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Sunday 1 October 2023 Dublin: 15°C
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# Insurance
Govt liaising with insurance companies on cover for high-powered e-bikes
Insurance Ireland says it is unaware, at present, of any motor insurance products in Ireland designed for e-bikes.

GOVERNMENT IS LIAISING with insurance companies on motor insurance cover that will be required for electric bikes that exceed a speed of 25km/h.

The Government’s Road Traffic and Roads Bill, which will regulate the use of e-scooters and e-bikes, is currently before the Oireachtas. 

A decision has been made to exempt vehicles that travel under 25km/h from tax, insurance, registration and licence requirements.

However, while e-scooters and pedal-assisted e-bikes that go no faster than 25km/h are treated the same as regular push bikes, high-powered e-bike that can reach speeds higher than 25km/h will fall under the same category as mopeds and motorbikes.

That means they will be subject to the same rules – such as the requirement to have insurance. 

Junior Minister for Transport Hildegarde Naughten said in a recent parliamentary question to Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy that higher-powered e-bikes will be required to be registered, taxed and insured.

“Users will require a driver’s licence and the relevant rules of the road for mopeds and motorbikes will apply.

“This change will ensure that e-cyclists who do not wish to be capped at 25 km/h and prefer to opt for a more powerful model will have the necessary legal structures in place to do so, and that risks to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians are managed by removing these faster vehicles from pedestrianised zones and cycle lanes,” she said. 

“My officials are currently engaging with insurance industry representatives in relation to high-powered e-bikes,” she added. 

Despite the minister stating that high-powered electric bikes will require insurance, the group that represents insurance companies in Ireland has told The Journal that it is currently “unaware” of any motor insurance products in Ireland that are designed for e-bikes. 

No insurance products designed for e-bikes yet

“Insurance Ireland is unaware, at present, of any motor insurance products in Ireland designed for e-bikes, nor are we are aware of an appetite from the general public to purchase such a product,” it said.

While Insurance Ireland said it has liaised with Government on this issue, the group added that is “awaiting further clarification on the definition and scope of the use and range of e-bikes and e-scooters”. 

When asked how much insurance for an e-bike or scooter might be in the future under the new legislation, Insurance Ireland said “pricing is a matter for individual companies and competition law prevents us from commenting on future pricing in the market”.

The provisions in the new legislation will also create a new category of vehicle to be recognised in the Road Traffic Act 1961, called powered personal transporters or PPTs, which will include e-scooters.

The Department of Transport said e-scooters will, in many respects, be treated in the same way as bicycles in relation to their use and the application of traffic legislation.

“It is not intended to subject e-scooters to tax, insurance, registration or operator licensing requirements. 

“However, to minimise the potential for injury, design restrictions will apply. A maximum speed limit will apply and technical requirements, including for lighting and construction, will be introduced. E-scooters which exceed these criteria will remain illegal for public road use,” said a spokesperson.

Naughten said establishing this new category of vehicle will enable the Department of Transport to set out “appropriate technical and safety standards and rules for the safe use of e-scooters in regulations, without the same need for registration, licensing, insurance and taxation associated with mechanically propelled vehicles like cars, buses and trucks”.

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