In what could be a substantial blow to the growing European electric bike business, the European Commission (EC) has released a proposal to amend the Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive (MID) that would require all motorized bike users to purchase third-party liability insurance in order to ride on European roads. To become law the proposal still has to pass The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. Heavy resistance is expected from the bicycle industry.
The European Commission claims that motorized bikes should already have full motor vehicle insurance.
If there is no change from the European Parliament and Council the scope of the Directive will be:
“1. ‘vehicle’ means any motor vehicle intended for travel on land and propelled by mechanical power, but not running on rails, and any trailer, whether or not coupled
1a. ‘use of a vehicle’ means any use of such vehicle, intended normally to serve as a means of transport, that is consistent with the normal function of that vehicle, irrespective of the vehicle’s characteristics and irrespective of the terrain on which the motor vehicle is used and of whether it is stationary or in motion.
“If today`s proposal becomes a law, third-party liability insurance will be required that would discourage millions of European citizens to use pedelec, undermine the efforts and investments of several member states and the European Union to promote sustainable mobility,” states Adam Bodor advocacy director of the European Cyclists` Federation.
Language in the directive suggests member states of the EU will retain the right to exempt electric bikes, should their Governments so choose. But the EC proposal right now includes even the (light) power assisted bicycles – pedelecs under this directive.
The European Cyclists’ Federation continued: “With this text the European Commission is trying to criminalize millions of current power assisted bicycle users, almost all of whom have some kind of other insurance, and has effectively banned pedelec use without insurance usually reserved for motor vehicles.”
Photo courtesy Yamaha