Northern Ireland in talks to change legislation to encourage use of e-bikes

Posted: 14 May 2020 |

In a bid to encourage more active and sustainable travel, Northern Ireland Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, has put forward new e-bike legislation which will allow their use on public roads.

Northern Ireland in talks to change legislation to encourage use of electric bikes

Northern Ireland Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, recently bought to the Assembly new e-bike legislation which would allow their use on public roads without the need for registration or licensing.

Mallon said: “On 4 February I announced my intention to bring forward legislation to encourage use of e-bikes by removing the requirement for them to be registered, licensed and insured. I am delighted to bring this legislation to the Assembly. If affirmed, the legislative change will remove the prohibitive barriers and allow electric bikes to be used on public roads.

“This will be an important step to encourage more people regardless of age or physical ability to take up cycling to improve their health and wellbeing which has taken on more importance since the outbreak of COVID-19. I hope that the Assembly can support me and send a clear message to the people of Northern Ireland, that we must change the way we live not only in the midst of this crisis, but to also tackle the climate crisis, reshaping our world and opening new opportunities that enhance our communities and our wellbeing.

“As we move towards the recovery phase of this emergency, using electric bikes to travel to work or for recreational purposes would provide an opportunity for people to consider an alternative way to travel or enjoy their daily exercise. I recently announced the creation of a Walking and Cycling Champion within my Department and a key role for them will be to ensure that we deliver our commitment to increase the percentage of journeys made by walking and cycling. 

“By cutting down on traffic congestion, and reducing air pollution, we will also improve the quality of life for everyone in Northern Ireland. In my Department I’m doing all that I can to protect our communities from the impact of COVID-19, but I’m also looking forward, towards building a better future where people are at the heart of place shaping and spaces are designed to transform lives. Greener, cleaner, healthier and happier people and places must be our aim as we learn to live with this new normal during and after COVID-19.”

Sustrans Interim Director, Stephen Martin, commented: “This new legislation is long overdue and would be a welcome boost for cycling in Northern Ireland. Cycling is already being embraced during this pandemic and this would enable many more people to try cycling.

“E-bikes help more people get out of their cars and to travel in a more green and active way. We know e-bikes are particularly appealing to older people, those less able and residents in hillier areas or with long commutes. It is vital this potential development is supported by safe infrastructure for cycling. We hope to see the pop-up cycle lanes the Minister referred to last week quickly implemented.”