Definition of a Bicycle
bicycle means a vehicle with 2 or more wheels that is built to be propelled by human power through a belt, chain or gears (whether or not it has an auxiliary motor), and –
(a) includes a pedicab, penny-farthing and tricycle; and
(b) includes a power-assisted pedal cycle within the meaning of vehicle standards determined under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 of the Commonwealth, as amended from time to time; but
(c) does not include a wheelchair, wheeled recreational device, wheeled toy, or any vehicle (other than a vehicle referred to in paragraph (b)) with an auxiliary motor capable of generating a power output over 200 watts (whether or not the motor is operating);
Note 1: Vehicle is defined in rule 15 and wheelchair, wheeled recreational device and wheeled toy are defined in this dictionary.
Note 2: Power-assisted pedal cycle is defined in the Australian Design Rules – Definitions and Vehicle Categories which are vehicle standards determined under section 7 of the Motor Vehicles Standard Act 1989 of the Commonwealth. The definition includes vehicles referred to as pedalecs.
In Part 4:
"4.2.1. PEDAL CYCLE (AA)
A vehicle designed to be propelled through a mechanism solely by human power.
4.2.2. POWER-ASSISTED PEDAL CYCLE (AB)
A pedal cycle to which is attached one or more auxiliary propulsion motors having a combined maximum power output not exceeding 200 watts; or
In Part 3:
"PEDALEC = A vehicle meeting European Committee for Standardization EN 15194:2009 or EN 15194:2009+A1:2011 Cycles - Electrically power assisted cycles - EPAC Bicycles".
During 2012, Commonwealth laws were extended to also include bicycles complying with European Union "pedalec" standards. Now, each State needs to pass regulations to implement the pedalec standard. Tasmania has not yet done so. The "pedalec" or pedal-electric standard means: a motor set to 250W maximum continuous output, the motor only provides assistance after a rider starts pedalling and only while the bike travels below 25 km/hr.
From the ADR amendment May 2012 - "EN 15194 is becoming internationally accepted as the standard for power-assisted pedal cycles. When compared to the existing ADR definition, it increases the allowable power from 200 to 250 watts and specifies this as a continuous rating. It also restricts the top speed to 25 kilometres per hour, requires the rider to pedal to access the power and sets a number of construction safety requirements".
And, just for comparison, the following vehicles are NOT a bicycle or a Power-assisted bicycle:
"4.2.3. MOPED - 2 Wheels (LA)
A 2-wheeled motor vehicle, not being a power-assisted pedal cycle, with an engine cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 ml and a ‘Maximum Motor Cycle Speed‘ not exceeding 50 km/h; or a 2-wheeled motor vehicle with a power source other than a piston engine and a ‘Maximum Motor Cycle Speed‘ not exceeding 50 km/h.
4.2.4. MOPED - 3 wheels (LB)
A 3-wheeled motor vehicle, not being a power-assisted pedal cycle, with an engine cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 ml and a ‘Maximum Motor Cycle Speed‘ not exceeding 50 km/h; or a 3-wheeled motor vehicle with a power source other than a piston engine and a ‘Maximum Motor Cycle Speed‘ not exceeding 50 km/h.
4.2.5. MOTOR CYCLE (LC)
A 2-wheeled motor vehicle with an engine cylinder capacity exceeding 50 ml or a ‘Maximum Motor Cycle Speed‘ exceeding 50 km/h."
A (legal) Bicycle may be fitted with an auxiliary source of power provided the motor is not capable of generating a power output of more than 200 watts. If the motor is not the auxiliary source of power, or the motor’s power output exceeds 200 watts, then the bicycle is a motor vehicle (e.g. moped or motor cycle). The rider will be required to hold a motorcycle license and have the vehicle registered before it can be used on the road network, including footpaths and bicycle paths.
Some electric powered vehicles with floor boards are described as bicycles because they have pedals and sometimes belts, chains, or gears. But the primary source of power for these vehicles may be the electric motor, and the vehicle is not built to be propelled primarily by human power. These vehicles are actually electric scooters. The rider, therefore, will be required to hold a motorcycle license and have the vehicle registered before it can be used on the road network, including footpaths and bicycle paths.
A useful information sheet from the Tasmanian Government
Power-assisted Pedal Cycles, Dec 2016
Importantly, this government advice confirms that
"Bicycles fitted with an internal combustion engine/s that have a power output or combined power output greater than 200W, such as a lawn mower, chainsaw or brushcutter engine, are not considered as a power-assisted pedal cycle and cannot be used on a public space.
NOTE: The information provided by most of the manufacturers of these lawn mower, chainsaw or brushcutter engines indicates that they far exceed the 200 Watt limit."
Bicycle Network Tasmania believes that petrol-powered bikes should be banned from sharing our roads and paths for safety reasons, in line with the interpretation in the Tasmanian Government's Power-assisted Pedal Cycles information sheet, and in line with the decision made in NSW.
Since 1 October 2014, all petrol-powered bicycles have been banned on NSW roads and road-related areas such as footpaths, shared paths, cycle ways and cycle paths. The ban includes bicycles that:
- Have had a petrol-powered engine attached after purchase
- Were bought with an attached petrol-powered engine
- Are powered by any type of internal combustion engine.
The outright ban frees police from having to make roadside technical judgements on the power output of petrol-powered bicycles and makes it simpler for them to force these dangerous "bicycles" off the road, thus protecting riders and other road users.
Useful FAQ on e-bikes
Some good tips from Teros Ecobikes in Hobart.
This page was last updated: May 2018