Power assisted bicycles
Power assisted bicycles are likely to have similar performance characteristics to pedal powered bicycles so the same road rules apply. These types of power assisted bicycles are not required to be registered nor the rider required to be licensed.
Definition of a power assisted bicycle
A power assisted bicycle is identical to a pedal powered bicycle, except it has an auxiliary motor. Power assisted bicycles have two definitions in Victoria:
- A pedal cycle with one or more auxiliary propulsion motors attached which has a combined maximum power output not exceeding 200 watts.
- A bicycle certified as a Pedalec (compliant with European Committee for Standardization EN 15194:2009 or EN 15194:2009+A1:2011 Cycles - Electrically power assisted cycles - EPAC Bicycles). This bicycle features an auxiliary power producing no more than 250 watts and specifies this as a continuous rating. It also restricts the top power assisted speed to 25 kilometres per hour and requires the rider to pedal to access the power.
A motorised bicycle is not classed as a bicycle if:
- the motor is the primary source of power
- the motor's power output exceeds 200 watts (whether or not the motor is operating).
These are considered to be motorcycles. The rider will be required to hold a motorcycle licence and have the vehicle registered before it can be used on the road network. Motorcycles cannot be ridden on footpaths or bicycle paths. Motorcycle riders must wear an approved motorcycle helmet.
What is the purpose of power assisted bicycles?
The purpose of the auxiliary motor(s) is to provide assistance to the rider, for example when cycling uphill or against the wind, to enable older or less able bodied people enjoy the benefits of cycling or to enable people travel comfortably over longer distances.
What is a Pedalec?
A Pedalec is a type of power assisted bicycle equipped with one or more auxiliary propulsion motors. It allows a maximum power of 250 watts, with a safeguard allowing for power assistance only when the bicycle is travelling at less than 25km/h and the rider is pedaling. This means that the rider must pedal to obtain help from the auxiliary motor(s) and cannot simply be propelled by the motor alone. Note: The motor may operate without the rider pedaling up to a speed of 6km/h.
A Pedalec bicycle is a safe alternative mode of transport to a manual bicycle or passenger car. A Pedalec has power assistance that allows a bicycle rider to travel further and ride with less effort.
Changes to road rules for Pedalec riders
In September 2012 the Minister for Public Transport and Roads, Terry Mulder MP, announced a change to the Victorian Road Rules to allow a Pedalec to be used as a bicycle in Victoria. Rules in other Australian jurisdictions may differ. We advise that riders check with the relevant road authority before travelling interstate.
The primary objective of the change is to provide increased options of transport for road users. Other benefits of the change include:
- capitalising on new technology and allowing more options of power assisted pedal cycles while maintaining safety requirements
- responding to demands from the community
- encouraging more road users to cycle as a form of sustainable transport
- bringing Victoria into line with regulations of jurisdictions around the world
- better identifying power assisted bicycles with a clear plate marking.
Bicycle road rules
A rider of a power assisted bicycle must comply with Victorian bicycle road rules. Visit the bicycle road rules page for more information.