One to watch
Recent developments in the European Union look set to threaten the rise in e-bike popularity.
That's because in 2014, a case heard at the EU Court of Justice resulted in what is now known as the ‘Vnuk judgement’, named after a Slovenian agricultural labourer who was knocked off a ladder by a reversing tractor. The judgement means that a 2009 EC directive on motor insurance now has to be extended beyond the range of motor vehicles which are used on roads or in public places.
Whilst the UK Government are currently looking in to the possibility of ‘derogating’ vehicles such as e-bikes from the insurance requirement so long as electric bikes are found to be safer than cars, failure to do so could mean that e-bike owners would be obliged to take out mandatory motor insurance costing over £100 per year.
This could definitely put a damper on popularity of e-bicycling which is currently witnessing a huge growth. As many as 4% of all adult bikes currently sold in the UK are now electrically assisted and it is estimated that as many as 1 in 15 bikes sold in the UK could be e-bikes in the not too distant future – meaning an extra 320,000 cyclists on Britain's roads.