Are petrol powered bikes beyond the law?

Are Petrol Powered Bicycles above the Law in Australia

When Dorothy journeyed through the land of Oz, she could have just as easily been journeying through the strange and confusing land of transport legislation. I’m not making some sort of half-veiled allusion to the Wizard and his ephemeral nature, rather I’m thinking of Dorothy’s companions on her journey – creatures who had a purpose, but ended up almost useless because they were missing some vital component.

Motor assisted bicycle laws originally had a purpose – to assist people who wanted to ride bicycles, but who lacked the desire or ability to travel solely by pedal power; it was enabling legislation. Somehow along the way, however, we’ve ended up with a situation where people are attaching internal combustion engines to cheap mountain bikes and riding them on bike paths. While I don’t have any hard statistics, anecdotally the number of these vehicles is increasing, and a lot of people aren’t happy about it; they have good reason.

For a few hundred dollars you can buy a well made imported engine specifically designed to be attached to a mountain bike. With a few hours and a bit of mechanical knowledge, you’ve got a vehicle that can do around a 100km on a litre of petrol. If you don’t want to go to all of that trouble, for just a little bit extra you can find completely converted bikes openly traded on eBay and Gumtree. It’s not illegal to make them or to buy them, but it is illegal to ride them, at least sometimes, and in some states.

And there lies the problem. In states like Queensland,  the law is very clear – bikes do not have internal combustion engines, period. If it has an internal combustion engine, it’s a motorbike and it has to be registered and has to conform with Australian standards for motorbike design. All laws relating to motorised bikes in Queensland relate to bikes with electric motors, everything else is a motorbike.

In other states, the laws are often confusing because they don’t always clearly differentiate between electric motors and internal combustion motors. It’s a mismatched collection of maximum wattages, requirements for cut-out speeds and obscure terminology. Are you allowed to have a motor on your bike? How many cc’s can my engine have before it reaches 200 W? What’s a road related area?

While it’s up to the individual to make sure they know and comply with relevant laws, in practice that simply doesn’t happen, especially when they’re updated regularly. Being confused about the law probably isn’t a valid legal defence, but it’s likely a mitigating factor, especially when you can buy and sell these bikes quite legally. If they’re illegal, why are you allowed to buy them?

So what’s the problem with petrol powered bikes?
In theory, nothing. Everything that’s good about pedal powered bikes is also good about motorised bikes, with the added benefit that you don’t have to pedal. Cycling can be hard work, especially when the geography doesn’t  cooperate, so having motors on bikes is often a great benefit. In fact, this is how motorbikes were invented, both petrol powered and electric. But the lessons learned in early motorbike development seem to have been forgotten in the past century, and so we may be doomed to repeat them.

To explain what I mean, I’ll go back to the very clear description of motorised bikes in Queensland law: if you want to ride it on the road, a bike with an internal combustion engine (or an electric motor over a certain wattage) must comply with the Australian Design rules for motorbikes. To put it simply, putting an engine on a bike may exceed the design specifications of the bike.

That’s what this all boils down to: putting engines on bikes that aren’t designed for engines is dangerous. The brakes, the body, the drive train and the wheels of modern bicycles are simply not designed to deal with the stresses and forces produced by attached internal combustion engines. Backyard bike conversions, while fine in theory, are accidents waiting to happen, and they’ll happen to either the rider or to some other member of the public unlucky enough to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. This is why motorbikes need to be registered, why there are design standards for them and why there is a whole collection of safety gear available for them – they may have once been bicycles, but they’re not any more.

And so there is a line, but it’s not clearly drawn. Electric motors in bikes have followed a very different development pathway to internal combustion motors, but the same danger exists there as well. This is why there is strict legislation about power limits and pedal assist technology. Applying the same laws to internal combustion engines on bikes, as some states seem to do, should provide the same sort of safeguards but, unfortunately, I still don’t think the technology of the internal combustion engine is safe for bicycles.

Regardless of whether you’re for them or against them, whether you want them stopped or you want them regulated, there are grey areas in the law, and it’s in those areas that potential disaster lies. We need new, clear and standardised laws and we need them to be inclusive of everyone who wants to ride a bike. We need to outlaw the danger, but we need to embrace the desire.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Bicycles Network Australia.

Photo 1 © Paul Keller, Photo 2 © Brian Hansen

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About The Author

rides whenever and wherever he can; in good weather and bad, in sickness and in health...and mostly off the back of the peloton.

107 responses to “Are petrol powered bikes beyond the law?”

  1. Xplora says:

    A recent conversation with a police officer in NSW led me to believe that these motorised pushies are definitely on the fringes of legality (however its not even close to worth pursuing because clearly someone has successfully defended their bike in court.)

    I think they need to just decide that these things are legal and enforce the underlying rules. Most people riding these things don’t wear helmets… seems a bit peculiar that the demographic using them has such a similar approach.

  2. John Hawkins says:

    In NSW, these devices are all illegal. 200W is not very much power, and even a 25cc weed trimmer engine exceeds this limit.

    The difficulty lies in enforcement. To succeed in the face of a challenge in court, an officer will have to prove the engine exceeds the statutory limit. That means a trip to a RMS facility and a session on a dyno.

    Unsurprisingly, it’s all too hard.

  3. John Hawkins says:

    NSW needs to clarify its legislation the same way as has Queensland.

  4. Roinik says:

    I think that clarity needs to extend to the rest of Australia (incl the national road rules).
    There is a thread on this topic in one of the discussion forums that indicates that the latest update of the Australian road rules allows 200W over all speeds and 250W up to 25 km/h. I understand that this is related to peak rated output of the motor, regardless of any electronic limiting device. If that is the case, anything over the size of a small model aircraft engine develops too much output.
    There is one importer in Qld that can ‘modify’ a stink engine to give a guaranteed 200W output (certified) to get around this law.

  5. Andy says:

    The pedal assist laws in Australia are ridiculous. Currently in Vic, you can have a max 250W electric assist acting as a pedelec (power only when pedaling). Throttle only is restricted up to a max of 6km/h. This does not make sense when any lycra-clad maniac on a carbon racer can hit the streets and travel well in excess of these speeds. I think changes to these laws would encourage alternate transportation for city commuters thus relieving the increasing traffic congestion issues faced by many motorists in Australia capital cities.

  6. Lars says:

    I pass alot on the path’s / roads up here on my commute to work, I don’t see them as being a problem, and as Andy has said I usually enjoy trying to catch them on my pushie and passing them!

    How are you going to limit the power of someones legs ? its’ just as dangerous, no matter how the person get’s to 40 plus km/h with or with out a motor, when that bike hits someone or something it’s still doing 40 plus km/h

  7. rusty says:

    the author is probably against petrol assist bikes, but makes a very nice unbiased summery at the end. What is neglected; is that since changes to the ADR laws in most states, you will not be able to get compliance on anything with pedals. Though in WA they kept the moped law but changed it to refer to scooters and motorbikes of 50cc and below (but no longer able to have pedal assist)

  8. James says:

    What’s missing from this discussion is the noise factor. Many people with these engines either don’t have a muffler or remove it, and travel on quiet shared paths where others are trying to escape such noise and stench. If it is a muffled engine on the streets, well, cars are the rudest drivers. But if it’s unmuffled, it deserves a baseball bat. If it’s unmuffled on a quiet walking path, it deserves a special place in hell.

