overpowered ebikes

Posts: 1015
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:37 am

overpowered ebikes

Postby zebee » Mon Feb 12, 2024 9:47 am

I checked my insurance for the exact wording that it covers me for legal liability for Frankentrike. It covers pedal cycles but is an e-trike one?

According to the NSW road rules https://pcc.gov.au/uniform/Australian-R ... er2021.pdf it is:

bicycle means a vehicle with 2 or more wheels that is built to be propelled by human
power through a belt, chain or gears (whether or not it has an auxiliary motor), and:
(a) includes a pedicab, penny-farthing and tricycle; and
(b) includes an electrically power-assisted cycle within the meaning of vehicle
standards determined under the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 of the
Commonwealth, as amended from time to time;

Frankentrike is Road Vehicle Standards compliant so no worries. But what about the non-legal ones?

e-scooters are "personal mobility devices" but those are specifically defined as when propelled only by the motor or motors, is not capable of travelling over 25km/h on level ground

non-legal e-bikes or PMDs aren't a motor vehicle: motor vehicle means a vehicle (other than a motorised scooter) that is built to be
propelled by a motor that forms part of the vehicle.

An over powered e-bike with pedals is theoretically built to be pedalled not motored. But is not, by definition, a bicycle in NSW.

A motorised scooter is something that amongst other things "when propelled only by the motor or motors, the scooter is not capable of going faster than 10 km/h on level ground

So what IS an e-scooter able to do more than 25kmh or an e-bike that does not match the Road Vehicle Standards Act?

Not a bicycle, not a motorised scooter, not a PMD, not a vehicle.

Are they motorcycles?
motor bike means a motor vehicle with 2 wheels

Not a motor vehicle so not a motorcycle.

Wheeled recreational device? Nope. wheeled recreational device means a wheeled device, built to transport a person,
propelled by human power or gravity,

Toy? Not one of those either. wheeled toy means a child’s pedal car, scooter (other than a motorised scooter) or tricycle
or a similar toy, but only when it is being used only by a child who is under 12 years old.

So it appears no road rules apply to them!

Not sure how well it would go arguing that in court mind you. Or with your insurer!


User avatar
Posts: 6591
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:01 pm

Re: overpowered ebikes

Postby Thoglette » Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:18 am

An illegal, uninsured motorcycle in most jurisdictions. Usually with an unlicensed rider.

There’s been a reasonable number of examples of Mr Plod laying charges over such vehicles.

But generally Mr Plod has more important things to do: it’s usually reserved for the Darwin Awards candidates
Stop handing them the stick! - Dave Moulton
"People are worthy of respect, ideas are not." Peter Ellerton, UQ

Posts: 1904
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:52 pm
Location: Albury NSW on the mighty Murray River

Re: overpowered ebikes

Postby brumby33 » Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:37 am

Many of those E-Bikes that are used by the gig economy delivering foods like Uber Eats and Door dash and the like are mostly the illegal bikes you speak of......As far as I know, E-bikes are only supposed to be pedal assisted to 25kph and not have a hand throttle and can't be propelled by the motor only, but they do. and they ride on footpaths with these illegal machines too.

When I was driving the City Buses in Sydney, I came across these delivery bikes often, with huge batteries and the riders often are doing up to 40kph or more without pedalling and that was uphill. Many times I had to do 50kph in the City just to get past them or had to slow up and duck in behind if a stop with people is coming up.....but the cops never touch them even though they ride these things illegally.

It's not their bikes either, they generally lease (rent) them from the food delivery company for about $100pw and it's the food delivery people who are supposed to have legal machines to rent out but it seems to be ignored. (they are probably paying the right people in brown paper bags to turn the other way :P )

I don't fully blame the riders, they are mostly overseas students trying to earn money for living and they ride in all sorts of weather and conditions, it's dangerous out there and some have never made it back home.

Many of those privately owned E-Scooters are illegal as well and can reach speeds of up to 60kph, they fly along and overtake cars in town.

"ya gotta hold ya mouth right"

VWR Patagonia 2017
2003 Diamondback Sorrento Sport MTB

Posts: 12096
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:40 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: overpowered ebikes

Postby jasonc » Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:45 pm

we use this thread to discuss this sort of stuff

Mr Purple
Posts: 2793
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:14 pm

Re: overpowered ebikes

Postby Mr Purple » Tue Feb 13, 2024 12:12 pm

I doubt any of these arguments are applicable in court, because it's pretty clear that the laws can't be phrased in such a way that covers every application.

It's all about the intent of the law.

In Queensland at least there's one law that applies to e-bikes, and another that applies to PMDs. And these look completely bizarre at first glance because e-bikes are strictly limited to 250W/25km/hr and PMDs have unlimited power and 25km/hr.

The intent sort of makes sense if you look at it - simply because PMDs legally can't be used in as many places as e-bikes. They're banned from most roads, they have stricter speed limits on shared paths than e-bikes, and in general are not treated legally as vehicles like e-bikes are. As such having different laws 'sort of' makes sense. But in any practical application the PMD riders generally don't follow any of the laws anyway which makes the whole distinction pointless.

By the looks of your post you're in NSW anyway here PMDs are illegal outside of private property. So the short answer is if you have more than 250W your device is simply outright illegal. There may be some semantics involved if you were in Queensland where PMDs with more than 250W are legal, but I'm pretty sure a clever lawyer could simply argue it's an e-bike rather than a PMD (length limit laws also apply to PMDs) so I'm not sure I would want to take on an insurance company in your situation either way.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users