The manipulated eBikes could affect all of us and the bicycle industry wants to avoid them at all costs

Urban Cycling 11 oct. 2021 23:10 Migue A.

The Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI), made up of 15 national associations and 68 companies, has just signed a pledge to prevent e-bikes from being manipulated to break the speed limit. Believe it or not, this is in the interest of all cyclists, not just e-bike users.

The Bicycle Industry wants to prevent electric bicycles from being manipulated, why is that?

In a recent press release, CONEBI announced that on 30 September they signed a pledge to take a firm stance against the practice of manipulating eBikes to circumvent the current 25 km/h speed limit for eBikes in Europe and the UK.

This position seems obvious because of the serious consequences of such manipulations, as well as the legal and even criminal consequences for the driver in the event of an accident. No insurance would be liable. Obviously, this practice also leads to the loss of the eBike warranty.

With this signature, they commit themselves to do everything possible, such as raising awareness, evaluating and improving standards, etc., to avoid such manipulations. But the truth is that there seems to be a much more important reason than all of the above.

While the vast majority of e-bike riders do not manipulate their bikes, CONEBI is concerned about the negative effect that the illegal action of a few will have on the many innocent people who behave in accordance with the law.

CONEBI strongly believes that the current regulatory framework for electric bikes is very adequate and that the equal treatment of electric bikes and bicycles is fundamental to the increased use of electric bikes in recent years. However, CONEBI sees manipulation as a threat to this stable framework. Therefore, there is a strong motivation for the bicycle industry to fight against manipulation.

All this means that nobody in the cycling industry is interested in mandatory insurance and even special licenses to ride bicycles or eBikes. This would discourage the purchase of these vehicles and could happen if a problem, such as manipulation, causes the authorities to change the law to regulate it in a general way.

A widespread problem of eBikes above 25 km/h and the increase of bicycles in cities could cause governments to change their position and make it compulsory for everyone to have insurance and, why not, a number plate. In principle, this is not in the interest of any cyclist.

As Erhard Büchel, President of CONEBI, commented: “The Bicycle Industry takes the topic of tampering very seriously and has started several actions to curb this dangerous practice. This self-commitment is only one pillar of our overall strategy. Moreover, market surveillance must be strengthened at national level supported by European legislations. Last but not least, we condemn very strongly the sales of tampering kits which endanger the safety of consumers as the e-bike is not designed for such an increased speed. We therefore call upon the European legislators to clearly forbid the sale, application and use of tampering equipment”

Here you can read the full statement from CONEBI's official website.

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