Electric Bike Regulations
In Australia, for an electric bike to still be considered a bicycle for use on the roads and paths, our electric bikes must be limited in their power.
We currently have two different conditions which can be met in order to achieve this ‘legal’ status. If you meet either of the current regulations below, you can ride your electric bike as a bicycle, anywhere where bicycles are allowed.
If you don’t meet the criteria below, you are riding a vehicle which is not legal on the road, and you could be charged with all sorts of traffic offences (from unregistered vehicle to being unlicensed, etc). It is worth noting that although it may be unlikely that you get caught, you are also not covered by TAC insurance if using an unroadworthy vehicle.
1) Motors of 200 watts or less
The existing law states that an “electric bicycle” motor must not be capable of generating more than 200 watts of ungoverned power. This law was not very clear and a little misleading, as all motors rated at 200w will be capable of exceeding that output during peak periods.
However, we took it to mean that the STATED output of the motor must not exceed 200w. There is no criteria under this law to have pedal-assist device fitted, so you can set the bike up with a throttle, and even cruise control.
2) 250-watt motors with pedal assist
The Australian Federal Government has now also adopted the European standard for electric bikes (already implemented by Victorian government).
This means we are now allowed to run a 250 watt motor, but it must be activated by a pedal assist system. This means that you must install a ‘pedalec’ device, which activates the motor automatically when you are pedalling.
You are not allowed a throttle capable of accelerating beyond 6km/h. The motor must be limited to 25km/h. See more info at the VicRoads website.
If you want lots of power at low speed (max 10km/h), you may be able to classify your bike/trike as a mobility device. See VicRoads for more info on mobility devices.
Think the laws should change?
If you disagree with the power output limit on electric bikes, we encourage you to write to the Transport Minister in your State or Territory.