  9. Craig says:

    Another point that seems to be missed is the increasing amount of injuries occuring on roads in NSW solely contributed to these dangerous motorised bicycles, unfortunaltly some have been fatal. It has been my experience that due to the poor laws in NSW many of the riders of these bikes simply have a motor strapped onto a poorly designed mountain bike not built for the purpose. Further it seems that a sure way to get around once you lose your drivers licence for what ever offence without any ramifications from police who are just as confused about the inept laws. Come on Minister Duncan Gay do something before another poor silly loses their life or gets injured.

  10. Tom says:

    I am a proud owner of my Coca Cola 68cc custom block Motorized push bike, in Queensland.

    I do admit I sneak it out sometimes for pleasure rides,
    I Not only had silenced the muffler, I have also changed
    all my nuts to lock tight ones, and wheels have double
    spokes in them, its reliable, and very safe.

    It’s up to the rider to use common sense, with pedestrians
    on pathways. The are the ones that do the right thing and other that don’t. When I see a cop car I put my clutch in and start peddling, or completeley kill the engine with my kill switch…and they just go passed.

    I had plans for these awesome machines, to keep researching how to make my 68cc Custom Block engine even more quiet and the bike as safe as possible. I even
    considered to apply for a government grant, to fund my research and development.

    My plan was to propose these Gems as local standard transportation. I went passed a Univeristy and looked at 100’s of Cars parked on grass paddocks, virtually anywhere. Because there simply isnt enouph paring for Cars.

    It would of lowered local traffic.
    Help fight obesity (up to 60%+ in Australia)
    Reduce cost of travel.
    Environmentally Friendly.
    And fun for everyone.

    My ideas have been crushed The Government says they are dangerous. Humans make mistakes operating machinery everyday, No difference, its just another machine.

    The truth is Money, How cheap are they on Fuel. They cant suck enough money out of you on those things.

    Save the Environment is always secondary, money comes first and that that:(

  11. jeremy says:

    I agree with the last comment. I have been riding motorbikes since I was 6 years old. Even then my bike had an 80cc engine. I think it all depends on the rider. I am very careful in everything I do. Riding a motorized bicycle would be no different. The only reason we are not allowed to ride these brilliantly economic bikes around is because people are greedy. Not enough profits to be made on fuel. I want to ride mine to my workplace as I work late and often miss the last train home having to spend 20 bucks on a taxi. But I don’t want to risk being fined some ridiculous amount of money for doing nothing wrong. I think that either they let us use them on the road like any other cyclist would or we sneak around behind their backs to avoid them.

  12. mike westen says:

    It’s sad to see the.sickening aversion to every sharp corner is alive and.well her. It’s spineless wimps that think we need to have a law or license for everything that are straight out ruining this country. p.s. registration isn’t about safety it’s about profit and control

  13. jamie says:

    I totally agree with the last 2 comments, and some off the others.
    I am a totally motivated push bike rider, and most often overtaking cars on my bike (70+ km/hr). I recently moved to a moderately hilly area and found myself quite exusted by the time I got to work. Have always done my part for the environment and saw the fuel economy of the motorized bike (68cc) 5ltr/100km. So I bought one used it for a week. Just like any bike going down hill was quite fast not because of motor tho. Motor gets me to about 60 on the flat, but takes a bit to get there.
    So like the last 2 say, if you can pedal to the speed the motor will gradually take you 2. WHERE is the problem, if not a greedy government. It is as safe as riding normally without getting to your destination exusted.
    P.s. I live in Queensland and didn’t know illegal. Found that out the hard way, with the heafty fine. Yey. Talk about a greedy government

  14. Andy says:

    As a dealer of road legal 30cc motorised (under 200 watt)motor kits and bicycles for the last 20 years I have seen the growth in popularity of petrol stand up scooters,monkey bikes and more recently cheap Chinese made motor kits and bicycles.The monkey bikes,mini harleys and stand up scooters were an accident waiting to happen once permitted on public roads and sure enough several unfortunate accidents (some fatal) saw these outlawed some years ago.The kits and bikes with an ungoverned power of 200 watts and over(as pictured in the article) seem at first glance to be more compatible for public road use than the pedal-less units that came before until you consider the following.
    Under the law bicycles fitted with an auxillary motor which have an ungoverned power output of more than 200 watts are treated as a motorbike in most states.They must comply with relevant ADR’s,be registered(including compulsory 3rd party insurance) and be ridden by appropriately licensed and helmeted persons.Currently,if riders of these illegal bikes have an accident and injure themselves or hit someone else eg.@ 70kp/hr and injure or potentially kill someone there is NO 3rd party insurance in place as per registered vehicles or standard pedal bicycles.That leaves the operators wide open to litigation and the injured 3rd party potentially in a difficult place.
    Apart from general quality issues with the cheaper petrol kits leading to lack of reliability and durability (just check ebay for countless bikes on the secondhand market)the main problem in my view is that there are essentially kids and adults (some with limited mechanical skills) fitting these motors to their bikes and souping them up to go as fast as possible without a thought to their own or the public’s safety.I think at the very least some form of registration or licensing should be considered.I also think that regulation of the deceptive methods used by many to market such products needs to be tightened in the interests of everybody’s safety.Road legal petrol and electric motorised bicycles assist thousands of commuters and recreational riders daily.They offer cost efective, healthy alternative transport that is accesible to anyone who can ride a bike,tandem,trike or recumbent.It would be a shame to lose all this for the sake of a handfull of operators who care more for their profits than the long term interest of their customers and the public at large.

  15. Eater says:

    48CC 2 or 4 stroke motors, suitably DERATED, are fine for 200W power plants….

  16. Jahron C says:

    I as a human being is not paying for registration to ride a Bicycle with an engine, Number one you’ll have to catch me, number two, i never do anything wrong on the thing other than ride from “A” to “B”, i stay away from driveways Cars major highways, People for that matter, i don’t see why i cant have a cheap way of getting around. Victoria is a money hungry state…..

  17. Beau says:

    I don’t think you understand it is very easy to be ADR compliant with a motorised bicycle, most bicycles already have disc breaks these days and to be compliant you simply buy a light rack for the back of the bicycle that runs on dynamo rechargeable C cell batteries, its just hooked up to a trip switch for the breaks and normal left right thumb switch for the indicators, the front head lamp can be independently run on it’s own if you wish.

    You can ride 50cc monkey bikes that are ADR. Mine is basically just that but just has pedals attached.
    What’s the big deal??!!

    PS I am also an avid cyclist powered by nothing but muscle power, people that blubber on about them being bicycles with engines so why bother really miss the point that its not about being a lazy mans bicycle, it’s about alternate mid range forms of cheap transport.

  18. kane says:

    i ride one of these every day im only 12 years old i have no sort of transportaiton other then this so what would i do without it i reach speeds of about 30mph insted of buying $7.00 of drinks every day i can pay $2.00 petrol and then we can save petrol and be safe for the envirement electric bikes dont get you up any hill

  19. Neville Fletcher says:

    I live in South Australia and ride my Bicycle for health and pleasure on mostly duel use Pedestrian/Bicycle paths. I have no problem at all with electrically assisted 200w Bicycles; they are generally used by people to increase their range or to compensate for infirmities. However Petrol assisted Bicycles are another matter, they are noisy and dangerous. In my experience they are ridden much faster than normal Bicycles and are a danger to other users of the Dual use paths which include family groups with small children on tricycles etc..
    In SA Australia Petrol assisted Bicycles up to 200w are legal, but I doubt that most people who use these machines comply with the power restriction. I commend Queensland for its clear policy that Petrol assisted Bicycles are Motorcycles and wish SA would follow the same policy.

