Electric bikes

Uses and benefits

  • Commuting - the ease of riding means you can avoid the hassle of showering and changing when you reach your destination
  • Hill climbing - makes climbing hills light work, great if you live in a hilly area!
  • Shopping - load up your electric bike with heavy groceries
  • Go further - some electric bikes have battery ranges in excess of 40 miles
  • Travel faster - easier to set off quickly from junctions, allowing you to keep up with other road users
  • Green - instead of using a car or public transport, help keep urban pollution to a minimum
  • Affordable - no licence, insurance, or MOT needed. No need to pay for petrol or diesel
  • Health and fitness - you're still exercising, you still need to pedal. You can also turn the motor off and use it as a regular bike for an extra challenge!

Buyers guide

When buying an electric bike:

  • Look at where the bike has been manufactured, and ask your retailer how long the manufacturer has been around
  • Look for one that can demonstrate reliability or offers good servicing and a long warranty
  • Read the reviews of electric bikes online
  • You can buy electric bikes from most bike shops, although some specialist shops do exist


  • From £500 to over £2000
  • Electric bikes tend to cost more than regular bikes due to the addition of the battery and motor
  • Running costs are pretty low, with a full charge costing 5p on average

Charging your electric bike

  • Depending on the type of battery, an electric bike can last between 15 to 40 miles or more
  • Choose a battery with a range that is approximately twice your normal daily mileage
  • In general, batteries don't like fast charging. For regular commuting an overnight charger is safest and kindest to the battery
  • If you cycle a high daily mileage, you may need a faster charging battery so that you can recharge it between trips in the day

Safety and the law


  • Electric bikes accelerate faster than regular bikes, so take care when moving off. Make sure you are holding the handlebars straight, and that you are aware of other road users
  • Take care to leave enough space between yourself and other road users, particularly other cyclists, who may not be able to accelerate as quickly
  • As electric bikes are classified as standard bikes, you're not required to wear a helmet, however you should consider it
  • Make sure that you allow for extra stopping distance as you're likely to be travelling at a faster speed than on a regular bike

Read more tips on cycling safety.

The law

  • You must be at least 14 years old to ride an electric bike
  • Current UK law (June 2014) states that electric bikes should have a maximum assistance speed of 15mph and maximum power output of 200 watts if it is a bicycle and 250 watts if it is a tandem or tricycle
  • The bike must have pedals that can be used to propel it forward
  • The bike must have plates showing the manufacturer, the normal voltage of the battery, and the motor's power output
  • Electric bikes meeting these requirements is classed as a bicycle and, as such, they can use the same dedicated cycle facilities as other cyclists
  • The Highway Code and standard bike regulations apply

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