Can you ride an electric bike if you're banned from driving?


More than 130,000 drivers were banned from driving in 2021 after losing their licence, but is it legal for them and those who've recently lost their licence to use electric bikes to get around while disqualified?

Here motoring journalist and expert Pete Barden takes a look at whether banned drivers can use electric bikes, or ‘electrically assisted pedal cycles’ as some are known, to get around for both work and pleasure. We also look at if they need insurance, road tax or registration documents.

Can you ride an electric bike while banned from driving?Can you ride an electric bike while banned from driving?  (Credit: Pxhere)

How many people are banned from driving in the UK?

DVLA records show that there were 135,242 disqualified drivers in the UK in 2021, with the most banned drivers to be found in Yorkshire and the Humber, with more than 18,000 having their licence suspended.

Can you ride an electric bike while disqualified from driving in the UK?

Yes – you can ride an electric bike while disqualified from driving, if the said bike complies with strict rules. Riding an electric bike that does not comply with these rules, could see you prosecuted for multiple offences, with big fines, extended disqualification and even prison possible as a result. 

What sort of electric bike can I ride while disqualified?

The bike must be classified as what is known as an ‘electrically assisted pedal cycle’ (EAPC). To use one of these you will not need to have a valid licence, a registration document, VED road tax or insurance. You must also be aged over 14.

What is an EAPC electric bike that you can ride while banned from driving?

If you don’t have a current driving licence, through disqualification or other reasons, you will need to ensure the electric bike can be classed as an EAPC by complying with the following requirements.

The bike must have a plate that is permanently attached that shows the following information:

  • the power output of the motor
  • the manufacturer of the motor used on the bike

It must also show either:

  • the battery’s voltage
  • the maximum speed of the bike

With the above in mind, the electric bike’s motor must have a power output of no more than 250W. Additionally, the motor should not be able to propel or power the bike when it is travelling at a speed of more than 15.5mph.

An EAPC can also have more than two wheels – such as a tricycle – and be used by someone without a licence if it complies with the requirements above.

Where can you ride and EAPC electric bike without a driving licence?

As long as the electric bikes meets all the EAPC criteria, you can ride it where any other bicycle can be ridden – such as in cycle lanes, bridleways and any other places they are permitted.

However, riders will be expected to adhere to the Highway Code when riding an electric bike or standard bicycle.

Can I ride all types of electric bikes while banned from driving?

If the electric bike you are planning to ride does not meet the requirement to have it classed as an EAPC, it will be classed as a motorcycle or moped and riders will need a driving licence, road tax, MOT (if three years old) and a registration document. The rider would also need to wear a crash helmet.

Riding a non-EAPC compliant electric bike while disqualified from driving would be a serious offence, which could result in a fine of up to £5,000, your existing ban being extended, up to six penalty points, or up to 12 months in prison.

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I have a modified electric bike – can I use it while disqualified?

Whether disqualified or not, modifications to an EAPC bike could leave you open to prosecution. Modifications such as a twist-grip throttle could render the bike illegal to ride for anyone without a licence. You should always seek legal advice before riding an EAPC that appears to have been modified.

Can you ride electric bikes from hire schemes in UK cities?

While many of the bikes used in hire schemes will likely comply with EAPC, anyone attempting to hire one of these bikes should check the terms and conditions before using them on the road - as some may require the user to hold a full licence.

What to check before you ride

Anyone looking to ride an electric bike on the road without insurance tax or a licence should always ensure they have taken steps to make sure the bike is legal for them to do so. It is your responsibility to check before riding a bike on the road, whether you have been disqualified or not.

Find out more information on rules around riding electric bikes on the road here.

Why are so many people banned in the first place?

The data provided to Bill Plant Driving School by the DVLA, shows that the majority of people are banned due to the ‘totting-up’ process, where they receive 12 penalty points – with this accounting for 45,632 drivers. Second place went to drink drivers at 34,969, with drug driving in third place with 27,267 convictions.

What about electric scooters?

The rules for using an electric scooter without a valid licence ant other requirements are different to that of electric bicycles. Please check with a legal representative before using one.

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Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (, New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? ( Stuff Magazine (, Fastcar Magazine (, Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

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