    • NC Eggleston says:

      That’s crap the fifty and the eighty petrol look the same except for the head bolts the 49 has 10mm and the 79 has 12mm. I ride a 49 I have a tuned exhaust and decent carby. thus I has smooth low down power and can coast with out revving the guts out of my bike. I Live in Yankalilla I would need half a ton on batteries to get anywhere.
      By the way in 1800 months I will be co/ordinating the ecobike grand prix and will be designing the event to cater for both Sparkies and Juice Heads. Stock, semi mods, and super mods, in both classes. There is no room for purists I can make bio fuel if need be. but since I use so little there is no point. I will race you to Adelaide.
      There will be a bitumen circuit and a dirt flat track.

      • NC Eggleston says:

        In eighteen month that is. I am currently talking to the power brokers and will confirm in the new year. And I also make great Push Bikes with out engines. I just happen to not have my head up my bike seat. I have a Burnie Jones orig shimano 600 700c. I have a Cannondale mtb, A Giant twenty Eight inch mtb. A mongoose BMX, An 84 Super elliot Oldschool Tange Araya BmX a Bsa resto, a twenty four inch super elliot girls bike complete with Sturmey Archer drum brakes and internal three speed. and a couple more old girls. go to in there Ratty Natty.

  20. Mark says:

    So if you have an engine on your pushbike and your not using the engine but using the pedal like a pushbike how can they fine you ?
    Surely you have to be caught using the motor ?

  21. Jahron C says:

    I have a motorised bicycle and i refeuse not to ride it, i turn the engine off coming upto major intersections and quite frankly do not care what anyone thinks about me riding around, i avoid people cars buses, i dont want to be ran over. and if someone tells me otherwise ill rip up there front lawn,
    No harm done!

  22. Aaron says says:

    I have a mountain bike also with a 2 stroke petrol motor on it I have a major disability I use it to go to work and back take me 20 mins there and back now if I caught the train and 3 buses take me over 2 hrs of waiting exchanging etc. I know that’s not an excuse but I can never get car,motor bike,boat or any licence’s of any kind so basically my only transport I been doing the right thing at intersection’s etc. but here’s the catch tho I only been talked to once by an NSW HIGHWAY POLICE officer all he said was DO NOT EXCEED 40 KM/H MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A KM CLOCK ON YOUR BIKE SO YOU KNOW NOT TO GO OVER 40 KM then he let me go. and my bike can do about 49 km/h no special kits or nothing so the 200W is silly

  23. Andy says:

    Mark,the engine does not need to be running for you to be breaking the law.One of my customers was recently booked by the police for pedalling his motorised bike (over 200 watts)down a busy melbourne road without the engine running.He was booked for riding an unregistered motorbike, being an unlicensed driver and not wearing a motorbike helmet for a total of nearly $1000 in fines.Another 16yo guy I spoke to the other day was issued a fine by the police totalling $1200 for similar offences.He had bought his motor at a sunday market for $50,fitted it to his bike and had no idea they were illegal to ride on the road until pulled over by the police.
    Eater,I think you will find that derated 2&4 stroke petrol motors (any cc) are not permitted.The law specifically states that any auxillary motor fitted to a bicycle must have an UNGOVERNED power output not exceeding 200 watts.
    i.e The motor must come from the place of manufacture with
    a 200 watt power output specification.That said,if you do get taken to task,the onus of proof is on you to show that the motor output is indeed 200 watts or under which to my knowledge is only possible with a sachs or Rotary hub drive motor.I don’t necessarily agree with the current power restrictions by the way.Just stating the facts.

  24. Matt Moon says:

    this article sounds more like you have it in for those who ride and manufacture these bikes. might i bring to your attention that mountain bikes are designed for a 100+kg male riding down an extremely precarious hill with countless bumps ruts and obstacles. a 75cc ICE (internal combustion engine) thatll run you barely over 35km/h considering a 70km/h riding down steep hills and the likes. i hardly think a 5 kilogram engine plus fuel is going to make a difference, do you?

  25. James says:

    I have two of these such bikes, a 50cc and an 80cc. I do take care to aviod pedestrians but feel like riding on the road is more dangerous to myself and road users. Half the time I dont even use the engine and try to only ride with it on in secluded and off road tracks. I believe it does come down to individual riders. I live in WA and have never been pulled over.

  26. Ronald Bright says:

    The problem I have with these motorised bicycles is if the rider is involved in a collision with a person or vehicle and they are deemed to create the collision how does the other person claim for damages. These vehicles do not have any sort of identification or insurance.
    Could someone please explain how these riders be made to pay for damages

    • Dustin says:

      What about the 200LB guy riding a speedbike down a 25 degree declined hill, realizing his brakes dont work as he plows into a bus stop full of people?
      What good does registration do? Does he have to register his fat because he is trying to lose weight? I can pedal as fast or faster then these bikes on my speed bike. I have 5 bikes! Road safety all comes down to the responsible individual. The word responsibility has a big and important meaning behind it as well regarding this matter.

    • mike says:

      If someone damages your car at the shopping centre and then drives off without leaving a note, how do you claim insurance? I would guess it would work the same way with these things. Obviously there is excesses etc to deal with…

  27. kerry says:

    What’s the difference if a motorised pushie runs into you or a lycra wearing knob head on his racing bike . They both don’t have rego or insurance and both can tell you to get stuffed anyway

  28. Andy says:

    Given the tragic death of a 14yo boy in NSW yesterday involving a motorised bicycle, the time is probably aproaching when either a rider minimum age limit,registration or both will be called for.If as in Qld the authorities consider regulation too difficult then I hate to think where we go from here.
    Kerry,I would much rather take my chances with a regular bicycle travelling @40k than an unregistered motorbike travelling @70k.Over 50,000 cyclists also have inexpensive personal and 3rd party insurance cover through their membership to Bicycle Network Victoria so there is a difference.

    • Beck says:

      Andy I totally agree with your comment.

      My 20 year old nephew came off his motorised push bike here in WA several days before the 14 year old died.

      Unfortunately my nephew died due to his injuries, we were told had he survived he would have been a quadriplegic. We were also told a bicycle helmet would not have prevented his injuries due to the fact he was going 50-60kms.

      I tried to look at the laws surround these bikes in WA, but they are not clear at all. There needs to be some sort of registration/3rd party insurance attached to these bikes. Although my nephew died, I could see what use the bike was to him, as without a licence he could not have covered the distances he did.

      There is an investigation into the accident now, it may be due to one of these ‘backyard’ conversions not being up to scratch.

      I think you said earlier you are a dealer of 30cc motorised bikes that would comply with the wattage? I would say that legislation needs to encourage people who want this type of bike to go to an authorised dealer to ensure they stay within legislation and stay safe.

      Anything higher speed to require a motorcycle licence like scooters etc. and cannot be ridden on the path.

  29. John Bassett says:

    Hi all
    i’m 65 years old and the old legs arn’t what they used to be. i have a motorised bike that is certainly capable of high speeds. but thats not the intention , its all to do with pulling my weight up steep hills in my area. it always takes idiots that ruin it for others i ride respectfully and according to the surrounding conditions. i spoke to a couple of police officers about the speed aspect and they both said ride a lot slower than the surrounding traffic and you won’t draw attention to yourself…ie, 60 zone ride at under that’s just common sense….i rest my case.

