France make new vehicle category for light electric moped, no licence needed!

With speeds up to 25 km/h, a new category for light electric mopeds in France is born. Insurance is mandatory - but helmets are not!

France make new roads category for light electric moped

France has just introduced a shake-up for their highway code, creating a new category for the light electric moped and scooter that can be ridden without a licence at speeds up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph).

Insurance will be mandatory, and though there will be no licence plates required on the actual vehicle, it appears that both e-scooters and light electric mopeds will be included in the new category destined for the cycle paths & roads of France.

There are naturally a few règles et règlements (rules & regulations) to follow from the decree Nº 2022-31, dated 14th January 2022. In order to comply with the rules, vehicles must:

  • have a non-thermal engine with maximum net power less than 350W
  • maximum speed not exceeding 25 km/h
  • have an unloaded weight under 30 kg
  • not have facilities to carry goods
  • not be ridden whilst listening to music or on the phone
  • not be ridden on sidewalks

Complying with these rules will allow those aged 12 or over to ride on an electric vehicle with the appropriate insurance in their name. Whilst a helmet is not compulsory it is recommended, and hi-vis vests are also recommended (particularly in conditions with poor visibility). 

Those with a keen eye will also notice that the rules explicitly state the vehicle cannot have fittings to carry goods. Whilst delivery riders may skirt this by wearing a rucksack, it certainly appears a step in the right direction for urban mobility. 

In the UK, privately owned e-scooters are commonplace and often seen on town & city streets despite being technically illegal to ride on public land (unless an approved rented machine). France has taken the step to make a new category to allow citizens to ride on bike paths and on roads (those with a posted speed limit not exceeding 50 km/h) with the right insurance. 

The electric moped & e-scooters given new categorisation in France

Now, before you head out and celebrate from the rooftops (or shake your fists wildly), the European Light Electric Vehicle trade Association (LEVA0 makes it clear that vehicles will still require homologation type-approval as L1e-B machines for the L-category. 

So riders of ‘cyclomobiles légers’ will need to make sure they are on a compliant machine too - and whilst there’s a new category for electric machines, it as yet still needs to be really filled. One of few scooters on the list is the Vassla electric moped.

It appears to be one step forward for France, but albeit a vague step that has landed a bit in the mud. LEVA EU explains how this was an opportunity to make a clear cut decree for all machines, but has fallen just short.

Though, that’s just the same as the grey area between bikes and pedelecs that light e-scooters have created, so at least there is acknowledgement that new rules are required. For example, it’s not entirely clear whether pedals are required or not…

Does this mean anything for the UK? Not at all. But the UK may take a look at European policies and their effectiveness to influence future decisions.

Source: e-bike tips, Legi France, LEVA EU, Mini Machines

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