Dutch police newly armed to catch overpowered e-bikes

The Dutch police have a new weapon against high-speed and high-power electric bicycles. They recently introduced a roadside testing platform to check the speed of mopeds, scooters, and other electric vehicles, such as electric bicycles, speed pedelecs, and fat bikes.

The roller test benches also check whether these vehicles comply with the applicable legislation. The devices are similar to a dynamometer, typically used to measure the performance of vehicles like cars and motorcycles, but appropriately sized to test bicycles.

Two settings

The new test platforms have two settings: one to check the maximum speed of mopeds and scooters, and another to assess the moment at which the pedal assistance of e-bikes, fat bikes, and speed pedelecs ceases.

Drivers of electric bicycles, fat bikes, or speed pedelecs who violate the rules can be fined. The police will issue a €290 fine, and the vehicle may be confiscated in case of multiple violations.

Traffic rules

The same traffic rules apply to electric and regular bicycles. For example, you do not need a driver’s license. You still have to pedal yourself to move forward on an electric bike, but you may have pedal assistance up to a speed of 25 kilometers per hour. The legal limit for speed pedelecs is 45 kilometers per hour.

In recent years, the number of accidents with severe injuries to cyclists has increased sharply because the number of electric bicycles and other electrically powered two-wheelers in traffic has also increased. In 2022, the highest number of fatal bicycle accidents ever was registered.

Excess speed

In the Netherlands, Dutch police have found that most e-bikes that exceed local performance limits are fat-tire electric bikes. Those e-bikes with wider tires, similar to scooters and motorbikes, have become more popular among young riders in the Netherlands.

Last Wednesday, the police checked around twenty electric vehicles in about two hours. Almost one-quarter of them received a €290 fine because the pedal assistance did not stop at the permitted 25 kilometers per hour. This means they have tampered with the electric vehicle to achieve higher speeds.

Mandatory helmet

Fat bikes are sold as bicycles with pedal assistance, but many fat bikes can go faster than 25 kilometers per hour. In addition, some units have a motor of more than 250 Watts or a throttle. That is also not allowed.

For the law, they are, in fact, mopeds – just like speed pedelecs. This means they must have a type approval, third-party liability insurance, and a license plate. The rider must also have a driver’s license and wear a helmet.

The 247 new test platforms are distributed at police locations throughout the Netherlands. They replace the current ones that have been used for at least 15 years – but often longer.

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