Australia Call for crackdown as illegal e-bikes reaching speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour

01:52  25 july  2021
01:52  25 july  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Call for crackdown as illegal e - bikes reaching speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour . This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced. AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

More than 30 areas - including Newcastle, Bristol and Bournemouth - are already operating rental schemes. The Covid pandemic brought the trials forward, because they offer people a way of getting around at a social distance. The most powerful privately-owned e -scooters can reach up to 68 mph (110 km /h) but rental e -scooters in the UK have maximum limits of 15.5mph (24.9 km /h). The London trials use technology to create "go-slow areas", where the top speed is reduced to 8mph (13 km /h) for safety.

The electric bicycle market in Australia is booming with sales up a staggering 800 per cent in five years.

But the popularity of e-bikes has highlighted a riskier trend — illegal modifications that allow the bikes to reach speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour.

Australia's peak industry group, Bicycle Industries Australia (BIA), is now lobbying federal and state governments to review the regulations.

It believes lifting the 25 kph maximum assisted speed — the lowest in the world — would ultimately increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

'E-bike revolution'

Back in 2016-17, about 9,000 people bought an e-bike in Australia.

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Engine parts of new bikes are comparatively rough than old one. Thus more friction is caused between. Another thing - oil film is not properly created in each and every region of engine parts. Give your bike some time to cool itself for another 100 kms more . A break of about 20 minutes will be sufficient. Make sure you lubricate your bike chain before starting your ride.

The new maximum speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour has been confirmed by spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul, after the Cabinet approved a draft regulation proposed by the Transport Ministry. If you’ve ever driven on a Thai freeway or motorway you’d already know that much of the traffic drives in excess of 100 kilometres an hour and sometimes even more than the new 120 kph limit. The upper speed limit will not apply in the case of all vehicles. Trucks that weigh over 2,200 kilograms, and buses carrying more than 15 passengers, cannot exceed 90 kilometres an hour .

Last financial year that figure had risen to 50,000 and it is expected to reach up to 85,000 in the year to July, 2021.

BIA general manager Peter Bourke said in the past, e-bikes were typically used by older riders or people with an injury, but that has rapidly changed.

"In countries such as the Netherlands, every second bike that is sold is now an e-bike," Mr Bourke said.

"In Germany it's about 40 per cent, in the UK it's pushing up somewhere similar."

"E-mountain bikes have taken off because it makes the riding up the hills so much more fun.

"We found people that are commuting so that they can arrive to work without sweating in their suit."

In Australia regulations state the maximum continuous power of an e-bike motor is 250 watts and the maximum assisted speed is 25 kph.

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mph Miles per hour to Speed of light —. 100 Miles per hour = 160.93 Kilometres per hour .

But there is a growing issue with people modifying their e-bikes to exceed those speeds, effectively making them "illegal motorbikes".

"We know that people do it," Mr Bourke said.

"It is a very conscious decision to deregulate their bikes so they can get the faster speeds."

'Extreme' modifications flourish

John Cowper runs a bicycle mechanic business and often refuses to service e-bikes because they have been modified.

"A simple Google or YouTube and I've seen bikes going upwards of 150km/h, it's extreme," Mr Cowper said.

"I'd say 80 per cent of the stuff that I get through is really good and clients are using them for the purpose that they are being built for.

"But I do still get people asking me to take the speed limiters off, which I am definitely not doing, and asking for power upgrades."

While he has heard the argument that ordinary road bikes can easily reach speeds in excess of 25 kph, he claims those cyclists generally have years of experience.

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Many Other Conversions. Kilometres Per Hour to Light Speed (or just enter a value in the "to" field). Distance of one kilometer or 1 000 meters travelled in the time span of one hour or exactly 3 600 seconds.

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"So their bike handling skills are good, the bikes are made for purpose, they stop well, they are light, they are very agile," he said.

"Where a lot of e-bikes are heavy, they are not very agile and they don't generally stop that well."

While there is a huge range of quality, purpose-built e-bikes on the market, many people were buying e-bike kits online, removing the speed limiter chips and retro-fitting them to their existing bike, Mr Cowper said.

"It would be like putting a Ferrari motor in a Corolla. They're not really made to handle that power and that weight," he said.

"There are lots of guidelines about how e-bikes should be manufactured and put together, but there is nothing restricting people selling bikes that aren't safe."

Retailers want change

John Schelfhout has been a part of the e-bike market from its infancy.

He began importing e-bikes to Perth in 2008, one of the first to do so in WA.

Back then he was selling mostly to caravaners wanting to use an e-bike at their holiday destination rather than unhitch their car.

"We were buying half a container of bikes every six months … nowadays it's a container a month almost and very soon it'll probably be two containers a month," he said.

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Mr Schelfhout believes the current regulations are pushing cyclists, and some bicycle shops, to ignore the law.

"They affect our business — a lot of people say: 'Oh you only sell legal bikes, I don't care about the law', but if that is what you're going to tell me, go somewhere else to buy it".

"I'm not the fun police, but if I sell a bike to someone and it's over the limit, I am responsible as much as they are."

He regularly commutes to work and often sees e-bike riders doing more than 45 kph on cycleways and footpaths.

"It's very dangerous," Mr Schelfhout said.

"I don't think the bike itself is inherently dangerous, it's the speed and way the rider uses it."

BIA warned bike retailers in December 2018 about the dangers of illegal high-powered e-bikes following the death of an 86-year-old pedestrian in Victoria.

The bike that hit the elderly man was found to have an overpowered motor and the rider was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.

BIA warned there could be substantial repercussions for importers, retailers or service providers of illegal or 'un-roadworthy' products.

Industry push to review regulations

Peter Bourke said BIA was talking with federal and state governments about reviewing the current regulations and recommended increasing the maximum assisted speed to about 32 kph.

"The concern for us as an industry is that this now makes it an illegal motorbike," he said.

"And people can and will be charged as using it as an illegal motorbike … it could certainly hurt the bicycle industry especially when we're growing significantly."

He believed raising the speed capacity would reduce the number of people modifying their bikes and better align Australia with the rest of the world.

"We are very keen to work with them and have a look at how the e-bike revolution can assist as people are coming back to work or travelling in general post-COVID."

Mr Schelfhout agreed and said more people would use bikes to commute if they could legally travel faster.

"And to move it to 300 watts would be helpful for the hills," he said.

"But what we want most of all is to stop the illegal bikes."

WA Police were unable to provide data on the number of e-bike riders that have been issued with infringements for riding an illegally-modified electric bicycle.

The National Transport Commission recently published a policy paper on barriers to the safe use of personal mobility devices, but e-bikes were not included.

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