Electric bicycles boom: safer and simpler rules

Bern, 02.03.2012 - The electric bikes are increasingly popular and the product offering is continually expanding. The Federal Council has therefore decided to adapt the current rules to technological developments and to simplify them. Now, electric bicycles with a maximum power of 500 watts belong to the category of light motorcycles. They can reach a top speed of 20 km/h without pedalling assistance and 25 km/h with assistance. As for faster models, the pedalling assistance is limited to 45 km/h and a helmet is mandatory. The Federal Council has adopted these amendments today.

Electric bikes are part of the category of mopeds. To reflect the evolution of technology and increase road safety, the Federal Council has adapted the ordinance on the technical requirements for road vehicles (VTS) and the ordinance on the rules of road traffic as follows:

  • "Light mopeds" 
    The engine power of mopeds called light can now reach 500 watts maximum instead of 250 watts and speed reached by engine power alone (without pedal assistance) shall not exceed 20 km/h The maximum speed with pedal assistance can still reach 25 km/h. Helmet is recommended for safety reasons. A light moped does not require registration or control plate. 
  • Other "mopeds"
    E-bikes with power ranging from 500 to 1000 watts, reaching a speed inherent of 20 to 30 km/h or having a pedal assistance that also works at speeds of 25 to 45 km/h are considered to be mopeds and must registered and equipped with a corresponding control plate. From 1st of July 2012, wearing a certified bicycle helmet (if pedalling assistance can reach a speed greater than 25 km/h or an approved moped helmet (if the maximum speed exceeds 20 km/h by engine power alone (without pedal assistance) is mandatory for drivers of these vehicles.

All changes will take effect from 1st of May 2012.