We often tend to wonder if having a licence for driving an electric bike is necessary or not. Well, irrespective of the vehicle you drive, you need a driving licence. Any sort of motorised vehicle needs to have a licence to drive on the roads in India. There are two types of licence for electric bikes: M1 and M2. Depending on your use of the bike and the way you drive, you must choose one. With an M1 driving licence, you can drive any motorbike, even the ones above 150cc horsepower.
It might be difficult to keep up with transportation legislation in a continually changing environment where new cars and bikes are always being developed. We know how regular vehicles are classified and what kind of driver's licence is required to operate them, but what about the plug-in electric vehicles, such as electric motorbikes and scooters?
All sorts of electric motorcycles, including motor-driven cycles, mopeds (bikes with pedals), and commercial motorised EV scooters, require a licence, notably full-sized street-legal electric motorcycles.
The problem with electric motorbikes is that the phrase encompasses a wide range of one, two, and three-wheeled electric vehicles with varying horsepower, features, and speeds. Electric motorcycles are frequently used interchangeably with e-bikes as well as scooters. After all, motorcycles are also referred to as motorbikes. And it is in this grey region that the majority of issues arise.
Following the central definition of e-bikes, we may draw a boundary between what constitutes an electric bike or an electric motorcycle. We can now say with absolute certainty that if you want to ride an electric motorcycle, you'll need a licence.
The fact that the regulations governing their use and licence vary from state to state is one of the major hurdles, if not outright impediments, for persons looking to acquire and ride electric bikes. That said, it's always a good idea to check with your local motor vehicle registration (Department of Motor Vehicles in your state) and the bike's manufacturer about the legality and licence requirements for an electric motorcycle.
Here are the types of motorcycle licence available:
M1 licence -
With a Class M1 licence, you can operate any form of electric motorbike, including full-fledged electric bikes with more than 150 cc of horsepower, electric motor-driven cycles, electric mopeds, and electric scooters.
M2 licence -
If all you want to do is cruise around town on a moped or motorised bicycle, all you need is a Class M2 licence. The restrictions on a Class M2 licence are more stringent. It can only allow you to ride a moped or a motorised bicycle at a speed of less than 30 miles per hour. If the top speed of your motorised bicycle exceeds 30 mph, you may be required to obtain a Class M1 licence.
Any class of driver's licence will suffice if you only want to use a motorised scooter or an electric scooter. You must pass a vision test, a written test, and have a certificate of completion of the motorcycle basic rider course to apply for a motorbike licence. If you are under the age of 18, you must additionally pass a driving test.
Following are the types of electric motorcycles which you can ride without getting a licence:
A licence is required to ride any form of electric motorcycle. To operate a motorcycle, including electric scooters and mopeds, the rider or driver must have a valid driver's licence.
An electronic bike, often known as an e-bike, can be ridden without a licence. All the classes of e-bikes, including class 3 e-bikes with a top speed of up to 28 mph do not require a licence to operate. Motorised bicycles, including e-bikes, that reach speeds of more than 28 mph however, require a licence to operate.
The distinction between electronic bikes and electric motorbikes, particularly mopeds, is becoming increasingly blurred as the growth of electric bikes continues apace. New e-bike types, in particular, can operate at the same speed as motorcycles.
Pedals are standard on all electric bikes. This is one of the most crucial characteristics of an electric bike. It wouldn't be a bike without it. Not all two-wheeled vehicles with pedals, however, are termed bikes. A moped is a two-wheeled motorcycle with pedals. Even if some mopeds are slower than e-bikes, riding one would always require a licence.
The number of bike owners has been increasing due to its convenience for the past few years. Hence, it is important for everyone to be familiar with the RTO regulations. The rules and regulations in India associated with the electric scooters and bikes are different as compared to those of conventional motor bikes.
It is important that the electric bike/scooter riders adhere to the traditional traffic regulations, including the traffic light rules, stopping to yield to pedestrians, and more. Electric bikes are those with motors which have a power watt of less than 250 watts and a maximum top speed of up to 25 kilometres per hour. Transportation rules such as registration, taxes, insurance, etc. don’t apply to electric motor vehicles. On the other hand, the electric scooters with a high speed are the future of commuting. They are affordable, environmentally friendly, efficient, and fast. They are the perfect options for running errands and commuting with a maximum top speed of 50 kmph to 60 kmph.
A driving licence is a document that is issued by the government to allow citizens to drive or operate an electric vehicle on a public road without any kind of supervision. Having a licence for an electric bike in India has several advantages such as:
Driving licence is valid throughout the country in India
It is valid for a span of 20 years
It validates the driving skills of the driver
It is an important document that acts as a proof of identity, nationality, and age of the holder.
As the distinction between electric bikes and electric motorcycles blurs and the usage of two-wheeled electric vehicles grows, the regulations governing these vehicles must evolve to keep up.
All diverse sorts of two-wheeled vehicles need to be grouped together and given a consistent definition, word, and classification. Currently, each government or state develops and implements its own set of rules and regulations for various sorts of two-wheeled vehicles. In different jurisdictions and nations, similar vehicles are arbitrarily classified as an electric bicycle, motorised bicycle, or motorbike with pedals (moped).
With the rise of electric powered vehicles as a preferred mode of urban mobility, such as e-motorcycles, e-scooters, electric unicycles, and other transporters, it may be necessary to create a new class of driver's licence that applies to these types of urban transporters.
More teenage riders who are unfamiliar or lack familiarity with traffic restrictions are using them, necessitating the requirement for a licence. Riders of two-wheel vehicles must also understand a variety of safety precautions and rules. Electric vehicles, particularly for urban and personal transportation, are a new and rapidly emerging form of vehicle that need new regulations, two-wheeler insurance and licenses to be properly regulated. One should also consider electric bike insurance to safeguard their vehicle from any harm.
Yes, it is illegal to ride an electric scooter without a valid driver’s licence.
For drivers who are unable to drive, electric bikes are a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative mode of transportation. Electric motorcycles that fulfil certain technical specifications are not required to be registered, insured, or taxed, and they do not require a licence to ride.
All the electric vehicles in India must be approved by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI). Vehicles with less than 250W and a top speed of less than 25 km/h do not require a licence. Thus, they do not have to go through the complete testing process. Instead, they must obtain an exemption report from ARAI.
Electric motorcycles and mopeds that can reach speeds of more than 28 miles per hour. There are no speed limits, however you must be 17 or older and have completed a CBT course OR have a full motorbike licence to ride.
When you're pedalling, you can go as fast as your legs will allow. When pedalling at 20 mph, however, most bikes stop offering electric assistance. At speeds of up to 28 mph, some will offer assistance.
Hero Electric Flash E2 is the electric bike you can ride without a valid driver’s licence in India.
The age limit for riding an electric scooter in India is between 16 years and 18 years, both inclusive.