E-bike lighting: tips on light, safety& approval

E-bike lighting: tips on light, safety& registration

by IMTEST 31. January 2022 31. January 2022

IMTEST explains e-bike lighting. Everything you need to know about lamps, safety and approval, read here.

E-bike with front and rear lights on at night

Credit: thomas jarrand/unsplash

What e-bike lighting is required by law? Which light is best for my e-bike?? And which lights shine brightest? The IMTEST guide to e-bike lighting explains the regulations for lights on bicycles and describes the options for retrofitting, upgrading and converting e-bike lights.

Table of contents

You don’t ride without lights!

E-bikes, also known as pedelecs or electric bicycles, are a megatrend that is gaining more and more momentum. Because electric-powered pedelecs are increasingly being used as an everyday alternative to cars or public transport, the safety aspect is particularly important. This requires not only good brakes but also proper lighting. The narrow silhouette of a bicycle in particular is difficult to see in the dark in the flood of car headlights, taillights and traffic lights. How electric bikes must be illuminated is clearly regulated by law.

A group of bicyclists in the dark with their bike lights on

All cats are gray at night: bicyclists are often hard to see in the dark anyway. Proper lighting is therefore not only a must, but also an additional safety aspect that no one should do without. Credit: gettyimages

Light on the bike: these are the legal requirements

Section 67 of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (stvzo) describes the lighting equipment that an e-bike, like a bicycle powered only by muscle power, must be equipped with when it is used in public road traffic. The term e-bike is used here to refer only to pedelecs, whose electric motor supports up to a maximum of 25 km/ and which dominate the market with a 95 percent share of sales. For the 45 km/h fast S-pedelecs, which require insurance, and for e-bikes without pedals, other regulations apply, which we will not go into here.

The following lighting is required by law for e-bikes:

  • One or a maximum of two headlights shining forwards with white light and an additional white reflector (also called a cat’s eye).
  • A red taillight and a red category Z reflector.
  • The reflectors may be combined with the lights at the front and rear.
  • Pedals must be equipped with yellow reflectors that work to the front and rear.
  • The wheels must be equipped either with circumferential reflective white stripes on the tire or rim, alternatively two yellow reflectors on each spoke are permitted, which act to the side, or reflective sleeves on each individual spoke in the front and rear wheel.

In addition to this minimum equipment, the following applies

  • Headlights may have a high beam function in addition to the low beam.
  • Tail lights may also have a brake light function.
  • Lights must be permanently mounted or plugged into the bike, not attached to the clothing or helmet.
  • Flashing lights are not permitted, neither to the front nor to the rear.

Woman and man wearing bike helmets ride bikes

Test: more protection with bicycle helmets

How well do bike helmets protect when the head hits asphalt or sheet metal?? IMTEST has sent five models to the laboratory.

Clip-on lights are allowed

For the right lighting, a dynamo no longer has to be mounted on the bike, as was previously required. clip-on or clamp-on lights with batteries or rechargeable batteries are also permitted. If you only ride in daylight, you don’t even have to carry the plug-in lights with you by law. Only when it gets dark, it is no longer possible without. However, paragraph 17 (1) of the road traffic regulations also requires lights "if visibility otherwise requires". This can also be during the day, for example in fog, heavy rain, snowfall, or when riding through a tunnel.

Front light clamped to the bicycle handlebars and operated by battery

Bright and practical: handlebar-mounted bike lights are usually powered by rechargeable batteries. The brightness can usually also be adjusted as needed. Credit: gettyimages

Have clip-on battery lights- unlike most dynamo lights or lights powered by the e-bike battery- Often no built-in reflectors. Then additional reflectors to the front and rear are mandatory.

For e-bikes that have been equipped with a dynamo after the 01. If your e-bike was sold on January 1, 2019, and draws its lighting from the power supply of the electric drive, the law stipulates the following special feature: you must ensure that the lighting system continues to function for at least two hours after the e-motor has switched off due to an empty battery. This is usually taken into account on current electric bicycles with standard lighting.

All lights and reflectors must be approved by the Kraftfahrtbundesamt and bear a test mark. It consists of a wavy line, the letter K and a multi-digit number. In the trade, such lights usually bear the label "with stvzo approval".

And while we’re on the subject of laws and regulations, violations of the obligation to use lights on an e-bike are considered a misdemeanor and can be punished with fines of between 20 and 35 euros.

Woman puts battery in e-bike

E-bike battery: the best tips for care and more range

Protecting the e-bike battery and increasing range at the same time. These tips will also work for your e-bike.

LED lights are standard today

The same applies to all current bicycle lights, whether they are installed as standard or retrofitted, whether they are inexpensive or expensive: nowadays they are LED lights. Unlike cars, the days of halogen lamps and incandescent bulbs are definitely over for e-bikes and all other current bicycles. LED light is brighter, more energy-efficient and lasts longer.

E-bike lighting: series or retrofit?

Most trekking and city bikes with electric drive are already equipped as standard with lighting that complies with regulations, which is permanently mounted on the bike and invisibly wired in the frame. It is powered by the DC battery for the electric motor and usually provides sufficiently bright light, often adjustable to different brightness levels and always with parking light function. If this is not enough, for example because you often ride in the dark on country roads, you can also fit a particularly bright pinch light a second front light is permitted by law. The battery-powered headlamp from the toptrek brand, for example, delivers a light output of 100 lux at the highest of its four adjustable levels and thus shines up to 200 meters away.