    • peter croft says:

      I agree with you mate, im only 17 but im nothing like other teenages, I have a full time job and rent a unit, I hardly ever exceed 40kpm on my bike, and I have been pull over on mine before, and the police officer thanked me for being concerderat to traffic and not speeding, he said he was checking my speed and said I was doing 23kpm and said for a young man you are smart enough to be riding this, I said thank you, and that was it

    • Neil Holbrook says:

      I agree with you, I am 63 years of age and have had one of these bikes for about 5 years, I use it to take my kelpie dog for his run in the back hills where I live. I don’t let the motor run when I am going down hill or hardly ever on the flat.
      These things are made in China and have been for many years, they are probably what dragged China from being a country of starvation to the World’s greatest economy. I bet they didn’t have the cops chasing after them and fining them when they were riding them with a few adult many kids a few pigs and half a dozen chooks on them. I have had a gut full of our over regulated system that is dragged down to the lowest common denominator

    • Neil says:

      John, Good to hear I’m not the only baby boomer who is riding. I started again just recently to try and get a bit more excersize and save a few dollars too, (pension don’t pay that well these days).

      You and others that just use the power assist to help you get somewhere at a sensible rate are using the bikes for what the idea was in the first place. Cheep transport and to help with your health for the lifestyle. The idiot adrenalin junkies, and silly fools that are racing around are the ones that should be penalised and stopped before they kill someone else, not the people that are showing they are more than able to control themselves and what they are riding. The older ones have probably lost their licence for being dangerous behind the wheel on the road and now still haven’t learnt why they lost their licence in the first place. Some of the younger ones that are that way will probably learn their error after they have a cripeling injury or get themselves killed.

      Then everyone will start on about how dangerous they are and should be banned etc. What ever happened to showing respect to others, and taking responsabillity for your own actions ? The lawyers started that way of thinking from the states and it will backfire on everyone that is thinking that way sooner or later.

    • Kelly-Anne Deverix says:

      John Bassett and Neil Holbrook, I agree with both of you. I do not find anything wrong with petrol powered pushies. I walk everywhere along the bike tracks here in south australia and have so many of the 49cc mountain bike setups fly past me and they dont bother me. yes some of the engines are quite noisy and loud but the 80cc engine i got for my husband is sooo quiet and when he rides it he’s not silly on it and doesnt go real fast either. he only has it cause he’s 40yo and suffers from aggoraphobia, social phobia and has a fracture in his spine that wont allow him to walk far. so he only has it so he can get around comfortably cause he dont want to have to get around in a wheelchair or on a gopher. But yes its the idiots that be stupid on them that is making it difficult for the decent respectable riders to ride comfortably without being worried of police. I could guarantee the people who have died or very badly hurt themselves were being stupid on them or not taking and paying attention of their surroundings. I know i would not allow my children to ride them until they were at least 17 years old but that would depend on their maturity.

  30. Rossco says:

    I have a Rotary motor unit, ready to go in WA. I want to use it to support my aged legs/new knees whilst I tow a bicycle trailer to the shops- 3.5km mainly uphill. I’ve no interest in speed, apart from enough to have good precession for ballance. I know I’m not allowed on footpaths, and will ride carefully. I’m grateful for the extra 50W, and ultimately hope for commercially produced large framed, small capacity bikes which are economical to buy and keep using. So far, the e-bike crowd have only gouged their customers, preventing many from buying the product. Green is good, but it has to be affordable too.

  31. Brett Riley says:

    Hi. I have been recently charged with drive whilst disqualified, unreg, , uninsured on my petrol assissted bicycle. I bought the motor prior to 2008 and was under the impression that the engine was legal if under 49cc. This will be my defense in court so can anyone tell me when petrol engines were declared illegal?

  32. Stevey says:

    What a load of crap this article is, motorised bikes are a brilliant innovative mode of transport that are being woefully overregulated, 250 watts won’t even get you up a small inclining hill, let alone the required power that people need to use cargo bikes and bike trailers to do their shopping and give people options instead of expensive high pollutant highly taxed cars and motor bikes. There will always be accidents especially in probability statistics as popularity of riding them multiplies. Young kids should use low powered but mature adults don’t need to be nannied and cajoled like dumb cattle by beauracratic hysteria when we build a bike capable of actually working up a hill with a small load, god Australia sux, the new world order means I need a seat belt to use the loo while a camera watches me.

    • Neil Holbrook says:

      I totally agree with you Stevey 100%. The cops here in SA are under pressure to make sure they get max dollar revenue raising so if they can either get a car with one brake light out or a bloke on a bike with a little motor on it that is easy pickins.

  33. Hi Stevey, it would make sense to read the article as I get the feeling that your disappointment is more to do with the disagreement to some of the points raised in the comments. There seems to be a contradiction in suggesting that motorised bicycles are overregulated but that regulations should limit the power depending on age.

  34. peter croft says:

    I am a motorized bike enthusiasts,and im only 17,but im mature for my age,I have road sense,allways wear a helmet, lights equip to my bike, motorized bikes,are and should be only used by responsible people, example I use mine to go to work 6 days a week, its my only transport, I live in nsw and don’t know what the law here is for these bikes, so feel free to email me, but I don’t speed on my bike,or do burnouts, but these bikes are simply just a another form of transportation for people to use, I don’t ride on pedestrian walk ways only on the bike lanes on side of the roads, and if there are no lanes I will ride in the gutter away from traffic, I live 5km away from my work place and get there and back for six days on a full tank, that last me just ova a week, and only cost $2.00 – $3.00 to fill up great for the environment if you ask me, well ive had my two cents, please contact me, thanks for reading 🙂

  35. Aron says:

    So can i put a engine on my bike? In nsw? Lol

  36. Andrew says:

    Caught the train to work last week for the first time. Had to walk 15 mins to office though. Thought with a motorised scooter (be electric or petrol), I’d ditch my 3 tonne 4.2L diesel vehicle for a public transport/scooter hybrid travel regime. Looked up suitable and affordable models, was dead keen, then checked legalities in Qld and further afield.

    Very disappointing to find they are ilegal in Qld and I’ll just revert to my gas-guzzling car (which at least has a solar powered beer fridge).

    Our law makers show no foresight but at 34 years of age why am I so surprised.

  37. Colin says:

    on a bike with out a motor I can get up to 98kph as I’ve been booked for in the past (overtaking a cop lol) but on a motorised bike I’m lucky to hit 35kph if a cop wants to pull me over let them and I’ll take it to court

  38. Mark says:

    Legislation states that the power of the AUXILARY motor is to be less than 200W measured at the wheel, which allows for energy loss through the chain, gears, bearings etc.. I notice that one of the main importers of the engines provides the option for a 48cc and 66cc engine, and my interpretation is the 48cc is the 200W version; so why market the 66cc version? Personally I don’t mind the use of these auxiliary motors and can really understand the benefits to the community. I can also empathise with young people commuting and this type of transport being perfect. However a recent experience left a bad impression; I was walking along a shared use path that runs along a linear park, with my 2 kids under 5, when half a dozen blokes, I would have thought in their mid 30’s and should have known better, roared down the path. 200W is not a large amount of power, and it was clear that the output was in excess of this, and the motor was not being used as an auxiliary, rather the primary drive. To combat this type of abuse, internal combustion motors should require power of the motor (not at the wheel) under 150W and it will be obvious when that limit is exceeded. Bust and fine the idiots that flout this rule using the road laws. Allow and encourage the use of purpose built electric hub motors with power output up to 1000W. This will encourage the market appropriately.

    • Talscar says:

      Sorry to hear about your experience.
      A Neighbour of mine has a similar problem… Well he has moved.

      Anyway they are not entirely related.
      His house is right next to a park, and if you imaged being in bed and all you hear is loud engines roaring up along side your house, which infact is less then a meter from the foot path to his house.

      And who their are a few riders around, not me cause i got mine for Christmas.
      They ride around like jerks and wake up my Neighbour.

      He moved cause people across the road are jerks and these bike riders annoying him alot…
      Worst thing is he is roughly in his 80’s.
      He has health problems and needs alot of rest.

      I always wanted a motor bike cause of bully’s and other stuff.

      I do about 1 km ride around corners and get to school in 2 minutes.

      By car its about the same time, just harder.

      I am that fast and strong that i get off my bike and my legs are so numb i literally have to sit down or go ride but slowly.

      Some jerks i know on the corner of our steet from school are really BIG Trouble makers.

      They blocked me as i was exercising on my bike.
      They beat me but i was faster then them over all.
      Because my bike was broken at the time i could not beat them.

      When they did cut me off i wished i just rammed their asses for backing up blocking the road…

      They were sitting on the middle of the road with their BMX’s.

      And these asses liked to chase me at school, but their wimps cause i had them on their asses a few times and they never hit me… Just chased me around ALOT. Picking on me.

      With a motorized engine i can out run these guys if i really wanted to and if they wanted to come after me id kick their asses.

      I would obay the rules of the road with my motorized bike if its allowed on the roads.

      I believe i have to register it first thou… 😛

      Also with the guys reving like jerks… They did that by taking their hand off the clutch with full throttle.
      Iv done it and almost instantly revs like crazy.

      I control the throttle and clutch evenly.
      When i slow down i lower the throttle and then Grip hand on clutch.
      When i go to take off put on some throttle first then hand off the clutch.
      Otherwise the motor just DIES…

      Also if their on foot paths or public parks, Bike trails or something with their bikes then that is Illegal with a motorized bike.


      But anyway sorry for your expirence.

  39. Talscar says:

    I have a Petrol Energized bike.
    I was told its 50 cc but the Manual does not specify weather it is or not other then the only 3 numbers which are 48, 60 and 70.

    Even with a petrol motor mounted its slow piece of junk…
    A guy came to tune it up as it wasn’t working 100% and when he had it at max Throttle i chased him.
    I am only slightly slower on foot but i bet if i got on my mountain bike (No motor but it can mount a motor from chainsaw if i wanted to) I bet id kick his ass.

    Although he took off like a rocket when he went from power straight from the motor to making it power assisted using his pedals.
    That was when he went really fast.

    I am seeking information atm for using this as police don’t touch you if your using a petrol engine on your bike.

    But apparently 48cc is 2200 Watts in power. According to a sight i used for the conversion.

    Bikes are not designed for having powered motors on them yes i agree.

    But bikes if bikes are not designed to have a motor on them then its illegal for me to ride a bike as my power when i ride is way WAY more powerful then that of a motor.
    Only Difference its a motor shakes the hell out of your bike, even if it is rubber mounted.

    I figure its harder to control a motorized bike but when i put 2 and 2 together i realized i struggle alot more when i ride without a motor.
    I Struggle as when i am pedaling and i look behind me to see who is coming, i tend to drift one way or the other.

    Same sorta thing with a motorized bike but i got more control.

    I did notice that the bike at one time was shaking like crazy but i managed to control it.

    I believe that motor bikes should be allowed to be ridden so long as the Motor is correctly mounted that the bike does not shake super bad, and risks an accident.

    I am not a professional but i know enough to be able to know if a bike is crap or not.

    A Tip for some of you wanting to mount motors to bikes:
    Don’t mount the motor to a bike that has 27 inch wheels.
    The motor will use up alot of power just trying to spin the wheel.
    Making its power output from the wheel to the road less than what they tell you it needs to be.

    I personally would prefer a 26 inch mountain bike for various reasons.
    1: If you wanted to go really fast (Not motor assisted) you can reach around 50 kmh if you have alot of endurance and strong legs.
    2: The motor wont strugle as much and it will give better performance when needed.
    3: I prefer a wider rubber on mine as the thinner it is the more bad it will be if you hit a rock or a branch on the road. (Personal experience)

    27 Inch i asked for Wider rubber, but they could not get anything like what i asked for.

    Now in theory the bigger the wheel the faster you can go and the more bigger things you can go over with from the wheel.
    But the down side is you cant get high speeds as quickly as you can on a mountain bike as you will struggle more to reach the speeds on the bigger wheels as opposed to the wheel on a mountain bike.

    Sorry if i wrote to much but i will end it at.

    I Strongly agree with Motors for bike due to the fact that if a bike isn’t designed for that motor then it isn’t designed for us really strong riders who could easily out run and out do a motorized push bike.

  40. Garth says:

    My comment is the ban in Victoria was to get rid of monkey bikes wich could be registered …a bike with a petrol engine ..can not be registered…so buy law can not be banned as there is not a law that can do that…yet. It’s a grey area for police they will not bother trying to book you…to much paper work for nothing…I have studied law…and by law these bikes do not exist…

  41. Garth says:

    Also may I add you can and will be convicted for DUI. On the bike.if you have been drinking or taking drugs….

  42. Jesse says:

    Whether your travelling up hill at 40km/h with a motor attached to your bike or travelling 40km/h down hill without a motor makes no difference. These motorized bikes are very convenient in the sense that it is a good source of transport and will get you from A to B, especially for juveniles, and are very affecting for uphill roads. And yes you can can sit there and say that these bikes are especially dangerous for juveniles, but so is everything. There are 1000’s of legal things a juvenile or anyone can do which can lead to fatality. 9/10 a person who injures themselves on one of these bikes were using it for the wrong intentions. But I feel that these bikes should stay legal, well under 70cc, so the privilege isn’t ruined for the people who are going to use the bike in the right intentions

  43. Marvin says:

    Personally I like the idea of petrol assist because when camping you can’t bring a charger with you.

    The biggest problem I see is these little bitty motors have no torque so hey will simply stop assisting in a head wind or up a hill which is when you want them to work.

    So riddle me this. The law states 200watts at the wheel. Is a 80cc motor suitably geared down to supply no more that 200watts at the wheel with a max. speed of 25kmh and plenty of torque legal or not?

  44. mundi says:

    The law does not say 200W at the wheel. It says the motor must not be more than 200W. Gearing is irrelevant.

    People claiming 48cc/50cc is 200W are just being scammed by sellers of those bikes. A typical little 50cc engine throws out over 5,000W. You are looking at <2cc for a 'legal' petrol engine, which simply doesn't exist. In most states Police will pull you up and fine you instantly on any petrol bike.

    Its not even possible to have a 200W internal combustion engine on a bicycle. Petrol and Electric engines are completely different, electric can output max torque at 0 speed, something which a petrol engine cannot. Petrol engines have to have insanely high power just to be able to get you moving – and there is nothing stopping you using this power once the revs spin up to go at insane speeds. This is why there is a 200W limit – which essentially makes it electric only.

    • stolennomenclature says:

      Most of the available 50cc engines i have seen quote max output of just over 1kw. Very unlikely a cheap 2 stroke engine in a low state of tune could put out anything near 5kw.
      An 2 stroke internal combustion engine limited in output to 200watts will have very little torque, but then this can be multiplied by the appropriate gearing, however the bike would then have a very limited speed range unless it had multiple gears. I think all the available 2 stroke engines i have seen have only a single speed. A very low geared version might m

      • stolennomenclature says:

        max out at only 3 kph. not of much use i guess except getting up inclines.
        By the way the 200 watt quoted for power assisted bicycles is net output at the drive wheel(s), not the net output of the motor, nor the power consumption of the motor. An electric motor putting out 200 watts of power to the road will be using probably more than 250watts depending on the efficiency of the motor / controller and the transmission.

