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E-scooter and e-bike laws: Can I use bike lanes? Do I need insurance? How fast can I go?

Regulations on the use and specifications of e-bikes, e-scooters and e-mopeds come into effect from Monday

New regulations on the use of e-scooters come into force on Monday, making them legal for adults to use on roads for the first time.

But what do the new regulations for the owners of e-mopeds, e-bikes, and e-scooters mean for you?

That depends on what type of vehicle you own and what age you are. Overall, however, there will better codification of the legal situation for users and, one presumes, an increased likelihood of being pulled over by a member of An Garda Síochána if you are in breach of the law. Up to now, the use of e-scooters on the roads has been illegal, but this has been much ignored.

A public information campaign is to start on Monday – the day the new regime comes into effect – that will give greater clarity as to the legal situation.

So what is the situation with e-scooters?

Users will have to be aged 16 or older, and the scooter will have to comply with certain specifications if they are to be used on the road.

The scooter must be for one person only, have no seat, have a maximum continuous power of 400W, a maximum weight of 25kg (including batteries), and a maximum design speed of 20km/h.

The wheels will have to have a minimum diameter of 200mm, the scooter will have to have front and rear lights, brakes, and a bell, and be fitted with a manufacturer’s plate certifying the vehicle’s power output, weight, and design speed.

In its statement on the new regime, the Department of Transport said users will have to “obey the rules of the road” and not use the footpath. Passengers are not allowed, and operators are allowed use cycle lanes.

What about e-bikes?

They will have to have a maximum power of 250W, the output of the motor will have to cut off when the cyclist stops pedalling, and the bike must be incapable of going at faster than 25km/h. They are allowed to use cycle lanes. If e-bikes are not compliant with these power limitations, they will be classed as e-mopeds.

So what about e-mopeds?

E-mopeds are powered cycles that are more powerful than e-bikes. Classed as L1e mechanically propelled vehicles, they will require registration with the Revenue Commissioners and must be taxed annually. Under the new regime there are two sub-classifications.

The first, L1e-A, must have a maximum continuous power of 1,000W, max speed of 25km/h, have a motor that cuts off when pedalling stops, and a motor where the output reduces and then stops at certain speeds. Such e-mopeds do not require insurance or a driving licence and can use cycle lanes. Users will be obliged to wear a motorcycle helmet.

The second sub-classification, L1e-B, must have a maximum power of 4,000W, a maximum speed of 45km/h, a motor that cuts off when pedalling stops, and a motor that gradually reduces and finally cuts out at certain speeds.

A vehicle in this category that does not require pedalling is called a throttle e-moped. Such vehicles will require insurance.

L1e-B vehicles that require pedalling will not require insurance.

Operators of all L1e-B vehicles will require a category AM driving licence (a scooter licence), must not use cycle or bus lanes and must wear a motorcycle helmet.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent