The new 2023 e-bike regulations

Can you ride an electrically assisted bicycle like a traditional bicycle? Maximum speed, registration, traffic zone, specific insurance, helmet, homologation…. the European Union now imposes a certain “framework” on the practice of e-cycling. We decipher the electric bike law here.

What is the maximum speed of electrically assisted bicycles according to the legislation?

In France 🇫🇷

Legislation allows electric bikes with an electrical power rating (which is different from the motor power) does not exceed 250W i.e. a speed of 15.5 mph. Beyond this speed, it will be up to the user to pedal without assistance if he wishes to go faster. Nothing therefore prevents you from driving faster than 25 km/h, however the assistance should no longer help you.

Fast e-bikes with a maximum speed of 28 mph (called speed bikes, speedelec or speed pedelecs) are also allowed under certain conditions which we will see in the next paragraph.

In Belgium 🇧🇪

Like in France the maximum speed authorized on Belgian territory is 15.5 mph for slow e-bikes. Speed ​​pedelecs or quick-assist bicycles are also authorized under certain conditions, as in France.

In Switzerland 🇨🇭

The maximum authorized speed for pedelecs is also 15.5 mph in Switzerland. Fast electric bikes are also allowed but with different constraints.

What does the law say for powerful electric bikes (which exceed 15.5 mph)?

In France 🇫🇷

In France, this type of electric bike is likened to a moped. It will therefore be necessary to subscribe to a moped insurance and have an A, B or AM driving license (“Apprenti Motard” license, formerly BSR).

Since July 1, 2004 the bicycle must also have a license plate. It will be considered a fast electrically assisted bicycle and therefore a moped. You will have to respect the highway code adapted to this type of vehicle and wear a helmet.

The minimum age to use this type of bike is 14 years old in France. To know more about it, I suggest to read our article about speedbikes regulations.

In Belgium 🇧🇪

Beyond 15.5 mph your electrically assisted bicycle is no longer considered a cycle but a moped. However, if you have a bike reaching more than 28 mph thanks to its assistance you are not obliged to be insured.

The minimum age to ride a bike that exceeds 15.5 mph is 16 years old. The helmet is not obligatory even if it remains strongly recommended. From this speed, cyclists must bring their certificates of conformity which is mandatory for electric bikes that exceed 15.5 mph.

Speed ​​pedelecs must be driven by a person aged 16 or over. She must have a type B (car) or AM (moped) driving licence. The e-bike must be insured and must have a license plate. Note that the certificate of homologation of the bike is compulsory to obtain this plate.

In Switzerland 🇨🇭

The use of slow electric bikes (15.5 mph maximum) is reserved for people aged 14 and over. If you or your child want to have a bike of this type, know that you must have an M driving license (moped licence). From the age of 16, the license is no longer compulsory for slow pedelecs.

If you use a fast electric bike (28 mph maximum) you must have a driving license which is at least category M.

Where should I ride with my e-bike?

In France 🇫🇷

Electric bike users going up to 15.5 mph must not ride on sidewalks. They are authorized to cross them if they need to, but they must not drive normally on them.

When cycle paths are available, they must be used by the cyclist. If there are none available, you must drive on the road while keeping to the right.

Fast e-bike riders cannot use the bike lanes, they must follow moped signage. Think about it if you are used to taking this type of track.

In Belgium 🇧🇪

For slow e-bikes, Belgian legislation specifies that cyclists must -as in France- use cycle paths when they are present and are in the direction of their walks. If no bike lane is present they can ride on the road. The sidewalk remains prohibited, unless the user of the electric bike has to cross it.

Two users of speed pedelecs cannot ride side by side. Bike paths are prohibited for fast electric bikes. They must apply moped signage. If you still want to use these cycle paths, you can, but without assistance.

In Switzerland 🇨🇭

For slow electric bikes, they are allowed to ride on cycle paths like any other normal bicycle. Fast assisted bicycles must apply the rules reserved for mopeds. They can still use cycle paths, however they must turn off their engines. As in France and Belgium, sidewalks remain prohibited unless it is to cross them.


Whether you are in France, Belgium or Switzerland and whether you use a fast or slow bike, you must have a certificate which states that your bike is approved to the standards of your country. It is generally provided by the seller, but you can still have your VAE approved by certified organizations such as LNE, CRITT or UTAC. Their purpose is to monitor compliance with French and European standards and to ensure the safety of users.


In France 🇫🇷

As we explained to you in our guide to electric bike insurance you must be insured by Moped insurance if you have a fast VAE. In the event of damage to a third party, the insurance will bear the costs.

In Belgium 🇧🇪

Insurance for slow pedelecs and speed pedelecs is no longer mandatory since 1er June 2019 however it remains extremely recommended. If you damage a third party you are obliged to compensate it.

In Switzerland 🇨🇭

The sticker is not mandatory for cyclists whether you have a fast or slow e-bike as the user’s private liability insurance covers possible damage to a third party. However, if you have not taken out private civil insurance, you will not be covered.

Wearing a helmet

In France, Belgium and Switzerland

Wearing a moped type helmet is compulsory in these 3 countries for users of fast electric bikes. For slow e-bikes, no helmet is compulsory for this type of bike but it is still highly recommended to avoid shocks and head injuries.


In France, Belgium and Switzerland

White or yellow lights are mandatory on all types of bicycles in these countries. Reflectors must be located on the pedals, on the front wheel and on the rear wheel so that you are better spotted. A red and a white reflector must also be present at the rear of the bike.

When you use your electric bike at night, or at dawn, lights must illuminate the front of your bike and a red light must be present at the rear so that other users can spot you. Be aware that in France wearing a high visibility vest is compulsory outside urban areas.

Latest tips

On a bicycle, whether electric or not, you are not protected by a shell or a cabin. It is therefore better to be as vigilant as possible. We strongly encourage you to respect the legislation and not to put yourself in unnecessary danger. Above all, take care to maximize your visibility as much as possible (lighting, high visibility vest, reflective element on your arm, flashing helmet…).

Also be careful if you want to take your e-bike in another country, as you have seen the legislation differs more or less depending on the country.

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