Bicycles that meet the requirements for permitted e-bikes can be used on public roads and road-related areas. Petrol-powered bicycles and other powered bicycles that do not meet the e-bike requirements outlined below are illegal and may only be used on private property.
On 22 January 2021, the Australian Government updated the requirements for permitted e-bikes. These changes include:
- Introducing a weight limit, seat requirements and restriction on being propelled only by the motor for power-assisted pedal cycles
- Replacing the term ‘pedalec’ with electronically power-assisted cycle and replacing the requirement to conform to the requirements of European Standard EN 15194: 2009 or EN 15194:2009+A1:2009: ‘Cycles – Electrically power assisted cycles – EPAC Bicycles' with requirements around when the power output reduces and cuts out.
What are the e-bike requirements?
There are two types of permitted e-bikes:
- Power-assisted pedal cycles
- Electrically power-assisted cycles.
These must be designed to be propelled primarily by the rider – they cannot be propelled exclusively by the motor. The motor is intended to help the rider, such as when going uphill or riding into a headwind.
Power-assisted pedal cycles
A power-assisted pedal cycle:
- Has one or more motors attached with a combined maximum power output of 200 watts
- Cannot be propelled exclusively by the motor/s
- Weighs less than 35 kg (including batteries)
- Has a height-adjustable seat.
Electrically power-assisted cycles
An electrically power-assisted cycle has a maximum continued rated power of 250 watts. This power output must be:
- Progressively reduced as the bicycle’s speed increases
- Cut off when:
- The bicycle reaches a speed of 25km/h; or
- The rider stops pedalling.
All petrol-powered bicycles are illegal on NSW roads and road-related areas such as footpaths, shared paths, cycle ways and cycle paths. This includes bicycles that:
- Have a petrol-powered engine attached before or after purchase
- Are powered by other types of internal combustion engines.
Petrol-powered bicycles are faster than regular bicycles, and are comparable with moped and small motorcycle speeds. Petrol-powered bicycles have regular bicycle brakes that are not designed for the higher speeds. These bicycles also take much longer to stop than regular bicycles which increases the risk of a crash that can kill or seriously injure the rider, and other road users. The below video shows the distance it takes for a petrol-powered bicycle to stop.
Our Motorised bicycle tests (PDF, 758KB) has detailed results of performance capabilities, power output and stopping distances of petrol powered bicycles.
A moped is a small motorcycle that:
- Has a piston engine with a capacity not exceeding 50 ml, or an alternative power source, eg electric motor
- Has a maximum speed of 50 km/h
- May be either two-wheeled or three-wheeled
- May be pedal assisted
- Is fitted with an identification plate (commonly referred to as a compliance plate).
These vehicles are legal on NSW roads as long as they:
- Comply with the applicable vehicle standards
- Are registered
- Are ridden by licensed riders.