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Dream Legislation around Pedelecs

Because most laws evolve from history, and so won’t be suitable for new things like pedelecs, we’re taking the opportunity to write down what we would like.

Any proactive legislator is very welcome to make these ideas his or her own!

  1. A flat rate speed limit of 30 km/h in built up areas for all road users including cyclists. This would significantly reduce the potential dangers between road users because overtaking would make much less sense.

  2. The right to use cycle ways but no obligation.

  3. Status of pedelecs to be the same as bicycles, so no compulsory insurance or helmets, no driving license and no minimum or maximum ages.

  4. No compulsory dynamos, but a free choice of energy supply. In return compulsory daytime running lights front and rear.

  5. No power limit in Watts for lighting, but instead a minimum light output power of 80 Lux at the front, and permission to integrate indicators.

  6. No limitations by numbers of wheels or axles, nor by the number of people per vehicle.

  7. A ban on battery sales, to move manufacturers to sustainable leasing solutions instead.

  8. No drive system power limits. However limitation of the maximum power assisted speed in proportion to the pedal power applied. This means a ban on pedelecs with only rotation sensors, guaranteeing the cycling nature of the vehicle. This is the

    suggested relationship between human power input and power assistance cut-out speed:

  • Muscle power less than 50 Watt = max assisted speed 15 km/h

  • Muscle power less than 100 Watt = max assisted speed 20 km/h
  • Muscle power less than 150 Watt = max assisted speed 25 km/h

  • Muscle power over 150 Watt = max assisted speed 32 km/h
This rule would reflect the situation that applies on a bicycle: the top speed is linked to your muscle power. Nevertheless it would still allow even not so powerful riders to get up any hill, even loaded up, going at least at 15 km/h, thanks to the no longer limited electrical power.

Protective clothing such as helmets can make a lot of sense, but a compulsory helmet law, as is suggested from various quarters, would to say the least not be a productive idea under current circumstances.

It would dampen acceptance of cycle transport and so potentially lead to more deaths, because significantly more people in Europe die from lack of exercise than they do in traffic. Instead of a helmet a protective vest might be possible which in the case of a fall would inflate like an airbag, making the wearer into a sort of 'Michelin man'. That would be much more suitable than a helmet which, while it protects the head, also increases the chances of a serious neck injury.

Furthermore, ever more active safety technology is to be expected and this could alter the whole situation very rapidly, see:

>> Information for mobility and safety

Copy: Hannes Neupert, prepared within the EU GoPedelec! project: GoPedelec! Handbook (German version)

>> Go Pedelec! Handbook in Czech, Dutch, English, Hungarian, and Italian

Translation: Peter Eland (


Online release: Angela Budde

11 January 2013



7 - 12 September 2021, IAA, Munich, Testtrack