FORMER Limerick Mayor Cllr Daniel Butler has called on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to address serious concerns locally about high speed electric bicycles (e-bikes).
In his correspondence to Minister Ryan, the Fine Gael representative for City West pointed out that these vehicles are achieving speeds well in excess of 25km/h causing danger to motorists and pedestrians.
“These e-bikes are also being used to engage in illegal activities as they can access routes which are hard for Gardaí to follow.
“Are there any further measures to address this issue, such as the regulation of the sale of these e-bikes forthcoming?” Cllr Butler asked the Minister.
“It has become an issue of serious concern locally and is getting to a crisis point, so we need the support of you and your office working in conjunction with the Department of Justice,” he added.
In response to Cllr Butler, Minister Ryan explained that the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021, which was enacted last week, makes a legal distinction between lower-powered e-bikes and higher-powered models, which are more akin to light mopeds.
“The current arrangements for low-powered, pedal assist e-bikes, which are designed with power output up to 250W and assisted speeds up to 25km/h — that they are treated under road traffic legislation in the same way as pedal cycles — will be unchanged,” he said.
The Minister went on to say that, in line with European Union law, high-powered and power-on-demand e-bikes, with a power output in excess of 250W or which can achieve assisted speeds in excess of 25km/h, will be re-classed as mechanically propelled vehicles.
“This type of vehicle will be known as an e-moped. As for all mechanically propelled vehicles, e-mopeds will require registration, taxation, and insurance, and users must hold the appropriate driver’s licence. The use of cycle lanes will not be permitted.
“The Bill has not yet been finalised and the changes to the classification of e-bikes and e-mopeds do not yet have legal effect. However, the Bill is expected to complete its final stage in the Dáil this week.”