The Spanish government is considering implementing mandatory insurance for e-bikes, a policy that would put it at odds with the rest of Europe.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation’s push to incorporate “personal mobility vehicles” within regular motor vehicle regulations would bring a need for compulsory insurance for electric bicycles.
The controversial proposal coincides with Spain’s Ministry of Transport recently approving the allocation of €600 million (A$878 million) to promote urban cycling.
Other European nations have shunned compulsory insurance for any pedal-powered vehicles because it dissuades commuters from using more energy-efficient, low-emission options.
However, a cycling advocacy group, the Spanish Bicycle Board, believes the Ministry’s proposal is based on European regulations introduced last November.
The Spanish Ministry, which backed the proposal by the Ministry of Justice, says the European regulations recognise the emergence of personal mobility devices and enable people injured in incidents involving these devices to obtain third-party compensation.
However, the Spanish Bicycle Board claims the ministry has misinterpreted the new European regulations, which target S-pedelecs and scooters and exclude pedelecs that must be pedalled.
Opponents to the slated Spanish regulations claim the proposal has been fuelled by lobbying by the insurance industry, which sees a potential market of “three million bicycles at €50 (A$73) per year”.
In an article in Spain’s El Mundo newspaper, the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain points to Switzerland, which had stood alone as the only European country with compulsory bike insurance but scrapped the requirement in 2012.