E-bike boom creates 18% growth for moped market
Belgium’s two-wheeler market is in good shape with a global increase of 10,2% compared to last year. Electric bicycles – from slight electric support to full speed pedelecs – are booming and slightly taking over petrol powered mopeds. Belgian traffic laws clearly state that fast e-bikes require a moped driver’s license and a helmet.
Whether it offers a simple assistance or drives on eclectic power, the electric bicycle is interesting more and more users. Numbers don’t lie. With both categories (A and B) recording a growth of 18,5% compared to last year, adding to a total of 16.629 units, the electric bicycle even starts to eat some share of the moped market.
Speed pedelecs leading the charge
If we look closer at the numbers, one thing is clear: the faster bike leads the charge. In one year, the two-wheeler market has recorded a 10% decrease for A-class e-bicycles (max speed 25 km/h), whereas the B-class (max speed 45 km/h) has grown by 42%.
“Our clients tend to go for the higher class of e-bicycles”, declares a Brussels bicycle dealer, “the major argument is the speed. With a faster bike, cyclists are in phase with the traffic flow.”
Different types, different regulations
Electric bicycle legislation is clear and should be consulted by any new users. Since October 1st 2016, the Belgian government divides e-bikes in three different categories, each with its own regulation.
The first category groups electric bicycles with a maximum power output of 0,25 kW and a top speed of 25 km/h. The electric motor offering a simple support, they are considered normal bicycles and don’t require a certificate of compliance nor a helmet. Secondly, comes the type of e-bike with bigger motor (up to 1 kW), which is still limited to 25 km/h. This type requires a certificate of compliance and its user should be at least 16 years old.
Finally, the faster e-bikes – or speed pedelecs – are considered mopeds because of their top speed of 45 km/h. Therefore, they have to respect the same laws as the petrol-powered mopeds, meaning that the cyclist should be wearing a helmet and be at least 16 years old. In addition, speed pedelecs have to be registered to the department of motor vehicles and be issued with a special number plate.
In terms of insurance, the first two categories don’t require a specific plan and the user can be covered by the family insurance. For the speed pedelecs that can drive purely on electricity, a specific motor vehicle insurance is required.