A power-assisted bicycle is a pedal cycle with a motor attached to help the rider. The attached motor (or motors) may provide up to 200 watts of assistance.
Road rules for power-assisted bicycles
Riders do not require a driver's licence, motor vehicle registration or compulsory third party insurance.
Riders are bound by the same rules that apply to other bicycles, including the need for the rider to wear a helmet and the power-assisted bicycle to have:
- effective brakes
- a bell, or other audible warning device
- a rear-facing red reflector at night
- a white light to the front and a red light to the rear at night (both may flash) clearly visible from at least 200 metres.
Differences between a power-assisted bicycle and a motorcycle
At first glance some motorbikes with pedals look similar to power-assisted bicycles. The main differences are speed, pedal crank spacing, weight, seat position, seat shape and gearing. If the main means of propulsion is by pedal power and the motor produces no more than 200 Watts then it is a power-assisted bicycle.
A good rule of thumb is if it looks like an ordinary bike, has as adjustable seat and an electric assistance motor then it is a power-assisted bicycle.
If the main source of power is the motor then it is a motor vehicle and operating it requires a driver’s licence, registration and compulsory third party insurance.
This example is a power-assisted bicycle. It has an adjustable bicycle seat and gears to make it easier to pedal, as well as a battery pack and a 200 watt motor to assist the rider.
Currently models of electric scooters advertised as “no licence, no registration, $1 for every 100km, pollution-free, easy to use and Australian standards compliant” are misleading.
See http://www.razor.com.au/shop/home.php and http://puriebike.com.au/.
If you are considering an electric scooter—and you can operate the bike by activating a handlebar throttle with no need to pedal the bike to start it —you will not be able to legally ride it on the road in South Australia if the motor produces over 200 watts. They do not comply with the Australian Design Rules, and in South Australia the Registrar is unable to register them.
- They can only be used on private property.
- You may be issued with a defect notice by SAPOL if used on the road.
- You may receive expiation notices for driving unregistered and uninsured.
- If you ride one while disqualified from driving as a result of a drink driving conviction, you would be committing an offence.
|This is not a power-assisted bicycle because the seat is too low for pedalling and the pedals are so widely spaced they are of little use. They are low enough to dig in when cornering. It is obvious that the pedals are not the main means of propulsion.||This is not a power-assisted bicycle because it is fitted with a petrol motor that produces more than 200 Watts.|
Always check and obey laws or regulations that affect the locations where electric scooters may be used.
Office of Business and Consumer Affairs consumer warning regarding certain power-assisted bicycles.