2 new categories of véhicles have been created recently (2019 et 2022) in the French road code. The Electric kick scooters, gyroroues, gyropods, skates électrique are called EDPM, and the electric bikes are called « draisiennes électriques » (cyclomobiles légers on the pictures below). The VAE are electric bikes and already existed.
To belong to those 2 new categories, the maximum speed cannot exceed 25 Km/h. Above 25Km/H, they are not allowed on the road.
The last few years has seen a huge increase of usage of these véhicles, especially in towns. To go to work, have fun or simply get around, they are ecological, practical and more economical than a car or a proper motorbike. The French government has amended the French road code to integrate these new type of vehicles but also to define their proper usage for the security of everybody.
1 . What are the general rules:
- Users have to adopt behaviours for the safety of others as well as their own.
- Just as bikes, it is forbidden to drive them under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Note that if you are caught under the influence while riding, you will lose your car licence as well as being fined.
- It is forbidden to wear headphones or anything which emits a sound, or, use a mobile phone while riding.
- Where can you ride them :
- You cannot use them on pavements (unless the mayore has authorised them). On the pavement, the vehicle must be ridden by hand without using the engine.
- In town, those vehicles must be ridden on the area set for them if they exist (cycle lanes). Otherwise they can be ridden on the road where the maximum speed is 50Km/H or less.
- Outside towns, they can only be used on green road (voies vertes) or cycling roads. However, some Communes can authorise them and in that case, they must be ridden with a helmet and a yellow fluorescent jacket.
- Parking is allowed on pavement as long as it does not interfere with pedestrian use. A future law (La loi mobilités) will enable Mayors to introduce stricter rules.
- Who can drive them :
- Anybody over 12 years old but be careful as it should change to 14 after July.
- Only one person allowed on the vehicle. And only personal usage, not professional.
- What equipment is required :
- In towns, the helmet is not an obligation but highly recommanded
- Outside town the helmet is an obligation
- At night or by day with poor visibility, you must wear a fluorescent jacket or arm band.
- What equipement must they have and what is the maximum power:
- They must have navigation light and backlights, reflecting lights (catadioptres), a braking system and a horn.
- Maximum speed 25Km/H.
- What insurance is needed
- They have to be insured for legal liability insurance just like a motorbike or a car. This insurance covers the damage that be caused to others if you crash into them.
- Note that if you injure a pedestrian in an accident with your vehicle without having the proper insurance, The Fonds de Garantie des Assurances Obligatoires (FGAO) will intervene to compensate the victim but will ask you to reimburse them with an increase of 10% (interest). Plus there would be a fine for not having the proper insurance which is 3 750 euro.
- Except for electric bikes, see section 8.
- What are the sanctions :
- If you do not respect the highway code, or, you are carrying a passenger :35 euros fine
- If you drive on the pavement or have increased the vehicle’s power (done it yourself) above 25Km/H : 135 euros fine
- If you drive a vehicle that you purchased with a power above 25Km/H : 1 500 euros fine
- Not wearing appropriate gear (yellow jacket, etc) at night : 35 euros fine
- No insurance:3 750 euros fine.
Attention : New laws to increase some of those fines is due in July 2023
- Electric bikes (VAE) :
- Definition is that they must stop working when you stop peddling, the engine stops if the speed goes over 25 Km/H, the engine stops when you use the brakes, engine power is 250 Watts maximum and it must not be equipped with an accelerator or anything allowing the bike to move on its own(without you peddling).
- They are automatically insured under your public liability with your house insurance so do not require a separate insurance. But you must have a house insurance contract.
- They can be ridden at any age.
- Allianz insurance : We have 3 types of cover and it is the same price for all vehicles
- Minimum liability insurance : 55 euros per annum
- Liability insurance plus injury to yourself insurance up to 250 000 euro : 90 euros per year
- Liability insurance plus injury to yourself insurance up to 1 000 000 euro : 125 euros per year
Conclusion : Follow the rules and get insurance from me if you have one !