Can I ride an electric bike without a licence and tax ?

Posted by Dan Radford on 27th Feb 2020

Can I ride an electric bike without a licence and tax ?

One of the great advantages of UK legal electric bikes is they are classified in the same category as a traditional bicycle.

This allows riders of electric bikes the same great freedoms as riding a normal bike.

I used to ride a motorbike mostly off-road at the weekends. Being on a motorbike meant I was only limited to riding on some of the lanes around where I lived as you cannot take a motorbike on the bridleways. Plus it always felt like the locals did not appreciate the noise of my machine! As soon as I switched to riding an electric bike, not only was it quieter for everyone concerned, but suddenly I could access all of the bridleways on my doorstep. Wearing my bicycle helmet instead of a full motorbike helmet and protective clothes was a bonus too!

What are the rules?

To be classed as an electric bike in England, Scotland & Wales, the government says:

  • It must have pedals which are used to propel it.
  • It can have a maximum power output of 250W.
  • The motor should not propel the bike above 15.5mph.
  • It should not have a twist and go throttle.

Check out the full description on the Government website here.

In addition, users of electric bikes must be aged 14 or over.

If you and the bike you are considering can meet the restriction above, then;

  • You do not need a licence, and
  • You do not need to pay road tax.

Making sure you choose a UK legal electric bike

But be aware when buying your electric bike. Not all retailers/manufacturers sell bikes which comply with these UK regulations. Find out more in our edemo Riese & Müller UK Buyer's guide

You don't have to insure your bike, although you can choose to do that if you wish.

And worryingly, you also don't have to wear a helmet. But, it's highly recommended to do so.

There is a grey area which allows retailers to sell customers these illegal bikes, passing responsibility on to the rider.

To be sure the bike you invest your hard earned cash into is legal, buy from a reputable dealer, who can clearly demonstrate the legality of the bikes they are selling.

edemo sell the full range of Riese & Müller electric bikes in the UK. Call us on 01453 834300 or email

We can provide friendly advice and support, to help you find the right bike and get you out on the trails!