Illegal e-bikes don’t suddenly become legal when ridden off road

illegal electric bike

We’re often asked whether ETA cycle insurance covers powerful e-bikes if they’re only ridden off-road. The short answer is that we can’t cover any electric bike that doesn’t conform to UK law on EAPCs (electric assist pedal cycles). However, it’s understandable why people get confused.

UK law says electric bikes must not provide powered assistance beyond 15.5 mph (25 km/h) or a maximum continuous rated power over 250W. Anything above those limits is considered a motorcycle. As a result, and in common with any other type of motorbike, you’ll need the appropriate licence, vehicle excise duty, insurance, MOT, and a helmet.

Riding electric bikes off road

The exception to these rules is riding on private land with the landowner’s permission. However, it’s important to remember that simply being off-road is not enough. The area must be private land. Just as importantly, you must have explicit permission to be riding there.

While it’s true the UK government may soon increase the electric bicycle limit to 500W, until then, anything over 250W is classified as a motorbike.

Electric bike insurance

We cover all road-legal electric bikes as standard and every policy includes Cycle Rescue. If your e-bike develops a mechanical fault, suffers a puncture or the battery runs out of juice, you can call our breakdown team 24/7.

Every ETA cycle insurance policy includes protection against theft & accidental damage, battery theft and breakdown.
And we won’t devalue your electric bike. Ever. Read a full list of everything we include as standard.

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.

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