Do we need specific helmets for Speed Pedelecs?

  • 1. Yes, we need specific helmets designs for S-Pedelecs

    Votes: 3 42.9%
  • 2. No, lighter ECE 22.05 helmets are adequate for S-Pedelecs

    Votes: 4 57.1%

  • Total voters
From Bike Europe 6/18/2015:

Debate Continues on Helmet Use for Speed E-Bikes

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands – Industry, dealers as well as end-user associations continue to lobby the Dutch government for special speed e-bike helmets.

The organizations argue that a speed e-bike is not 1-to-1 comparable to a moped. Not many speed e-bike users will get to the maximum speed allowed for mopeds which stands at 45 km/h in the Netherlands. In daily use the average cruising speed of a speed e-bike will stand at about 30 tot 35 km/h.

Nevertheless, the Dutch government want to treat speed e-bikes the same way as mopeds. This means that riders of speed e-bikes are from January 1, 2017 obliged to wear a helmet which must meet the same requirements as helmets for riders of mopeds and motorcycles (ECE 22.05).

Declining use of speed e-bikes
The associations argue that due to the obligation to use big helmets on what essentially still is a bicycle will lead to a sharply declining use of speed e-bikes. And that the mobility potential of this new vehicle category will then almost entirely be lost.

They ask in their statement, the Minister for Infrastructure and Environment to waive the obligation for drivers of speed e-bikes to wear a helmet which must meet the requirements of a moped or motorcycle helmet (ECE 22.05). The associations also call upon the Minister to advice speed e-bike riders to use a suitable bicycle helmet or to introduce an obligation to use a bicycle helmet that meets the EN 1078 norm.

by JACK OORTWIJN 8:50 last update:18 Jun 2015
Did I tell you guys the little story of how the Swiss lawmakers killed the throttle? It's tightly linked with the type of helmet that's required. The man on the street will tell you that a bicycle helmet (EN 1078) is all that's needed for a Speed Pedelec. But there's actually a variant that's allowed by the law. To understand it you need to delve into the definition of a Speed Pedelec under Swiss law:

- Electric engine of 1000 watts max
- Max speed by construction: 30km/h
- Max PAS speed: 45km/h + tolerance

Helmet rules for Speed Pedelecs:

- If max speed by construction <= 20km/h an EN 1078 helmet is required
- If max speed by construction >20 km/h an ECE 22.05 helmet is required

If you're wondering what "max speed by construction" means, just substitute with the word throttle.

In other words (for a Speed Pedelec) if your bike's throttle is technically restricted to speeds of 20km/h or less, then you need to use an EN1078 helmet. However if the bike's throttle allows speeds greater than 20km/h, you need an ECE 22.05 helmet. But... even if you have an ECE 22.05 helmet, your throttle's max speed must be limited to 30km/h.

The 30km/h throttle e-bike variant makes so little sense that manufacturers simply decided to throw it out the window. And that's how they killed the throttle in Switzerland.

I think this somewhat corresponds with something on another thread: lawmakers are not going to want to make fine distinctions about motorized vehicles on pedestrian paths.

Type of helmet and all that, after a while it is simply not worth their trouble.
Another thing is enforcement. Are they really going to spend resources on looking for s-pedelecs with a rider that has the wrong standard helmet on. As long as you have something on, if a helmet is required in the first place. In most cases, it is difficult to even distinguish a pedelec from an s-pedelec.
Yeah, forgot about the licence plate which in Germany too is quite big. Here there are none in bikes as S-pedelecs are not recognized officially. I did consider registering mine as a moped just as a test case. But then it would have been still in some gray area compared to moped with regard to insurances (and the helmet) so I did not go ahead with it.
That could be the case if there is no common stricter requirement set at EU level. Member states can deviate from regulations if it is for a safer standard but not the other way around. Why we dont have a s-pedelec class like in Germany and Switzerland is probably because this has been such a marginal issue. On the other hand it will stay as such because of unclear legislation.