Surging 'deadly' trend prompts crackdown from Aussie police

A surge in popularity of e-bikes has led to police cracking down on illegal use to prevent people being killed.

E-bike riders are being killed, their rides are exploding and other road users are terrified, police say, prompting a crackdown on e-rideables as they continue to surge in popularity.

Western Australia is one of several states targeting non-compliant e-bikes and e-scooters.

On Tuesday, WA Police reported confiscating and destroying yet "another 'e-bike'" with the driver heading to court. "The power output makes this an unregistered [bike]" they said.

On the same day, they also tweeted about another. "A Surron “e-bike” worth about $7000 now confiscated and set to be destroyed. These are an unregistered people ! Do your homework before purchasing one! This one allegedly doing 55km/h on WCH, the driver summonsed to court for no authority to drive."

A photo of an illegal e-bike being disposed of by WA Police Traffic. Another photo of Kings Cross Police stopping a man for riding an illegal e-bike.
Several states are cracking down on illegal e-bike use due to the dangers they are causing the community. Source: Twitter/Facebook

While a few weeks ago in NSW, Kings Cross police issued 29 infringement notices and 14 traffic cautions relating to bicycle, e-bike riders and e-scooter riders.

"Why focus on e-rideables?" WA Police Traffic asked on their Twitter page last week. "Users are being killed, seriously injured, riding at high speeds, ignoring other laws and scaring pedestrians and road users.

"WA Police are maintaining a close eye on the use of e-rideable vehicles. You must be 16 to use them on roads and footpaths and you can't travel above 25km/h (on any road) and 10 on footpaths. E-rideable vehicles are being confiscated for non-compliance."

How to check if your e-bike is non compliant?

Jules Flynn, COO of e-bike subscription company Zoomo, said there are a number of red flags for riders to look out for when trying to determine whether an e-bike is legal. These include:

  • Throttle powered (pedalling not required)

  • Motor unlimited to more than 25km/h

  • Low-quality brakes — increasing risk of injury or death

  • Exposed and non-certified batteries — high risk of water damage and battery fires

  • Weak lighting systems

He previously said "non-compliant e-bikes pose a serious safety risk to riders both when using and at home when charging".

A photo of an illegal e-bike that exploded.
One of the defects of an illegal e-bike is a battery that is prone to water damage and explosion. Source: Zoomo

Family's lucky escape after e-bike catches fire

Last month, Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) responded to a fire involving an e-bike at a house in Liverpool, where a family of two adults and a baby had to be evacuated.

"We are seeing a number of fires that are being caused by lithium ion, battery powered equipment such as e-bikes and e-scooters," Superintendent Adam Dewberry from Fire and Rescue NSW said.

"You need to take sensible precautions including purchasing reputable brands from proven retailers, always buying equipment that meets Australian Standards and always using and charging in accordance with the manufacturer's specification."

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