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The right driver's license

Legal basis: Who is allowed to drive e-bikes, mopeds, scooters or motorcycles?

Driving with pedelecs and electric bicycles (e-bikes) is becoming more and more popular and is now a real alternative to classic two-wheelers such as motorcycles or scooters. Nevertheless, it is often forgotten that legal principles apply to the little speedsters, as with a moped. Since these often lag behind technology, there are legal gray areas and uncertainties among users, specialist dealers and manufacturers. So that you can use your two-wheelers without worrying, we have summarized the most important facts about the current legal situation for you.

Pedelecs, mopeds and e-bikes can be divided into different types of groups.

Two-wheeler group types

TypeTop speedMax. Power / displacement
Pedelec without starting aid0 km / h without pedaling
25 km / h with pedaling
250 W
Pedelec with starting aid6 km / h without pedaling
25 km / h with pedaling
250 W
S-Pedelec20 km / h without pedaling
45 km / h with pedaling
500 W
E-bike max. 20 km / h20 km / h without pedaling500 W
E-bike max. 25 km / h25 km / h without pedaling1000 W
E-bike max. 45 km / h45 km / h without pedaling4000 W
Moped max. 25 km / h25 km / h-
Mokick max. 45 km / h45 km / h49 cc
Scooter / motorcycle max. 125 ccmUnlimited11 kW, 125 ccm
0.1 kW / kg
Scooter / motorcycle over 125 ccm max. 35 kWUnlimited35 kW
0.2 kW / kg
Scooter / motorcycle over 125 ccUnlimitedUnlimited

Description of group types

Pedelecs without starting aid:
A pedelec is an electric bike that supports the pedaling movement: the electric motor only supports driving up to a maximum speed of 25 km / h when the rider is pedaling. However, it can also be driven faster than 25km / h without assistance. Therefore, pedelecs are classified like normal bicycles. Although there is no legally prescribed helmet obligation, it is still recommended to wear a certified bicycle helmet in traffic. Furthermore, no minimum age or driver's license is required for use. An insurance license plate is also not required for a pedelec without starting aid. Damage and accidents that arise are covered by your private liability insurance. With a pedelec without starting aid, you can use cycle paths in and out of town at any time.

Pedelecs with starting aid:
These bikes can reach speeds of up to 6 km / h without pedaling. Since their rated continuous power does not exceed 250 W, they are a bicycle according to the legislator. The same legal conditions apply here as for a pedelec without starting aid.

The proportion of pedelecs that travel over 25 km / h is just 5%. As a result, they can be clearly classified in the case of motor vehicles that require their own insurance license plate and motor vehicle insurance. Because private liability insurance only applies to pedelecs and e-bikes that do not exceed the 25 km / h limit.

S-Pedelec drivers must be at least 16 years old and have at least a class AM driving license. The use of marked bicycle paths is taboo with this fast model, they may only be driven on the road. As with moped riders, helmets are mandatory for fast pedelecs.

E-bikes up to max. 20 km / h:
E-bikes that can reach a speed of up to 20 km / h are legally classified as light mopeds. They are therefore not treated differently than a corresponding vehicle with a combustion engine. You do not have to wear a helmet with this type of bike. If you were born after March 31, 1965 and do not have a valid driver's license, you need at least a moped test certificate to drive. Since an insurance number is mandatory, damage and accidents are unfortunately not covered by private liability insurance. Here you need to take out car insurance. Cycle paths within a locality may only be used if they show a permit for mopeds. Outside of a village, cycle paths are generally always allowed to be used.

E-bikes up to max. 25 km / h:
The legal basis for driving an e-bike at up to 20 km / h and 25 km / h are the same. Only the helmet requirement differs for the two types of bicycles. For example, with e-bikes with a speed of up to 25 km / h, you have to wear a suitable helmet for motorcycles.

E-bikes up to max. 45 km / h:
These types are considered mopeds and may only be driven with an AM driving license. Furthermore, helmets are compulsory. However, bike paths are generally taboo.

Moped up to max. 25 km / h:
The motor bike or motorized bike reaches a speed of up to 25 km / h. It is classified as a small motorcycle according to the EC vehicle class. The same legal principles apply to a moped as to an e-bike from 25 km / h.

Mokick max. 45 km / h:
This class includes two-, three- or four-wheeled motorcycles and four-wheeled light motor vehicles with a maximum design speed of 45 km / h. In the case of an internal combustion engine, the displacement must not be greater than 49 ccm. For vehicles with an electric motor, the rated continuous output must not exceed 4 kW. With this class, the separation to bicycles and mopeds also begins. Unlike these, a mokick may not be ridden on bike paths and helmets are compulsory. Mokick is also the largest motorcycle that can still be insured with an insurance number.

Scooter / motorcycle max. 125 ccm:
Colloquially simply called 125cc, this class is where the registration requirement begins. This means that 125 cc are to be treated like fully-fledged motorcycles or cars. This results in the registration of the vehicle at the registration office, the conclusion of an insurance and the regular TÜV inspections. At least class A1 is required as a driving license.

Scooter / motorcycle over 125 ccm max. 35 kW:
At least the A2 driving license is required for this two-wheeler class. The same regulations apply as for scooters / motorcycles with a maximum displacement of 125 ccm.

Scooter / motorcycle over 125 cc:
This class is the unlimited vehicles for which at least the driver's license of class A is required. This class is not subject to any restrictions in terms of power or displacement.

The following table gives you an overview of all the details about usage:

Details for the use of two-wheelers

TypeHelmet compulsoryDriving licenseMarkInsurance coverage - private liabilitySubject to approvalUse of the bike path
Pedelec without starting aidNoNoNoinsuredNoYes
Pedelec with starting aidNoNoNoinsuredNoYes
S-PedelecYesClass AM, A1, A2, A, Class BInsurance indicatorNoNoNo
E-bike max. 20 km / hNoMoped license, class AM, A1, A2, A, class BInsurance indicatorNoNoPartially
E-bike max. 25 km / hYesMoped license, class AM, A1, A2, A, class BInsurance indicatorNoNoPartially
E-bike max. 45 km / hYesClass AM, A1, A2, A, Class BInsurance indicatorNoNoNo
Moped max. 25 km / hYesMoped license, class AM, A1, A2, A, class BInsurance indicatorNoNoPartially
Mokick max. 45 km / hYesClass AM, A1, A2, A, Class BInsurance indicatorNoNoNo
Scooter / motorcycle max. 125 ccmYesClass A1, A2, A, old class 3 (before 1980)Motorcycle license plateNoYesNo
Scooter / motorcycle over 125 ccm max. 35 kWYesClass A2, AMotorcycle license plateNoYesNo
Scooter / motorcycle over 125 ccYesClass aMotorcycle license plateNoYesNo

Minimum age for driving licenses

Minimum ageDriving license class
15 yearsMoped license
16 yearsA1
Includes AM
18 yearsA2
Includes A1 and AM
Includes AM
24 years (21 years for three-wheel vehicles)A.Includes A1, A2 and AM