    • stolennomenclature says:

      Sorry but the law does indicate 200 watts of motive power to the bicycle, not 200 watts of energy consumption by the motor.

    • leo says:

      google rock solid engines -they have detuned a 50cc engine to 200 watts with a legality sticker -even for use in Qld -they are everywhere here. So much for what is said on this page!

      • David Halfpenny says:

        Leo, I question that “legality sticker” you’re claiming. Do you have more details on it?

  45. t says:

    what can you get done for if you are using an 80cc engine that dose cut out once reaching a certain speed and you are riding on public roads without registration

  46. stolennomenclature says:

    Extremely vague article. Just because bicycles are not designed for add on petrol engines does not mean that it will pose a problem. The add on petrol engines ARE designed to be put on ordinary bicycles.
    Ordinary bicycles are (or should be) designed to be ridden by buff, phsically strong riders, and according to information i have read, are capable of power outputs of 800 watts or even more for short periods. They also have to cope with heavy, overweight people too. In addition they have to be built with some additional strength to allow fof a margin of error and aging.

    These add on petrol engines are not very heavy, and have little torque at low revs. Just what aspect of the bicycle are these engines going to overstress?

    I have seen numerous people riding these bikes on the streets where i live. I have never seen anyone going significantly faster than a normal rider is capable of, although doubtless they can keep it up for longer. Also, I have never seen one of these bicycles fall apart – not yet at least.

    All of this anti-powered bicycle stuff is just the greedy parasites being miffed at the way the ordinary people can get cheap useable transpoert, without them getting their usual share of the profits. Have’nt these bastards got enough yet?

  47. stolennomenclature says:

    Gotta love the way the legislaters balk at the idea of a bicycle with more than a 200 watt motor attached, yet allow people to ride motorbikes with hundreds of kilowatts of power that weigh half a ton, and can exceed the max 110 kph speed limit by almost double. Such blatant and outrageous hypocrisy. Who needs such a machine? If someone on a two wheeled vehicle lost control of it, mounted the pavement and hit a line of people waiting at a bus queue, i would rather it was someone on a motorized mountain bicycle than a half ton Harley Davidson.
    The safety aspects the legislators widdle on about is a very hit and miss kind of safety. Its not safe for someone in a car to ride without being belted in, yet a motocyclist who has virtually no protection whatever can be just sitting on a tiny seat, unrestrained, and thrown off like a missile when they lose control of the bike.
    Its apparently ok for a fit person to ride their pedal cycle at 60kph down a hill using pedal power and gravity, but not ok to ride at more than 25kph using an electric motor. Why? None of this stuff makes any sense.
    This is because in reality it is about about money and the loss of road tax and license revenue. Make powered bicycles too attractive and lots of people might start using them, and perhaps get rid of their cars. Then the government loses road tax, license, and petrol tax revenues. THis is the real issue. Everything else is just a smokescreen,

  48. Byrr says:

    Maybe someone is worried about the extremely cheap petrol usage?

  49. chris says:

    As a fairly normal but overweight 27 year old. I have recently purchased a 200W pedal assist electric bike and ride it to work and back every day. It used to take me 15mins by car sitting at the bloody traffic lights. I can do it on a bike in the same time (as I don’t have to wait in the queue of cars). Cost me $1800 from a WA retailer and have no complaints so far.

    I normally average about 25kmph over 8km each way, includes stopping at a lot of lights. Im not sure what the top speed is, but as much as I would like to go faster I wouldn’t feel comfortable riding in shorts and t-shirt, like I do currently if it did for the fear of serious road rash!

    Recovering from a knee reconstruction it helps me up the one big hill fine, is a lot of fun and a bit of exercise every day. Im pretty much over the injury now and there is no way that I am going to change back to a normal bike.

    I think people are missing the point of the whole electric bike thing. Can I ride a normal bike to work and back yes. Would I enjoy it as much, no way. For me its a bit of extra fun each day and avoids excessive sweating and a shower (although I have a shower most days anyway). On the way to work I crank up the assist high and turn it low or off on the way home for a better work out. For me versatility is the key. I get way more use out my electric bike vs my push bike, so those judging me for being lazy, there is still effort and I cycle 10 times further per week equating to significantly more exercise. Yet another plus for electric.

    Just some thoughts from an electric bike commuter anyway. I’d say don’t knock it till you try it.

  50. Grant says:

    I have the answer slow us all down more and more we are still going to fast and increase fines to 1000 dollars for unresisted vEhICles anything that moves and get rid of rego stickers and spend more money on Adelaide oval foot bridge and land fill or bulldoze football Park.

  51. Bruce Salmon says:

    I have been riding petrol powered bicycles for over six years now and never had a problem . I travel around 5,000 km a year and use a bit of common sense ( keep the speed senseble on the road and be coutious on cycle ways 25 kmh please ) I love the racing bicycles flying past me down hills , and enjoy passing them again up the hills .
    Petrol or electric bikes are great for disabled or ederly riders . I we all stick to the rules there would be no problems . Period .

  52. Grant says:

    So its all right that you can easy blow you mind out in a car that seems to be no problem.

  53. leo says:

    The writer says motorized is illegal up here yet “rocksolid engines claim their 200 watt detuned engine is legal in Qld. Here in Woodridge I see them ride past police cars every day. I know a guy drives one to menshed from 30km away every week. He says the law haven’t touched him yet -so much for outlawed motorized bicycles in Qld lol

  54. Bruce Salmon says:

    Yes that’s right Leo .
    Rock Solid do a 200 watt engine and Z-box also have a certified 200 watt one . I also see police every day on my bike and never get questioned . Cheers .
    Not sure what Grant means by his last reply .(strange) .

  55. pout123 says:

    Hi, just to put my two bits in. I think that we need separate bicycle paths, as I remember back in Holland when a little one. No interference to and from car traffic (safer for both car and bikes) and simpler to set up rules for bikes. Then “motorised” and all bikes will be safer, can be managed IE. Registered if necessary, safer road rules, etc.
    Just my two bits for discussion.

  56. ivan smith says:

    Hi , I have built & sold over 40 motorized bikes & only had 1 problem with the Law & that was mainly because of the rider (this is usually the case). I used the 50cc version motor mounted on Huffy alloy mountain bikes. These bikes were capable of 70 kph on the flat carrying my weight of 90 kilos . I also built a one tandem & also a trike & all were very successful . So keep on building & riding them they cant book us all.

  57. Boris says:

    This article is full of so much crap. First and foremost:

    “a lot of people aren’t happy about it”
    I ride one such bicycle and have done for over 5 years, the vast majority of people smile, wave and stop me to ask all about my transportation. Only the odd Lycra clad idiot gets upset. I suggest that you are one of these Lycra clad idiots pushing your own personal agenda.

    “The brakes, the body, the drive train and the wheels of modern bicycles are simply not designed to deal with the stresses and forces produced by attached internal combustion engines.”

    Doing 40kph with an engine driving you is no worse for the bicycle than said Lycra clad idiot doing 60 in a 50 zone. If the brakes can stop our Lycra clad friend at 60+ why can it not also safely stop a Motorized cycle doing the same speeds? The engine, pulling the rider of a motorized bicycle at the same speed as our Lycra friend has the wheel doing the same RPM so bearings will hold up if the bike is not a lump of junk to begin with.

