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From 1 January 2017 the speed pedelec will no longer be classed as a light moped, but as a moped according to Dutch law. What are the consequences?
Bikes and speed pedelecs will no longer be allowed to share the cycle path. Photo © Holland-Cycling.comBikes and speed pedelecs will no longer be allowed to share the cycle path. Photo ©

On the cycle path?

The rising number of accidents with e-bikes - some of which can go up to 45 km/h - has caused much concern over the past years. When is a bike still a bike? And do speed pedelecs that can go 45 km/h belong on the cycle path or not? Back in 2014 we covered the discussion extensively in our series High speed on the cycle paths (see below).

Even though riders of a speed pedelec see themselves as cyclists, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment considers the potential accidents caused by the difference in speed between regular bikes and speed pedelecs a greater risk than having speed pedelecs share the road with cars and heavy traffic.

In 2014 the speed pedelec was classed as a light moped and officially it was not allowed to go faster than 25 km/h, meaning it was still allowed on the cycle path. From 1 January 2017 the speed pedelec will classed as a moped and officially be allowed to be used at its full potential of 45 km/h. As a consequence, it will be banned it from all dedicated cycle paths.

New Dutch rules for speed pedelecs from 1 January 2017
  • Yellow registration plate
  • Moped license - for this you need to be 16 years or older
  • Insurance compulsory
  • Max. 45 km/h
  • Not permitted on dedicated cycle paths
  • Helmet compulsory - certified speed pedelec helmet or moped helmet

Legal requirements

The change in status from light moped to moped means all current speed pedelecs will need to have a yellow registration plate instead of a blue one. It has to be in place before 1 July 2017. After this, speed pedelecs are no longer allowed on the road without a yellow registration plate. In order to ride a speed pedelec you need a moped license - the minimum age for this is 16 years. Insurance is compulsory.

A helmet is also compulsory. This may be a moped helmet (norm: ECE 22.05), but moped helmets are not designed with a physical active rider in mind. As bike helmets offer insufficient protection at higher speeds, there is now a new helmet norm specially for speed pedelecs (NTA 8776:2016 norm) which may also be used. Due to time constraints it is still only a Dutch national norm, but in two years or so this might become the norm in the EU. On 1 January 2017 these helmets will not yet be widely available.

Traffic rules for mopeds

The same traffic rules and speed limits apply as for a regular moped:

  • 45 k/h on the road
  • 30 km/h on moped/cycle paths inside urban areas
  • 40 km/h on moped/cycle paths outside urban areas
High speed on cycle paths series: