Electric cargo bike legislation

  • Specially equipped bicycles can transport a maximum of two children in “protected seats” ( OCR, art. 63 ). This is the case with many cargo bikes which are fitted out with seats for children.

  • Longtail bikes are a very specific range of cargo bikes that we see more and more on Swiss roads. If we consider these long-tail bicycles as "specially equipped cycles" [which is not defined in the ordinances but was notably accepted as such by the Lausanne police ], they can also transport two children in "places protected seats”. But the definition is not clear regarding the notion of “protected place”.

    The Ordinance on road traffic rules (OCR) strictly regulates the transport of people on cycles (art. 63, OCR):

    • The transport of a maximum of two children is authorized on a longtail.
    • The cyclist must be at least 16 years old.

    The OCR also requires that this transport be done in complete safety with protection for the child's legs and feet , and seats adapted to their size. The device must also not disturb the cyclist.

    A child seat can be considered safe if it meets the requirements of EN 14344 . The seats are equipped with protections so that children cannot reach the moving parts of the cycle (spokes, chain, etc.) with their hands or legs, which is the case for Libbri bicycles, all equipped with protections wheel and belt/chain.

  • Electric bicycles are bicycles equipped with a motor that starts when pedaling and assists the cyclist. This makes it possible to reach high speeds with little effort or tackle a climb easily. The motor doesn't work by itself: you have to pedal to activate it and it reacts to the way you pedal.

    There are two categories of electric bikes, commonly referred to as “25km/h” and “45km/h”. From a legal point of view, an electric bicycle is always a “moped” ( art. 18 OETV )

  • The “25km/h” are “light mopeds”

    The motor power does not exceed 500W (very often 250W), they benefit from pedaling assistance up to 25 km/h maximum.

  • The “45km/h” or “fast” are “mopeds”

    Max motor power 1000W and pedaling assistance max. 45 km/h.

  • Anyone who drives such vehicles on public roads is exposed to certain risks and poses risks to other road users. Therefore, precise rules apply in Switzerland regarding speed, braking system, minimum age, compulsory wearing of helmets, etc.

    To find out everything that is required and required in Switzerland when riding an electric bike on the road (version of 01/03/2021)

  • Driving a light moped “25km/h” is authorized from the age of 16 without a driving license (art. 5 al. 2 let. d OAC and art.6 al. 1 let. f OAC ). A category M license (moped license) at least is required for any younger person (14-16 years old) or driving an electric bicycle “45km/h” (art. 3 al. 3 OAC ).

  • The minimum age to ride with all models of electric bikes is therefore 14 years old (moped license required between 14 and 16 years old). (art. 6 al. 1 let. a OAC )

  • Electric bicycles equipped with pedaling assistance of more than 25 km/h must be equipped with a license plate with annual sticker and a rear-view mirror.

  • Wearing a helmet approved according to standard EN 1078 (standard cycling helmet) is mandatory only for fast electric bicycles (over 25km/h) ( art. 3b al. 2 let. e et al. 3 let.c OCR ).

  • Safe child seats and trailers are permitted for all types of e-bikes (light and fast).

  • On a specially designed cycle, a cyclist can carry a maximum of two children on protected seats. Likewise, one or two children can be transported in a trailer attached to the bicycle ( art. 63 al. 3 let.d OCR ).

  • In addition to these possibilities, a cyclist can transport a child on a child seat offering complete safety. This seat must in particular protect the child's legs and not hinder the cyclist ( art. 63 al. 4 OCR ).

  • Users of electric bicycles must use cycle lanes and paths marked as such ( art. 46 al. 1 LCR , art. 33 al. 1 OSR ). Cycle paths are paths intended for cyclists, separated from the roadway by their construction and marked as such (= a separate road). Cycle lanes are lanes intended for cyclists which, normally, are demarcated by discontinuous or, exceptionally, continuous yellow lines (= paint on the road). (art.1, al. 6 and 7, OCR )

  • Slow electric bikes (up to 25 km/h) are allowed to ride on roads where mopeds are prohibited . Fast electric bikes must travel on these lanes with the engine off.

  • The sidewalk is reserved for pedestrians, the cycle path for cyclists. ( art. 43 al. 2 LCR ) Provided that the circulation of cycles is not hindered, drivers of other vehicles can drive on cycle lanes demarcated by a broken line. Drivers of other vehicles must give way to cyclists if they have to cross a cycle path or lane. ( art. 40 al. 3 et al.4 OCR )

  • In roundabouts, cyclists have the right to deviate from the right-hand traffic rule; they can drive in the middle of the roadway (or in the middle of the right lane in a multi-lane roundabout). ( art.41b al.3 OCR )

  • Cyclists may move ahead of a line of motor vehicles on the right when there is sufficient clearance; they are prohibited from getting ahead of it by weaving between vehicles. ( art.42 al.3 OCR ) Cyclists are prohibited from overtaking on the left.