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Letter from the DVLA

Dear Mr Pattle,

After reading the article "Les Amis du VéloSoleX" in Volume 17, Number two of Buzzing Magazine, I thought I should write to offer some clarification on the subject.

European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (EWVTA) for motor cycles begins to come into effect for any new models of motor cycle introduced into the market on or after 17 June 1999.  The scope of the framework Directive, 92/61/EEC, covers all powered two and three wheel machines plus some light quadricycles which can travel at speeds greater than 6km/h regardless of the type of propulsion unit, that is, internal combustion engine or electric motor.  As the Directive stands, it will even apply to Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles.

The Directive only applies to harmonisation of construction standards and does not harmonise usage requirements as indicated in the article.  To the best of my knowledge, there are not any moves within Europe to harmonise usage requirements and each Member State may retain whatever usage requirements it has.

You may be aware that, in the UK, it is only Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles conforming to The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983 which are exempt from registration, vehicle excise duty and motor insurance and can be ridden by anyone over the age of 14 without a driving licence or the need to wear a motor cycle helmet.  There is no intention to amend UK regulations.  Presently, machines such as the VéloSoleX and others powered by an internal combustion engine, regardless of their power, engine capacity or speed, will continue to be regarded as motor cycles (or mopeds).  In this case, all of the current requirements for vehicle and driver licensing will remain.

Yours sincerely,
Miss Gina Cutajar,
Driver and Vehicle Policy Group, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

First published, August 1998

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