and pillion passengers must wear helmets while on a public road which includes footpath under UNECE Regulation 22.05 and also S.I. No. 360 of 1978 as amended.
Do I need a licence to operate an e-bike or battery scooter?
This depends on whether the vehicle is classified as an MPV as above. If it is an MPV please contact our Licensing Section on 1890 41 61 41 or 096 25000.
How can I register my e-bike?
For an e-bike or battery scooter to be registered it will need an EC Cert of Conformity(CoC) from the manufacturer. For queries relating to registration please contact Revenue.
There is no COC available for my e-bike or scooter. How can I register it?
If the manufacturer cannot supply a CoC, this means your e-bike or scooter can only be used on private property or purpose built tracks.
Do I need to get my e-bike or scooter tested?
Currently, no. However under road traffic law it is the owner and driver’s responsibility to ensure their vehicle is kept in a roadworthy condition at all times when used in a publicplace. All parts and equipment must be in good working order. Failure to do so can result in prosecution.
Are engine or converter kits legal on push bikes and scooters?
There is no law against them however please note that the addition of the engine may result in your bike being treated as an MPV which means it will have to be registered, taxed, insured etc. In addition any conversion must be carried out to an appropriate standard so as not to render the vehicle non-roadworthy, unsafe or likely to cause an accident.
Is it legal for children to ride e-bikes or battery scooters on public roads?
This depends on whether the bike or scooter in question is an MPV or not. It is illegal for persons under the age of 16 to ride an MPV in a public place. If the bike is not an MPV there is no law against children riding it in a public place. We strongly recommend that young children should always be supervised if riding in a public place.
How do I know if my e-bike is classed as an MPV?
Please refer to the MPV definition above including the legal definition. If you are still unsure please seek legal advice. We do not assess vehicles on a case by case basis to ascertain whether they are MPVs or not. It is the legal obligation of the vehicle owner to ensure that their vehicle complies with all of the regulations applicable to the category of vehicle concerned.