eBike Regulations for NSW – What’s Permissible & What’s Not?
Are you a law-abiding Aussie looking to make sure your eBike is in the good books of the Government? This guide is just what you need. From the regulations to the bikes allowed and the ones not allowed to the legal implications of being non-compliant, we’ve discussed it all in this post.
So whether you’ve already purchased an electric bike or are looking to buy one, go through this quick-read to ensure you are not riding against the law.
What Makes an eBike Legal on NSW Roads?
Before we dive into the classifications of ebikes that are legal and illegal on the NSW roads, let’s know about the legal ruling on this. Any bike that complies with the EN15194 European Standards is perfectly fine to be used on public roads.
However, the manufacturers must certify that the bike aligns with the mentioned EU Standards just like the Bosch-powered ebikes. If your bike has the certification, you are allowed to use it to ride through public roads of every territory and state in Australia.
Every Territory & State Has Set eBike Regulations:
ADR or Australian Design Rules were implemented in 2012 that allowed ‘pedelec-pedal-assisted’ electric bikes that confirm with the EN15194 EU Standards certified by the manufacturers. These bikes are powered by 250w pedelecs, meaning they only assist with paddling and are not throttle operated. This is kind of like having a power steering in your car that turns the tires left and right faster when you spin the steering wheel and not on its own.
These nationwide changes paved the road for territories and states to set their own ebike regulations while complying with the main EN15194 rule for 250w pedelec bikes. Victoria was the very first state to implement the obligatory ebike standards. Others followed later on, including NSW, with Northern Territory being the last to enforce the regulations in 2015.
Now, to import an ebike, you need to have approval from the Federal Department of Transport that oversees the Australian Design Rules. Those importing 200w ebikes, which are throttle operated, and the 250w ebikes that have pedelecs, need to provide documentation that proves compliance with the Australian Design Rules. Therefore, for 250w pedelecs, an official document conforming to the EN15194 standards is needed for the import permit.
So, What Types of eBikes Can You Legally Ride on the NSW Roads?
If you look at the NSW VSI (Vehicle Standard Information) 27 document provided here, you’ll come across two ebike classes that are allowed on public roads and even some specific public areas. Let’s have a gander at them below:
- 250w Pedelec Bikes: These are the power-restricted bikes, meaning, when the needle hits 25km/h, the powered assistance of the pedals automatically cuts out. So as long as these bikes are conforming to the EN15184 standards, you’re good to ride them on NSW roads. However, each bike must have a label from the manufacturer citing compliance with EN15194 and a restriction of speed at 25km/h. The label should be clearly visible so a law enforcement officer can easily check it out if you’re ever stopped.
- 200w eBikes: These are not speed-restricted bikes, but because of their smaller motor capacity, they don’t go above 25km/h without you paddling harder. Some of these bikes may have throttle fitted, meaning you may not have to paddle them. Their motor-combined maximum power output shouldn’t exceed 200 watts.
Okay, And What About The Bikes That Are NOT Legal for NSW Roads?
As a general rule, any ebike that doesn’t belong to the aforementioned two categories should not be legal on NSW roads. This means:
- If a bike has throttle, its motor capacity should not go above 200w rating
- If a bike has an aftermarket kit fitted, it should not go above 200w rating
- If a bike is 250w but doesn’t have a label from the manufacturer confirming compliance with the EN15194, and the 25km/h restriction is also not stated, then as per the VSI27, it won’t be legal to ride
It’s very important to understand that the certification for EN15194 is taken by the manufacturer on the whole bike. They are not only tested for the electronic components but also for structural durability and qualities. So if a bike goes for some modification like getting a retro-fitted or after-market kit, it cannot claim compliance with the European EN15194 Standard unless it goes through full lab testing.
The above-mentioned guidelines and regulations are our version of the VSI27 document’s interpretation. We recommend checking out the guide by yourself and learning further about the regulations for ebikes on NSW roads.
So What Are the Implications of Riding Non-Compliant eBikes?
If you ride an ebike like the ones by Bosch that are certified and have a label to prove compliance with the EN15194, you don’t have to worry about the implications. However, following road and traffic laws still apply to you. But besides that, if you are stopped by a curious police office asking if the bike is legally allowed on the NSW roads, then you can show them the manufacturer’s label on your ebike.
On the contrary, if you are riding through the NSW roads with a non-conforming electric bike, you can get fined. It might typically be for riding an uninsured and un-registered bike or maybe for riding without a license. In NSW, there are already too many penalties for infringing road laws against cyclists; law enforcers’ turning their heads towards ebikes is inevitable.
From an insurer’s point of view, if an ebike is involved in an accident, getting an insurance claim may not be easy. However, if it turns out the bike is non-conforming, they will not accept the insurance claim, resulting in no money for you.
Our Advice – Check Before You Make the Purchase:
The only good advice you need if you’re concerned about getting NSW laws adhering ebike is to read the VSI27 document. You need to make sure the bike you are buying conforms to the requirements mentioned. If you are in a different state or territory, check for a similar set of regulations with the local road and traffic authority.
The reason we’ve mentioned Bosch-powered bikes in this guide as compliant with the NSW rules is that they entered the market through approval from the Federal Government. So these electric bikes conform to the European EN15194 standard and the ADR (Australian Design Rules), making them legal on the roads of NSW.
Note: Always look for the compliance and confirmation label on the bike from the manufacturer before purchasing it.