§ Mr. Fallon
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the safety of electrically assisted cycles.
§ Mrs. Chalker
The regulations limit the weight, speed and power of these vehicles so that in general they share the hazards and safety features of ordinary bicycles. For example, being small, quiet and slow moving, they run the risk of not being noticed by other road users. But unlike bicycles they may not be used by children under 14, and particular designs of electric cycle may incorporate features not present on conventional cycles. For example, the Sinclair C5 has different conspicuity characteristics being lower than a cycle, similar in height to an open sports car, but with conspicuous white bodywork and a very good rear lamp. The C5 has a safety advantage over bicyles in that one cannot wobble or fall off it, and the brakes are very effective in both the dry and the wet. The Department does not expect the C5 to have an accident record dissimilar from that which applies to pedal cycles generally.
We are watching developments and the Transport and Road Research Laboratory will be looking at the C5 and any other type of electrically assisted cycle which may be produced on a substantial scale.