European justice considers that electric bicycles activated by pedaling cannot be considered vehicles. The decision is important when seeking compensation in the event of an accident. The EU Court of Justice limited the concept to motor vehicles that operate exclusively by mechanical force, such as motorcycles, cars or trucks, and established that the civil liability insurance directive applies to them. may cause minor damage.
The CJEU decision comes from a request by a Belgian court, which raised a question in Luxembourg to determine the legal classification of the electric pedal bicycle driven by a cyclist who was hit by a car, seriously injured and killed months later. . The detail of whether the victim is considered to be driving a motor vehicle because it is a machine with a motor (even if it only helps pedaling because it can only be activated by muscular energy) is decisive to determine if payment can be claimed as a “user”. vulnerable on public roads” according to Belgian law.
The conclusion of the Luxembourg judges is that “a bicycle with an electric motor that only provides pedal assistance and has an acceleration function without pedaling up to a speed of 20 km/h that can only be activated with muscular force” does not count as a motor. car, which is required to have civil liability insurance.
For European justice, this type of bicycle “does not seem capable of causing bodily harm or material damage to third parties comparable, in terms of severity or quantity, to that which can be caused by motorcycles, cars, trucks or other moving vehicles. ” along the ground moved only by mechanical force. “These vehicles can reach a speed much higher than what can be reached by such devices and continue to be used for most traffic purposes,” established the decision of the CJEU.
Thus, it leaves self-propelled electric bicycles from the obligations of the directive on civil liability insurance, which establishes as a “vehicle” any vehicle “intended to circulate on land, operated mechanically that force and that do not use a railroad track. , as well as trailers, even if not attached”; and that qualifies as “injured” “any person entitled to compensation for damage caused by a vehicle.”