What are Electric Bike Throttles? The UK Legality of eBike Throttles
What are electric bike throttles? This is a question that many people have been asking lately, as the popularity of electric bikes continues to grow. Throttles are a feature on an electric bike or ebike kit that gives you a boost of power while you ride. Some people find this feature helpful, while others are worried about the legality of throttles in the UK. In this blog post, we will investigate the legality of using ebike throttles in the UK and discuss the pros and cons of using one!
Can you add a throttle to an electric bike?
Throttles are not a required feature on a converted e-bike. If the controller is adjusting your power according to the conditions, are you really missing something? If you are wondering how to install throttles on a converted electric bike (because you’re looking at converting your bike to electric), read on.
However, the throttle will depend partly upon the electric bike you use. First, the motorised e-bike controller must be equipped with a connector to connect to the throttle. There are two ways of doing this.
Firstly, you can use the waterproof wire connector to connect your battery and controller to the throttle.
Secondly, some LCD panels have Bluetooth connectivity. This means that you can have a wireless connection from an integrated throttle to the brains of your bike kit.
E-bikes and throttles
Some bikes use throttles and some electric ones do not use a throttle. When people see the accelerator pedal in bikes most often we think of motorcycles that have a twisting grip. In most ebikes however, you can control the throttle using just a single button or thumb throttle. The boost of power is controlled just by pushing your thumb. Despite this, some bikes have a twisting type throttle.
Tell me the effect of the throttle on an E-bike?
An ebike throttle controls motor speed by controlling the power of the motor by changing the speed. The throttle is located near the handle. The throttle adds a further level of control to how much power is delivered.
Users say that their main use of the ebike throttle is when they want to climb hills. They just push the thumb throttle and an automated power boost is applied, at the expense of pedal-assisted cycling. This, however, is where ebike users are in a legal fix.
Electric bike throttle: Legalities
A throttle system in the UK converts an ebike into a moped. In mainland European countries too, throttles operating alone are generally illegal on e-bikes as when used can be considered to make a motorised bike.
This is because the bike can operate without the need for pedalling. To be considered as an ebike, you must be pedalling in addition to your assisted power.
So what? It’s a fair question but you deserve to understand the legal implications of using a thumb throttle on your bike.
The Legality of Using Thumb Throttles in the UK
In the UK, if your bike has an ebike throttle and is capable of going over 15.5 mph (25 km/h), it will need to be registered as a moped with the DVLA and you will need to have a driving licence and tax it.
So if you ride your ebike without pedalling and use a throttle, it will be classed as a moped.
Just using the electric assistance alone would mean that the bike is illegally converted and would be in contravention of the law.
What are the penalties for using a thumb throttle?
An independently powered ebike is must be treated as a motor vehicle. Take a look at this from Nottinghamshire Police.
“they are treated as motor vehicles and subject to the same legal requirements as other vehicles, such as MOT, licencing, tax and insurance.”
Additionally, you are required to have number plates, signals and rear lights.
So let’s total up the penalty points for using your ebike throttle on the road.
- If you don’t have insurance, you will have to pay a £300 fine and get six penalty points.
- If you drive without a licence, you can get a £100 fine and 3-6 penalty points.
- Various offences of no number plates, no signals, no rear lights – who knows!
Section 59 of the Police Reform Act gives police officers the authority to give you a warning if they believe you have been riding your bike in a way that makes other people feel frightened or uncomfortable. If the police believe it is necessary, they can take away your e-bike.
These are pretty heavy penalties for using a thumb throttle on a UK road. Which begs the following question:
Is there any point in adding a thumb throttle to your Easy Fit ebike?
No. To be truthful.
From January 1 2016, the only throttles legal within the UK’s EAPC legislation are those that assist the rider without pedalling up to a maximum speed of 3.7 mph – i.e. starting assistance only.
This makes using a thumb throttle with an Easy Fit ebike pointless. Why? Because the Easy-Fit e-bike kits only administer power once the speed has exceeded 5 mph.
A further reason as to how using a thumb throttle breaks the law.
Electric bike throttles may seem like a great way to add more control and convenience for electric bikes. They make it easier to ride up hills or go fast without pedalling. This is because the throttle can provide an automated power boost that doesn’t require you to pedal at all!
The downside, however, is that using a thumb throttle on your bike in the UK means breaking various laws: driving without insurance, no number plates/signals/rear lights etc.
If you want to avoid these things then take our advice. Our team of experts have plenty of experience and advise you strongly to avoid adding a thumb throttle to your Easy Fit LVBU e-bike conversion kit.
Avoid having to get your electric bike registered and avoid the risk of paying any fines or getting penalty points. Ebike throttles are not very effective anyway.
Give us a call today if you need any help at all with choosing a legal e-bike conversion kit with a battery in the UK.