What is a power-assisted bicycle?

According to Wikipedia, an electric power-assisted bicycle (V.A.E.) is a bicycle equipped with an auxiliary electric motor and a rechargeable battery. Legal definition of a V.A.E. In France, a bicycle with electric assistance must conform to the European Directive EC2002/24 and the French standard NF R30-020 laying down the following general principles:

  • The rated power of the engine shall not exceed 250 watts,
  • The assistance works up to the speed of 25 km/h, not beyond,
  • The support is provided only when the user is pedaling.

A vehicle will be considered a moped if one of the following conditions is fulfilled:

  • The rated engine power is greater than 250 watts,
  • The assistance operates at a speed of more than 25 km/h,
  • The support works when the user does not pedal, for example using a joystick.

In France, such a vehicle must be insured like any moped and requires the wearing of a suitable helmet. Moreover, it is not allowed to take the bike paths.