’E-bikes have been rapidly gaining popularity,’ says chief executive 

Compulsory insurance for electric bikes (e-bikes) would help encourage “better cycling behaviour”, according to Paul Williams, chief executive of insurtech Ripe Thinking.

He also told Insurance Times that compulsory insurance could protect consumers from theft as well as injury.

It came as MPs and industry experts called for e-bikes to have number plates and insurance.

According to the UK government website, insurance is not compulsory for e-bikes and neither is a licence.

Williams said that “any compulsory insurance system for e-bikes must involve the cycling community”.

“E-bikes have been rapidly gaining popularity and can greatly contribute to a greener, faster and healthier transportation future,” he said.

“However, compulsory insurance would also protect consumers against e-bike theft, which is particularly rife considering the higher cost of electric bicycles.

“Victims of incidents involving uninsured cyclists would also benefit, by making all road users accountable and encouraging better cycling behaviour, with tougher rules enforced on dangerous cycling, souped up bicycles and speed limits.”

Policies sold

The government said that e-bikes can be used by people aged 14 and above if the vehicle meets certain requirements.

An e-bike, which has a maximum output of 250 watts and is limited to 15.5 miles per hour, also does not need to be registered or taxed.

The findings of a survey of 1,000 UK adults, published in June by Ripe-owned specialist insurance provider Cycleplan, showed that insurance for e-bikes surged 125% year-on-year.

It said e-bikes now accounted for 46% of its policies sold, up by 25% from May 2022, with the average value up by 51% to £3, 586.

Williams added: “In fact, the average value of Ripe’s insured bikes has increased by 51% over the past three years, in part because of the soaring interest in electric bikes.”