Regulation – Categories

The proposal is to radically simplify the current legislative set of 15 Directives by replacing them with just 5 Regulations – Approval and Market Surveillance of Two –  or Three – Wheel Vehicles – which aim to regulate emissions and the safety of motorcycles.

But what are regulations and now does the process work?

Regulation (European Union)

A regulation is a legislative act of the European Union that becomes immediately enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously.

Regulations are addressed to national authorities, who must then take action to make them part of national law.

As such, regulations constitute one of the most powerful forms of European Union law and a great deal of care is required in their drafting and formulation.

When a regulation comes into force, it overrides all national laws dealing with the same subject matter and subsequent national legislation must be consistent with and made in the light of the regulation.

While member states are prohibited from obscuring the direct effect of regulations, it is common practice to pass legislation dealing with consequential matters arising from the coming into force of a regulation.

Regulations are passed either jointly by the EU Council and European Parliament or by the European Commission alone.

Download the full Regulation – pdf – Click Here

Motorcycle Categories As Set Out In the Commissions Proposals

Page 22 of the full Regulation

The term ‘L-category vehicles’ covers a wide range of different vehicle types with two, three or four wheels, e.g. two- and three-wheel mopeds, two- and three-wheel motorcycles and motorcycles with side-cars. Examples of four-wheel vehicles, also referred to as quadricycles, are quads and mini-cars.

Article 4 – Vehicle categories

1. L-category vehicles comprise powered two-, three- and four-wheel vehicles as categorised in the following paragraphs and Annex I, including powered cycles, two and three-wheel mopeds, two- and three-wheel motorcycles, motorcycles with sidecars, light and heavy on-road quads, and light and heavy mini-cars.

2. For the purposes of this Regulation, the following vehicle categories and subcategories apply, as described in Annex I:

(a) Category L1e vehicle (light two-wheel powered vehicle), sub-categorised into:

(i) L1Ae vehicle (powered cycle);

(ii) L1Be vehicle (two-wheel moped).

(b) Category L2e vehicle (three-wheel moped).

(c) Category L3e vehicle (two-wheel motorcycle), sub-categorised by:

(i) motorcycle performance, further sub-categorised into:

– A1 vehicle (low-performance motorcycle);
– A2 vehicle (medium-performance motorcycle);
– A3 vehicle (high-performance motorcycle).

(ii) maximum designed vehicle speed:

– lower than or equal to 130 km/h;
– higher than 130 km/h.

(d) Category L4e vehicle (two-wheel motorcycle with side-car).

(e) Category L5e vehicle (powered tricycle), sub-categorised into:

(i) Subcategory L5Ae vehicle (tricycle);

(ii) Subcategory L5Be vehicle (commercial tricycle), further sub-categorised in:

– L5Be – U vehicle: utility tricycle exclusively designed for the carriage of goods;
– L5Be – P vehicle: vehicle mainly designed and used for passenger transport.

(f) Category L6e vehicle (light quadricycles), sub-categorised into:

(i) L6Ae vehicle (light on-road quad);

(ii) L6Be vehicle (light mini-car), further sub-categorised into:

– L6Be – U vehicle: utility vehicle exclusively designed for the carriage of goods;
– L6Be – P vehicle: vehicle mainly designed and used for passenger transport.

(g) Category L7e vehicle (heavy quadricycles), sub-categorised into:

(i) Subcategory L7Ae vehicle (heavy on-road quad);

(ii) Subcategory L7Be vehicle (heavy mini-car), sub-categorised into:

– L7Be – U vehicle: utility vehicle exclusively designed for the carriage of goods;
– L7Be – P vehicle: vehicle mainly designed and used for passenger transport.

3. The L-category vehicles listed in paragraph 2 are further classified according to the propulsion of the vehicle into the following sub-categories:

(a) propelled with an internal combustion engine:

– compression ignition (CI);
– positive ignition (PI);

(b) propelled with an external combustion engine, a turbine or a rotary piston engine, whereby, for the purpose of complying with environmental and functional safety requirements, a vehicle equipped with such a propulsion is considered the same as a vehicle propelled with a PI internal combustion engine;

(c) propelled by an engine that runs on pre-compressed air and does not emit higher levels of pollutants and/or inert gases than the levels present in ambient air, whereby, with regard to functional safety requirements and fuel storage and supply, such a vehicle is considered to be a vehicle operated on gaseous fuel;

(d) propelled with an electric engine;

(e) a hybrid vehicle that combines any propulsion configuration referred to in the preceding subparagraphs (a), (b), (c) or (d) or any multiple combination of these propulsion configurations including multiple combustion and/or electric engines.

4. As regards the categorisation of L-category vehicles in paragraph 2: a vehicle that does not come under a certain category because it exceeds at least one of the criteria stipulated for that category falls into the next category whose criteria it meets. This applies to the following groups of categories and subcategories:

(a) category L1e with its subcategories L1Ae and L1Be and category L3e with its subcategories L3e – A1, L3e – A2 and L3e – A3;

(b) category L2e and category L5e with its subcategories L5Ae and L5Be;

(c) category L6e with its subcategories L6Ae and L6Be and category L7e with its subcategories L7Ae and L7Be;

(d) any other logical sequence of categories and/or subcategories proposed by the manufacturer and approved by the type-approval authority.

Of equal importance is our rights as individual motorcyclists to be able to modify – customise – maintain our motorcycles without unnecessary legislative restrictions.

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  1. Hi Tina did you contact us before about this I seem to remember a similar case?

    Best advice get a good solicitor who deals with motoring offences.

    Barring that take all the documents that you have to court, especially those stating that the bike is an L1Ae.

    Here’s a list of vechicles that you require to have a licence for L1Ae is not on it.

    More useful links:

    “These rules are not very onerous in themselves, but be warned: if you are prosecuted for breaking any one of them you will no longer be covered by the exemptions that apply to electric bicycles, but bear in mind that in three of the five above, the court would have to decide which law actually applied. In theory, anyone riding an electric bicycle at, for example, 18mph, could be prosecuted for riding a moped without a helmet, insurance, vehicle excise duty, MoT certificate, etc, etc. If caught riding while under-age or disqualified from driving, you would effectively by driving without a license, a serious offence. In practise, prosecutions are extremely rare, as the police have much better things to do than chase electric bicycles, but it’s worth knowing the rules.

    Some electric bikes look very similar to mopeds or scooters, with fairings and motorcycle-style suspension. These machines are perfectly legal, provided they have pedals and obey all the rules above. The problem with riding one is that very few policemen will be aware of this loophole in the legislation, and you are liable to be stopped and cross-examined on a regular basis, unless you take to wearing a motorcycle helmet. In general, bicycle styling is a good idea!”

  2. Tina Scales says:

    I was involved in a slight collision in January this year on my bike type L1Ae as stated on its type approved certificate, the bike looks like a moped, has pedals and restricted to 15mph, I received a summons this week to attend court on 28/08/12 for document offences i.e no licence insurance etc. Would welcome any advice. I purchased the bike from Ebay from a motorcycle dealer who was selling 34 of them, I saved the original Ebay advert stating no licence etc be over 14yrs and will be taking it to court with me.

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