Illegal e-bikes: Dutch police unveil roadside power-testing equipment to catch law-breakers

Roadside rollers specifically designed to find over-powered e-bikes have been deployed in the Netherlands

Clock06:35, Tuesday 13th February 2024

© Politie NL

A police officer prepares an e-bike for testing

Dutch police have issued 247 new roller test benches across the country which will be used to identify illegal e-bikes on Dutch streets. The devices are used to check the top speed of e-bikes and pedelecs and find any models that exceed the legal assistance limits.

The new policing method is in response to a rising number of crashes and casualties in the Netherlands, which correspond with soaring numbers of e-bike sales.

The Dutch police reported that 2022 saw the highest number of bicycle fatalities ever, and say that the figures keep pace with the rise of both electric bicycles and 'speed pedelecs', which are high-power e-bikes that can go up to 45kph and usually have over 250W of power. Speed pedelecs are legal in a few northern European countries, as long as the rider is over the age of 16 and wearing a helmet.

The police say that most of the bikes they find that break the rules are electric fat bikes, many of which are styled like mopeds or cafe racer motorbikes, even though legally, they are e-bikes. Many of these bikes are sold either with an electric motor that continues to assist the rider beyond the legal 25kph assisted limit, or with a throttle that powers the bike without the pedals turning.

To test a bike, the police mount it to the rollers, with the front wheel strapped in and the frame strapped down. An officer then cycles on the bike until the assistance stops. The legal limit for e-bikes (including fat bikes) is 25kph, and for speed pedelecs it's 45kph.

For more of the latest cycling news, visit the general news page.

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