Independent front light for bicycles and e-bikes from the manufacturer toptrek

The battery-powered headlight from the toptrek brand, for example, delivers a light output of 100 lux at the highest of its four adjustable levels and thus shines up to 200 meters away. Credit: toptrek

clip-on lamps, the simplest retrofit solution

The situation is different with many electric mountain bikes: they come to the dealer without a light system as standard. Here must be retrofitted, if you want to be legally compliant on the road in the dark. Here, too, the simplest solution is to use clip-on front and rear lights powered by batteries or rechargeable batteries. They are available in an almost unmanageable number of variations and price ranges, from the often not bad cheap products at the discounter to high-tech lights from the specialist for three-digit euro amounts. Among the brands that deliver solid quality in the price range between 20 and 50 euros for the duo of front and rear light are, for example, Buchel, fischer, sigma sport or dunlop.

The mandatory side reflectors in the spokes are available for a few euros and can be retrofitted without any problems, they are only clipped on. Also the white and red reflectors for front and rear. They are inexpensive and quick to install, usually by means of a rubber band. it is more difficult with the yellow reflectors in the pedals, which are also missing on many electric mtbs. Here, e-mountain bikers must decide whether to upgrade to pedals with reflectors. In practice, the police are unlikely to make any trouble during a check if the rest of the lighting on the e-bike is in compliance with the regulations and only the pedal reflectors are missing.

Woman with bicycle helmet

E-bikes: the best accessories at a glance

Lighting, lock and helmet: once the right e-bike has been found, the search for the best accessories begins.

Clamp lights are vulnerable to theft

Disadvantage of all clip-on lights: they are highly susceptible to theft. After all, they are only plugged on and can be mounted and dismounted with a flick of the wrist. With almost all models, this works via a clamping device, the lamp holder, which is attached to the bicycle either with a rubber band or screws. at the front either on the handlebar or on the handlebar tube, at the rear on the frame, on the seat tube or on the carrier. The lights are attached to these carriers and are then locked in place. To remove the lamp, all you have to do is press a button, and the lamp can be pulled off the support.

If you want to be on the safe side, you have to remove the lights and take them with you every time you park your e-bike. This can be a nuisance, for example on a long shopping trip through the city. small tip: always take the printed original purchase receipt for the clamp lights with you, especially when shopping in stores that carry such bike lights.

5 pedelecs in test: woman rides a white e-bike in the city

E-bikes for men and women in the test

Comfortable and sporty: five current pedelecs without a center bar in a detailed lab and ride test.

The more complex retrofitting and conversion solutions

Since almost all electric bikes are equipped with a powerful power supply anyway, it seems obvious to use it for the bike lighting as well. Be it to equip a bike that is not standard equipped with it. Or to spice up the existing lighting. But in practice, this is not always as easy as it sounds in theory.

The problem is that there is no standard for the voltage of the DC batteries of e-bikes. This means that not every light can be connected to every e-bike, but that the current voltage of the lighting must be compatible with the current voltage of the batteries and electric motor of the bicycle. A few manufacturers of e-bike lighting- first and foremost busch& Muller, lupine or supernova- have solved this problem and developed bicycle lights for electric bikes, which can take different DC voltages. Here is a conversion or upgrade for most e-bikes with standard lighting nothing stands in the way.

High-tech lighting on the e-bike

From daytime running lights to powerful high-beam headlights, the- from automatic sensor-controlled dimming up and down to cornering lights and rear lights with high-performance LEDs in the form of a strip light, there are some really high-tech solutions on offer here, but they do come at a price.

Front headlight for the bike. For permanent installation

The IQ-XL e-bike headlight from busch& Muller with sensor-controlled daytime running light, low beam and high beam shines brighter, farther and more homogeneously than some car headlights at 300 lux. Credit: busch+muller

Retrofitting wired and permanently mounted lighting on e-bikes that are not equipped with a lighting system as standard, such as many electric mountain bikes, is much more difficult. Here, the required voltage for the lights must be branched off directly at the electric motor of the bike during wiring. In the best case, only the motor cover has to be removed; in the worst case, the entire motor has to be disassembled and then reassembled.

Important: the interface required on the motor to supply the lighting with the necessary voltage must be enabled. If this did not happen directly at the factory or at the time of purchase, a specialist dealer must take over the unlocking process. It is important to clarify in advance what voltage the system operates at so that the lighting to be installed can be adjusted accordingly.

The installation requires craftsmanship and suitable tools; soldering is often necessary, for example. If you don’t think you can do this, you can ask your e-bike dealer or specialized workshops to do it for you cheap is fun but not.


You don’t want to use theft-prone clamp lights on your e-bike? And there is no need to retrofit permanently installed lighting in a complicated and expensive way? When buying your favorite bike, make sure that it is equipped with a legally compliant lighting system as standard. Then there is hardly anything in the way of retrofitting or upgrading with high-tech lights. The retrofitting of permanently installed bicycle lighting, if not available as standard, can be a challenge even for ambitious mechanics.

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Christina Cherry
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: