There is some discussion about new regulations regarding the increasingly common e-bikes in road traffic. We want to provide clarity and have compiled for you at a glance which laws currently apply. Are there any special regulations in the city? Where are you allowed to ride? Specific regulations are related to Germany and the EU, but most of the rules are international. 

Here you can find out what you should generally consider when riding an e-bike and what happens with Ampler bikes. So you can ride on with a good feeling and safety. 

What are the distinctions between e-bikes? And what effect do they have on the conditions of use?

There are several distinctions between e-bikes. These are important in that they have an influence on the conditions of use in road traffic. Accordingly, you should familiarize yourself with the applicable road traffic regulations when choosing your pedelec.

Zürich roads with Ampler

If you know where to go, no road is too far.

The Pedelec

The classic pedelec, used about 90% of the time in street traffic, assists your progress with its integrated motor. However, it operates as a result of your muscle power, because you have to pedal in order for it to start. 

Incidentally, the term pedelec is an abbreviation of pedal electric cycle. This e-bike is regarded as a normal bicycle from the point of view of road traffic regulations. As a result, the same laws apply to them.

With an Ampler bike, your power can be optimally amplified to 150% with the help of the torque sensor. This allows it to reach top speeds of up to 25 kilometres per hour. The power transmission here works either via a practical belt drive on the singlespeed or via a classic chain on the 11-speed model.

If you want to go faster, just pedal harder. Once the 25 km/h limit is exceeded, it rides like a normal bicycle. At 13.4 kg (Curt) to 17 kg (Stout & Stellar), they are so light that at first, no one will believe that a motor is integrated.

The classic e-bike

Strictly speaking, an e-bike operates without any additional muscle power. It won’t exceed a speed of 20 kilometres per hour. That means you just engage this bike and go – similar to a scooter, only slower.

The S-Pedelec

If you want a particularly fast bike, you will find it in the S-pedelec or E-Bike45. These bikes can reach speeds of up to 45 kilometres per hour. Bike helmets are compulsory in this category, as is the minimum age of 16. If your date of birth is before April 1965, you do not need a special driver’s license. However, in all other cases, you should hold a minimum Category AM driver’s license.

Riding a bike on the bike street

Choose the bike that suits your type.

These rules apply to the use of your e-bike – the requirement to use the bicycle lanes, and other laws

The use of cycle paths is often forming the basis for debate. There is frequently disagreement about which paths are approved for use by cyclists. With e-bikes now becoming increasingly widespread, these controversies are growing.

For cyclists, the mandatory use of cycle paths applies when so indicated by a traffic sign. Pedelecs are considered equivalent to regular bicycles. Accordingly, there is no obligation to wear a helmet and you are obliged to use the bike path if there is one. For now, it seems that this will not change in the future. In fact, you can easily reach a speed of 25 kilometres per hour on your e-bike. You’ll be going faster than many other cyclists.

Additional protection with a helmet is advisable, even if it is not mandatory. This applies universally when you are riding your bike in traffic. 

If you are riding an S-Pedelec, you should also be careful when it comes to using a bike path. You are only allowed to ride it on the road.

It is important to know that you are not allowed to ride a bike or your e-bike on a pedestrian path. Only children under the age of eleven have permission to ride their bicycles on them.

What is the difference between bike highways and ordinary bike lanes in the city?

While we’re on the subject of bike lanes, here’s an overview of the different options. In the city, you will find marked lanes for cyclists in ordinary traffic. At least, if you are lucky. Many cities have very few such lanes. If there are no marked cycle lanes, you have to cycle alongside the cars on the street, because the footpath is off-limits to you as a cyclist.

Riding in Berlin Mitte

Bike Highways are still rare in Germany – like here in Berlin.

Greater safety for cyclists

Outside the city, you sometimes have to use the main road with your bicycle. Whether in town or in the country, you are a road user and must obey the rules. However, it often gets dicey when you are on the road. There are drivers who do not keep enough distance or who overlook cyclists.

Here, road users on pedelecs and classic bicycles have largely similar experiences. Accidents happen quickly, which is why the helmet is important. If you collide with a car, you are in the weaker position.

In order to make cycling much safer, faster and more pleasant, there are several plans in Germany for bike highways or cycle paths. These link places together or is intended to provide cyclists with an area to ride within the city.

If you are travelling with your e-bike, bike highways and cycle paths are particularly practical. Here you can make full use of the speed, which is why such paths are especially interesting for commuters. The same goes for people who dare to cycle into the city. Unfortunately, there are not yet many of these bike highways in Germany.

Bike Highways and cycle paths – are there any special regulations?

Outside the city, you sometimes have to use the main road with your bicycle. Whether in town or in the country, you are a road user and must obey the rules. However, it often gets dicey when you are on the road. There is a difference between cycle lanes and cycle lanes. The latter were introduced into the road traffic regulations by a bicycle amendment back in 1997. These roads are largely reserved for cyclists. In some cases, however, other vehicles are also allowed to use them if they have the appropriate signage. They are then not allowed to exceed the maximum speed of 30 kilometres per hour.

