Buying an e-bike? The rules you need to know

RACQ has urged Queenslanders making the switch to electric bicycles (e-bikes) to make sure they understood how the road rules applied to them, as they surged in popularity.

The Courier Mail reported Bicycle Industries Australia’s annual survey found Australians bought 50,000 e-bikes during the last 12 months, up from 27,000 in the 2018-2019 financial year.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said it was great news more drivers were embracing the technology as an alternative to cars.

“If more of us are taking up active transport options like e-bikes, it will really help get cars off the road and reduce congestion in the south east,” Dr Michael said.

Dr Michael said there were restrictions around power, speeds and pedalling cyclists should be aware of.

“For example, the electric motors are there to assist you – the pedals are still the main source of power for the bicycle and the motor must cut out at 25km/h,” she said.

“Of course, the rider can continue to pedal at speeds above 25km/h, just like a standard bicycle.”

Dr Michael said it was critical cyclists were familiar with the rules before they started cruising the streets.

“Ultimately, the same road rules apply as when riding a normal bicycle. So please make sure you’re wearing an approved bicycle helmet and displaying lights and reflectors when riding at night and in bad weather,” she said. 

“You can ride an e-bike on all roads and paths in Queensland, except where bicycles are prohibited, but make sure you keep left and give way to pedestrians when on a footpath or a shared path.

“A driver licence is not required, and an age-limit doesn’t apply either. Another plus is that e-bikes don’t require registration or compulsory third-party insurance.”