Electric power-assisted pedal-cycles (pedalecs) give the rider assistance from an electric motor while pedaling. They make riding accessible to more people and can make cycling more mainstream as not everyone can ride a regular pedal cycle.

Many people find it impractical or impossible to ride un-powered pedal-cycles because of hills, distance, health reasons, knee problems, aging, injury, or even the inconvenience of having to shower and change at work. People of all ages, with or without a driving licence, fit or not, will enjoy experiencing the world by electric power-assisted pedal-cycles.

The widespread availability and use of electric power-assisted pedal-cycles (pedalecs) will extend the already proven contribution of cycling to improving the health of Canberrans, reducing carbon emissions, traffic congestion and parking shortages, improving air quality and enhancing the liveability of Canberra.

Electric power-assisted pedal-cycles (pedalecs) are treated as ordinary pedal-cycles provided they comply with the Australian Design Rules – you may ride them wherever you can legally ride a pedal-cycle while adhering to the same road rules as for pedal cycles; no driver licence required; they are exempt from registration and compulsory third party insurance.

If you are looking to save money, get out of the traffic and improve your health, these power-assisted pedal-cycles (pedalecs) will provide a very real alternative to driving a car – with all the community benefits including individual health gains, independent mobility, cost savings from reduced transport costs, savings on congestion and less impact on the environment.

Pedal-cycles with internal combustion engines (eg, a petrol motor) or with electric motors over 200 Watts (or in the case of a pedalec-type bicycle – 250 Watts) are motorbikes, and must comply with the Australian Design Rules and the road rules for motorbikes.

In the Australian Design Rules:

1. A pedal-cycle is defined a two- or three-wheeled vehicle propelled solely by human power.

2. Electric-assist pedal-cycles with power output* up to 200 Watts and ‘pedalecs‘ with power outputs up to 250 Watts :

  • The electric-power assistance is restricted up to 25 km/h – after that you just pedal with no assistance (or free wheel)
  • There can be ‘twist and go’ (via a throttle) electric-power up to 6 km/h – allowing easy take off from standing start with no pedalling
  • Over 6 km/h, electric-power assist is available only when pedaling

* The maximum allowable electric power is continuous rated power.

Pedalecs must comply with the de facto ‘international standard’ for power-assisted pedal-cycles – that is the European Standard EN 15194.

The Australian Design Rules were altered on 30 May 2012 to include vehicles meeting European Committee for Standardization EN 15194:2009 or EN 15194:2009+A1:2011 Cycles – Electrically power assisted cycles – EPAC Bicycles.

EN 15194 includes standards for batteries, cables and connections, braking performance and the strength of frames.

Each state and territory, including the ACT, has adopted the Australian Design Rule EN 15194.

3. Electric-assist pedal-cycles with power output* of less than 200 Watts are called ‘power-assisted pedal-cycles‘, and:

  • The electric-power assist can be available when pedalling and when not pedalling (via a throttle) with no speed restriction on when electric-power assist is available
  • They can have ‘twist and go’ (via a throttle) electric-power with no pedalling required and with no speed restriction

* The maximum allowable electric power is continuous rated power.

Last modified JW 13 November 2013 & JA 12 September 2014


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