    A standard bicycle wheel (spokes) may not hold up to the torque of the engine, but a Kmart Huffy with no engine doesn’t hold up to the stresses of my 100kg butt. Some bicycles are not “designed” to take the load of rider they have. Common sense.

    The news in all of its formats here points out deaths of cyclists all the time on our roads, perhaps a dozen a year or so. If these motorized bicycles are so dangerous why has there never been a confirmed reported fatality on one?

    • Bruce Salmon says:

      Don’t worry . Any one who claims that a 50cc kit on a cheep bike will do 70kmh under its own power clearly has a speedo problem. 45 top speed is a more realistic figure. But any mens bike , motorised or not can reach speeds like that down a steep hill if your stupid enough to try it !
      Take care and enjoy riding all .

  58. What a fine way to join the conversation. It would be useful to read and understand the article before commenting.

  59. erik says:

    Okay so I’m on the fence on this one. I see the positive side of motorized bicycles and also the negatives. From reading through a majority of posts here I’ve come to form my own opinion that some regulation of motorized bicycles would improve road safety but I wouldn’t say banning their use altogether is the best solution.

    We all know that pedal powered bicycles can be propelled to the same speeds or greater speeds than motorized bicycles.

    Why are so many people on motorized bikes annoying other pedestrians by riding at insane speeds on foot paths etc and less so on pedal powered bicycles?

    It’s pretty simple. EFFORT. You don’t need much of it to ride a motorized bicycle at speed. If you can go 60kph without breaking a sweat why the hell not right? Not only that but you can do it on any low quality mountain bike you can shoehorn an engine into.

    These Bicycles are no longer self regulating.

    the lazy,fat, ignorant,disrespectful doll bludging couch potato’s who no longer have a drivers license for good reason and most likely would refuse to ride under their own steam are jumping on the motorized bicycle bandwagon

    Children who could never attain such speeds but more importantly maintain those speeds if riding a pedal powered bicycle anywhere else than a down hill slope are jumping on the bandwagon.

    That elderly man/women who’s electric scooter just seems too inadequate for their lightening fast reflexes can jump on the motorized bicycle bandwagon and keep up with the pro athletes

    We’ve heard it a million times. Speed kills. Nobody is about to deny that you are at greater risk of injury if an accident occurs while traveling at higher speed.

    When taking into consideration that unregulated motorized bicycles are capable of propelling ANYONE at 50-60kph regardless of age,gender,fitness,experience and allow that user to maintain those speeds for an extensive period of time. It’s a no brainer to expect more accidents will result from the use of unregulated power assisted bicycles when compared to unassisted pedal powered bicycles.

  60. Bruce Salmon says:

    I agree totaly , but its horses for corses realy , if an elderly or disabled person cant ride up their drive way , or any steep incline on thir under powered scooter , it’s not for them . A 500 watt electric bicycle custom made for thir needs with a top speed of no more than 30KPH is the answer . I design and sell bikes to many diferent pepole , electric for city riding and petrol for open hyway use . As for the authoritys/law , they are generaly not concerned what bike you ride , as long you are not speeding or been a nuisence on the road .
    Of all bicycle accidents I have read about on the roads ,speed was not a factor it seems .
    By the way , these bikes are a target for theivs this is where the trouble starts . Keep your bike secure !

  61. Michael says:

    If I get a 80cc motorised bike is it ok or not ok to ride in the streets of Melbourne?

  62. Bruce Salmon says:

    In VIC they are considered ilegal , even the 50cc , but if you check with your local athoritys , they may say its ok in there area .

  63. Andy says:

    The Facts.In all states except QLD where all petrol powered bicycles were outlawed some years ago, any petrol powered bicycle with an UNGOVERNED power output greater than 200 watts is treated as a motorbike and requires registration,licensing and an approved motorbike helmet to be worn unless an exemption applies.The bike must also meet the Australian Design Rules for that class of vehicle.
    To my knowledge (and I have been in the industry for over 20 yrs)the only road legal petrol powered bicycles that currently comply with the law are those fitted with the Sachs/Rotary type of hub drive engines.
    All other petrol powered bicycles fail the test either because the power output is greater than 200 watts or becuase the power assistance is not auxillary but rather primary.(see links below to Vic legislation and NSW advisory for details).
    As an aside, Vespa style electric scooters fitted with footboards and non adjustable seats are also non compliant.I don’t necessarily agree with the current legislation but consumers need to be warned, as their is a lot of “misinformation” out there (sometimes from the authorities themselves) resulting in people being slugged hefty fines for riding bikes they were led to believe complied with the law.Add to this the legal implications if you happen to have an accident or injure yourself on what is essentially an unregitered motorbike and caution is advisable, as it is not illegal to sell these for use on private property.

  64. Bruce Salmon says:

    Intrresting the Sachs/Rotary is leagl , also Rock Solid Engins in QLD produce a certified 200W 48cc and so dose Z Box in VIC , But one I tryed ran so poorly it had to be pedeled aswell . The Sachs are expensive but probebly better .
    Good news for power assisted bikes in Tasmania ! Speed limit is back up to 30kph again and the same on cycle ways, and I heard 200w bikes can use a throttle but 250w is legal with pedlec system only , but I’m talking electric here , so 200w petrol bikes should be ok aswell.
    This new legislation was in tuesdays Mercury newspaper .

  65. Andy says:

    Sachs engines are geared internally via reduction gearing thus the power output complies.I doubt very much wether governing the raw power of higher output motors is acceptable as the law talks about UNGOVERNED power of 200 watts or less so any detuning of the motors raw (factory) capacity is not permitted.Used to be allowed, and the likes of Gomo sold lots of kits by detuning their motors but once the law was amended to disallow any form of governing of the power they became illegal for road use and Gomo are thus no more.Here’s an interesting link on power output as regards the sachs/rotary engines.

  66. Matteo says:

    At the end, can I ride a motorized bike in Melbourne?
    I live in little bourke stree, I want use it just for go at work….
    Vic roads say that:
    A bicycle with an auxiliary motor(s) producing less than a total of 200 watts at the wheel, and where the power is additional to using the pedals.

    so this kind of engine : [broken link removed]

    Should be fine for my beach cruiser….or not?

  67. Bruce Salmon says:

    No those type ones are not legal, but tolerated in some states . Melbourne is not one of them . So this leaves you a Sachs/prorotary kit , or 200w electric without having to pedal (100% leagaly) . If you have seen other pepole useing any thing else you cauld risk it , but may be hit with a heafty fine .
    Good luck .

  68. […] was communicating with Bruce because an opinion piece I wrote on petrol powered bikes has become one of our most popular articles on Bicycles Network Australia (BNA). Bruce has posted […]

  69. Jonathan says:

    As a motorbike and pushie rider ( yep, Lycra), I reckon if you can’t pedal, buy a scooter and do what the rest of us have to do if we have a motor- pay rego, third party etc.
    All I see are K mart BSO with a motor.yeh, very safe. The other thing is the potential speed – true I can go down a hill on my pushie at 60 kph, but I only go up it at 15. On a quasi motorbike you can travel, on average, much faster.
    Oh, I do have insurance as a pushie rider too.

  70. Bruce Salmon says:

    Not many bicycle riders want to be a motor bike rider .
    An e-bike cant be beaten for a peacefull Sunday ride, and a petrol assisted one will go for miles with out a battery recharge. For me this is a hobby as much cheap transport . They are not meant to be ridden flat out every where .