The term “bike highway” is a formulation that is not yet to be found in the Road Traffic Regulations. However, it does appear, for example, in a working paper of the Forschungsgesellschaft für Straßen- und Verkehrswesen (FGSV).

Internationally, you can now find some of these roads. They are defined, among other things, by the fact that cyclists have the right of way on them and that sufficient distance from other traffic is guaranteed. In Germany, many of them are still in the planning stage, for example in Berlin with 10 planned cycle lanes.

In this way, city planners are preparing for the cycling trend in the cities, which has been going on for a long time and can no longer be ignored.

In addition, they are a symbolic flagship for more sustainable cities, which is becoming increasingly important in times of rapid climate change.

Riding on a bike way

Bicycle lanes are what make the city cosy.

How do you ensure the safety of your e-bike?

As with any bicycle, the usual safety instructions also apply to e-bikes. These ensure that as you ride your e-bike, you will travel safely through road traffic. This only works if other road users are aware of you. So always check the following points:

Helmet regulations

As already mentioned, it is not mandatory to wear a helmet when riding a pedelec. However, wearing a helmet can save you from serious injury or even save your life. Always wear a bicycle helmet when riding in the city, regardless of the type of bicycle you are riding. Incidentally, according to the road traffic regulations, there is this obligation for S-Pedelecs.

Mother with bike helmet caring for her child

Ampler Bikes recommends: – Helmet on!

Children and E-Bikes

The same rules apply to your pedelec on the road as to a bicycle without an electric motor. But what about children and e-bikes? There are actually no special regulations for their e-bikes. In theory, a child of any age would be allowed to ride an e-bike.

However, one recommendation calls for e-bikes to be used from the age of 14, because only then would a child have the necessary cognitive abilities. We at Ampler are also of this opinion, which is why we developed the models exclusively for adults. In order to be able to take the children along on the rides in a relaxed manner, the Ampler bikes are fully compatible with trailers and child seats

In the case of an S-Pedelec, the question does not even arise as to whether you would be allowed to let your child ride it. This requires a class AM driver’s license. The minimum age for getting this is 16 years old.

Alcohol consumption and cycling

For pedelecs, as for bicycles, a blood alcohol level of 1.6 is the limit that determines when you are unfit to ride. If you get caught riding at this level, you will have to pay a fine. For S-Pedelecs, the same rules apply to car drivers. Accordingly, if you have a blood-alcohol level of 0.5, the police will prosecute this as a serious misdemeanour.

Riding with a blood alcohol level of 1.1 is a criminal offence, and if you are involved in an accident, even a blood alcohol level of 0.3 can result in trouble. As a general rule, refrain from drinking alcohol, regardless of what you are driving. This is the only way to manoeuvre safely through traffic.

Smartphone attached to handlebars

If you use your mobile phone manually, holding it to your ear while cycling, you will be fined 55 euros. This applies equally to both cyclists and pedelec users. Earphones are permitted according to road traffic regulations. However, only use them if they do not affect your perception of your surroundings. This means it is possible to use them on phone calls.

Riders who use their phones while riding an S-Pedelec are even more severely penalised. They have to pay a fine of 100 euros and will get a demerit point. Hopefully, we will soon have networked e-bikes, which will make it easier to use a smartphone. Similar functions already exist in cars.

Checking the App on your e-bike

Please no texting while riding on your bicycle.

Insurance for e-bikes

It is a fact that an accident can easily happen in road traffic. The fault does not have to lie with you, because lack of attention and poor judgement can affect all sides. However, pedelecs, like all bicycles, are not subject to the mandatory insurance.

However, you should certainly consider including it in your household insurance. E-bikes are expensive, and any theft would be upsetting. Of course, although we will sell you an appropriate lock, this situation may nevertheless occur.

Naturally, there is also the possibility of taking out liability insurance. This will protect you from possible damages. However, these are entirely private personal decisions.

The situation is different with S-pedelecs. Here you are required to take out motor vehicle liability insurance. You will receive an insurance plate for your bike, which you must attach and which must remain visible. In addition, you should consider taking out comprehensive insurance.

What makes an Ampler Bike a good choice

Commuters in particular benefit from the advantages that pedelecs bring. Pedelecs enable riders to cover longer distances quickly and efficiently. They are a good alternative to using a car for short to medium-length journeys. At the same time, they also offer the advantages of independent travel, even in cities

We at Ampler have recognised these advantages and offer e-bikes that are ideally suited to life in the city. They are lightweight, offer you possibilities for transporting your shopping and look just as stylish as bicycles not equipped with a battery. Maybe you like a sporty Singlespeed oder you prefer a comfortable and flexible 10-speed city bike. We have three bikes on offer that can cater to your lifestyle. Make an appointment for a test ride now and see for yourself!