Northern Irish law requires electric bike riders to have motor insurance, warns Jackson Lee Underwriting joint managing director

Anyone riding an electric bike (ebike) in Northern Ireland is required to have motor insurance, but brokers and clients may not be aware of this.

Ebike riders in Northern Ireland must also complete their CBT test and pass theory and practical tests. They are also required to be taxed and registered with the DVLA, although the DVLA only allowed people to begin registering ebikes this year in spite of the law.

This is because Northern Ireland has not caught up with legislation in the rest of the UK, where ebikes can be insured under standard cycle policies and do not need to be taxed.

Riders can be fined up to £1,000 or face six penalty points if they are in breach of law.

Jackson Lee Underwriting joint managing director Nick Mohan flagged up the issue. He commented: “ebikes are becoming hugely popular.  More and more people are being encouraged to cycle, particularly as the cost of motoring goes up, but not everyone wants to pedal all the way!  Electric bikes are the perfect solution and the new wave of ebikes have good power and battery life and are stylish too – some of the best can even be bought now for under £1000.  It’s a booming market.”

Mohan continued: “Brokers should think laterally too in the circumstances. They may well have clients who they arrange touring caravan insurance for and as they might know it has become a growing trend for caravanners to adopt these (fairly expensive) ebikes as a means of getting around once on site. Whilst this is fine, and the bikes can be covered under standard cycle policies in the UK, any clients travelling to or living in Northern Ireland will need minimum third-party liability motor insurance by law - that includes ebikes. Whilst clearly an issue, this is also a market opportunity for brokers who are best placed to ensure clients are adequately insured.”