  71. kyle loveday says:

    it fun and gets people out side its not powerfull it struggles to pull me along but I peddle wich means imhaving fun at the same time and getting exercise is simple there the best thing ever

  72. Colin McGhie says:

    Out for our regular Sunday morning “push” bike ride yesterday, our small group was taken out on a cycle/shared path near Prospect in Sydney by a “Motorised” bike going around a blind sweeping corner at high speed on the wrong side of the path. I now have a good friend in hospital with multiple injuries. I acknowledge that it could just as easily been a careless “push” bike rider, but it wasn’t. I don’t care if people want to ride “Motorised” bike or not however I think the definition says it all. “Motor” & “Bike” Therefore irrespective of the possible speed it can travel it is a “Motorbike” and as such should be registered and not allowed on cycle/shared paths.

  73. Bruce says:

    Sorry to hear this . It’s exactly the kind of behavior I have been complaining about . It happens in the outer sububs with full on trail bikes !
    Petrol powered bicycles are not allowed to be used on a cycleway or shared path by the way , unless the engine is swiched off . Thats the law .

  74. Duncan Gay, the reluctant minister for roads and transport in NSW has ruled petrol powered bicycles illegal from October 1. 2014

    “Legal bicycles from 1 October include regular bicycles with no engines attached, complying 250 watt pedelacs and 200 Watt power assisted pedal bicycles that are powered by an electronic motor. The legislation on mopeds and motorcycles will remain unchanged,” Minister Gay said.

    (reported by NZ Wellignton Times:
    Huh? New Zealand.. and no local reporting. OK.

    On the one hand, regular bike riders are not likely to be disappointed, though considered that this is the first I have heard.. and in less that 1 month it will be law, this is pretty scary because of the position that Minister Duncan Gay has already expressed against cycling.

  75. Andy says:

    Yes Christopher,and meanwhile you will be able to purchase a 1000 watt “stealth mode” electric bicycle or kit on Ibay and go hurtling down any public road or god forbid shared bikepath when and as you please essentially undetected.Hell yeah,that’s fair………
    I have several longtime customers who can’t get and don’t want a license etc and are too far out of town to switch from petrol to electric bikes.Many have little or no public transport options!
    The law was not the problem.Lack of policing and misinformation from those that are responsible for administering the law was.Coincidentally Ibay was and is a willing paricipant in this deception despite my repeated protestations.
    Anyone that owns a road legal (200 watt output) petrol motorised bicycle in NSW has just had the rug pulled!
    I’m in Vic and with a state election looming will be seeking assurances from my local members and peak cycling body (Bicycle Network) to stop this indiscriminate nanny state madness and hopefully reverse the NSW decision.Bicycle Network have recently opened an office in NSW at 234 Crown Street, Darlinghurst .Got something to say?Let them know.
    Enough for now.I’ll get off my soapbox 🙂

  76. Riley says:

    This is a highly opinionated piece, and is a disgrace to making a blanket statement that all petrol powered bikes are dangerous, and all electric bikes are safe is plain wrong and stupid. Its like saying anyone who drives a fast car is a stupid and dangerous driver. wrong. It is not the machine that makes it dangerous it is how it is ridden. I personally own a petrol powered bike, THAT HAS BEEN LIMITED TO 200W, and the size of the engine basically has no relevance to the minimum amount of power it can produce (within reason). So before making blanket statements, know what you are actually talking about.

  77. Fred Hillier says:

    My wife and I have just spent 4 months riding around Europe on bikes (no motor) however now home I am going to fit petrol motors to our ebikes so in effect I will have two motors which the total cc rating will be outside the law.

    The reason for the second motor is that when touring/camping in the outback I can use the petrol motor and when in towns use the electric one. Using the electric motor in towns means I can’t be accused of creating noise or smell pollution.

    I am going to rig the throttles so it will be impossible to run both motors at one time. The reason for the motors is I am in my mid 70s so I need a little help on the hills especially when loaded with camping gear.

    Has anybody out there installed two motors on a bike and used them as I intend, if so I would like to hear from them.


  78. KEN SWAN says:

    Only an sorry judge or cops who hates motorcyles or motorized bicycles would have support a stupid law as this one. It is another aim at Australia to stop one from getting a deal against the oil companies, so thank God for the magnetic motor sure to become a household name in 4-y6 years everywhere. We are on thevearge of agraet happening not to become popular even though it was invented by Nicolas Telsla in about 1890. He also invented AC electric power grid and first to invent the radio, before it was even thought of by Marconi. This is the honest truth soo look up Nicola Tesla and read all about him as he was the greatest inventor of all time and die a poor soul in a hotel in New York City after being poisoned !!!

  79. Bruce says:

    Humm , all petrol powered bicycles ileagle in NSW .
    Lets face it , petrol powered converted bikes have allways been ileagle . Only factory 200watt built bikes were compliant . I doubt wheaher this will make any difference at all , exept Like Andy said, it will most likely push pepole towards high powered electrics , so thats bad , you cant hear the bloody things coming !
    The police wont know what power they are either unless they catch someone speeding .

  80. Not yet illegal, first from October 1, 2014 with the new laws that MP Duncan Gay has silently slipped through.

    If you check the laws on e-bikes, it is a different kettle of fish – the e-bikes legal to 250 watts are pedal assist (so not throttle powered) plus the complete bikes are built to accommodate the speeds which they travel – so 30 kmh is based on your own human power with no assist and with a street legal e-bike you would be hard pressed to exceed most speed limits.

    The petrol powered bike which are of concern and which I have seen regularly are the throttle controlled ones hitting 50 – 60kmh.

    I think it is possible to have a cleaner and safer petrol powered bike however they have been abused and the new laws are a reaction to this.

  81. Andy says:

    Differentiating between 200 watt road legal and the non road legal high powered bikes can be done easily and effectively by registering all petrol motorised bikes that are compliant(as they do in some European cities).The police would then have no difficulty taking care of the non road legal bikes and the incentive to purchase same and use on the road would be greatly curtailed.I would have no objection to paying a small yearly rego fee for my Sachs/Rotary motorised bike to cover administrative costs and perhaps go towards better cycle paths.An option for some sort of property and accident insurance could also be included as part of the registration fee.

  82. Bruce says:

    I was talking to a reliable source a while ago now , and suggested the same thing . But apparrently it has had a trial run, but was axed due to the massive expence and was considered not practical .
    So it’s OCT 31 . New rules are in , Has anyone noticed a difference in NSW or been booked for riding with a petrol powered bike ??

  83. Kye says:

    I lost my licence after being pulled over for a random breath test and the cop noticed I had my phone on the passengers seat plugged in to play music, as a result I got my license taken away from me for 6 months. (Yes a red p plate driver)

    Now, I work 60+ hours a week in hospitality and start as early as 4am and finish as late as 11pm. Public transport is out of the question. I ride my “dangerous” motorised puchbike slowly and out of the way of other motorists, always making sure I’m not in someone’s way.

    The fact is people like myself will ride these regardless of what other people say because walking or cycling 10km to work at 3:30am is worse than a possible $220 fine, mate just chuck it on the spur account I’ll have it paid off in 15-20 years.

  84. Bruce says:

    The bike is not dangerous if its professionaly built . I have said this before and if anyone is not sure about thir bikes safety, get it checked and ride in peace .
    This is a bit off corse , but I dont think you can realy get booked for having a phone in a car Kye . I,d get that case revewed mate .