The first pedelec faster than 25 km/h has been type approved in Germany and is now legal in all EU Member States. The Swizzbee 50C can be used without helmet in most countries.
Since November 9, 2003 the new EU Directive 2002/24/EC concerning the type approval for two and three wheeled vehicles has been applicable in all EU Member States. According to this Directive, pedelecs up to 25 km/h and a motor with no more than 250 Watts rated output are considered bicycles. Pedelecs which exceed these technical specifications must have a type approval and are classified as “Mopeds”, and must consequently abide by all additional laws, i.e. type approval, adequate brakes, mirrors etc.
In Switzerland, there is no speed limit for pedelecs. The only requirements are type approval and an insurance plate. Thus, the fast ‘Swiss class’ – the Swizzbee 50C (former Velocity Dolphin) and the BikeTech Flyer – were illegal in most other countries if not limited to the corresponding top-speed.
Now, the German TUV Rheinland Berlin Brandenburg has found a way to legalize pedelecs faster than
25 km/h in the European Union without them having to abide by all moped regulations.
Swizzbee AG, headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, has obtained European-wide type approval for their pedelec in January 2004. It is the first legal pedelec in the EU that rides faster than 25 km/h (up to 35 km/h when the rider is pedaling). By means of a button at the handlebar the Swizzbee 50C can, alternatively, be used as a moped to a maximum speed of 15 km/h without pedaling. Speaking in legal terms, the Swizzbee 50C can therefore be regarded as “Low-Performance Moped”––a two-wheeler with a maximum design speed not exceeding 25 km/h, and working pedals (92/61/EWG and 2002/24/EC). Low-Performance Mopeds are subordinate to the European category “Mopeds” (maximum speed 45 km/h). Type approval requirements are simplified or do not apply for certain components. Low-Performance Mopeds can, e.g. apply bicycle lamps instead of much bigger moped lamps.
Once officially approved in one EU Member State – in this case by the German authority for transportation, the Kraftfahrt Bundesamt in Flensburg, in January 2004 – the Swizzbee is legal in all EU Countries.
Since insurance and helmet obligations are still a matter of national legislation, regulations may vary form country to country. In Germany as in most other EU countries the Swizzbee 50C needs an insurance plate and an operating lisence. Also, a moped driver's lisence is required.
Helmet obligation starts between 20 km/h (Germany) and 25 km/h in the EU Countries for this kind of vehicle. For the Swizzbee, this means: no helmet required.
On bicycle lanes the Swizzbee is illegal, unless the use of motorized vehicles is permitted by a traffic sign.
The Swizzbee AG expects to kick-off sales in the European Union in late February.
More about Swizzbee
More about regulations and type approval
List on EU Member States
For questions on type approval you can contact
Mr. Thomas Rohr at the German TUV Rheinland Berlin Brandenburg in Cologne
January 30, 2004
Last update: February 24, 2004