Centre for Road Safety

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.
 

Petrol powered bicycles

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.

Moped laws

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.