Ireland Allows Personal Powered Transporters (PPTs) & Updates E-Bike Classifications

148 days ago

3 minutes

The new Irish Road Traffic and Roads Act of 2023 was enacted on 23rd June 2023 and took effect from 31st July 2023. The act is a comprehensive piece of legislation that aims to modernize and future-proof Ireland’s regulatory system to ensure that it can adapt to new technologies as they continue to emerge. A significant part of this legislation, Part 12, will change the definition of a Mechanically Propelled Vehicle (MPV) and will create a new category called a Powered Personal Transporter (PPT). It clarifies the legal status of e-bikes.

1. Powered Personal Transporters (PPTs): A New Vehicle Class

This new vehicle category will include e-scooters and future micro-mobility devices. PPTs do not require registration, motor tax, insurance or or a driving licence for use on Irish roads.

The power, weight and design speed of PPTs are capped as follows:

  • Maximum continuous rated power output of up to 500 W
  • Maximum net weight of 25 kg (battery included)
  • Maximum design speed of up to 25 km/h

While the Act sets these values for all PPTs, it grants the Minister the authority to adjust them in regulations tailored to specific PPT types. It’s important to note that the use of any PPT will only be legal once specific regulations are in place. The Department of Transport is actively working on regulations for e-scooters, but there are currently no plans to regulate other PPTs, such as self-balancing vehicles for instance, thus making them illegal for use on public roads.

2. E-bikes: Classifications

E-bikes will be split into two classifications.

a. Pedal Assist E-bikes (Pedelecs):

Power output: Up to or equal to 250W

Motor cuts before reaching 25 km/h

Pedelecs falling within these specifications will be classified similarly to regular pedal cycles. Users can continue to ride them on public roads and on cycle and bus lanes. Just like conventional bicycles, they are not allowed on footpaths or motorways. No registration, tax, insurance, or driver’s licence is required for these e-bikes.

b. E-bikes with Higher Power Output (Speed Pedelecs):

Power output exceeding 250W and/or motor not cutting out at 25 km/h

E-bikes falling under this category will be classified as e-mopeds, treated as mechanically propelled vehicles (MPVs), similar to mopeds or motorcycles. Users will need to register, tax, and insure their e-mopeds, and an AM category driver’s licence is mandatory.

By implementing the insurance exemption in its Road Traffic and Roads Act, Ireland applies the new European Directive 2021/2118 of 24 November 2021 amending Directive 2009/103/EC relating to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles, and the enforcement of the obligation to insure against such liability.

In this directive the insurance exemption applies to any motor vehicle propelled exclusively by mechanical power on land with:

  • A maximum design speed of less than 25 km/h; or
  • A maximum net weight of less than 25kg and a maximum design speed of less than 14 km/h

The regulations for e-mopeds are anticipated to be effective in the first quarter of this year, once administrative arrangements for registration, driver testing, licensing, and taxation are in place.

Photo by Joseph Kelly on Unsplash

Ineke Meireleire

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