Illegal to own powerful ebike?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
Swe   100 W

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Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Swe » Oct 27 2016 5:24am

Hi!
I was wondering what the laws says about this. I live in Sweden but can't find any information on this, but I think it is pretty similair in EU. So maybe someone knows the rules in EU for this?

The law (in sweden) says 250W motor effect, 25km/h, must pedal. So say I have 3kW, then it's not a bike anymore. So the question is where you draw the line with an obvious more stronger motor. I guess I can have one home in my garage... but:

1. Can I pedal with it when the power is off? (silent motor, was it on or not in slow speeds...?)
2. If above is not allowed, can I pedal with it if I show it is not working (secret kill switch, battery "broken" and so on).
3. Can I sit still on the bike turned on?
4. Can I sit still on the bike if turned off?
5. Can I walk with the bike by my side in the square/town?

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spinningmagnets   100 GW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by spinningmagnets » Oct 27 2016 5:34am

I think these laws only apply to ebikes that are run on the streets, but I would certainly investigate that, so you don't get into trouble...

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by dogman dan » Oct 27 2016 5:57am

I have no idea what the cops interpretation of it will be, whatever the letter of the law says.

But it might be a lot like the US, with off road vehicles. Legal to ride in the dirt alongside the road, but once you touch the pavement, you have to be off the bike pushing it, and the engine not running. This is to cross a paved road to get to a legal riding area for example, or get to a gas station. Of course nobody actually does this, unless they are looking at a cop.

Swe   100 W

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Swe » Oct 27 2016 6:41am

Not sure what you mean with off road/streets? I will use it just like normal mountain bike, off road and in normal streets. It just more powerfull than allowed like many bikes here on the forum.

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Ykick   100 GW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Ykick » Oct 27 2016 7:06am

USA - off-road means private property.

Any eBike above legal power/speed limits ridden on streets would be considered illegal. Enforcement isn't usually very widespread but it could ruin your day.
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Swe   100 W

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Swe » Oct 27 2016 7:43am

Nelson37 wrote: If you are NOT on the road, OR if you are NOT using it as a vehicle, (not riding it), then you are not subject to the laws regarding road vehicles.
Okay so this means that walking with my bike is ok. (my number 5 question).

But still no one who knows the answers on my first 4 questions?

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Sunder   1 GW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Sunder » Oct 27 2016 8:01am

Swe wrote:
Nelson37 wrote: If you are NOT on the road, OR if you are NOT using it as a vehicle, (not riding it), then you are not subject to the laws regarding road vehicles.
Okay so this means that walking with my bike is ok. (my number 5 question).

But still no one who knows the answers on my first 4 questions?
Depending on the jurisdiction, he might be wrong. In NSW, it is illegal to park an unregistered motorcycle on the road, let alone be pushing it.

Also in NSW, to ride a motorcycle means to be in control of its propulsion and direction, which means that whether you're on motor, pushing it, straddle walking it, or letting it roll down a hill, you're the rider.

So in NSW, the answer to all 5 of your questions will be "No."

Your jurisdiction may vary, so there's no point asking any of us here.
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nutnspecial   1.21 GW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by nutnspecial » Oct 27 2016 8:08am

Re: questions

The laws do not directly address these issues afaik.

I personally would plead similar logic if forced to defend operation within legal speed and weight limits, publically.

But you're likely at the mercy of the police. . . .

Take this example for instance- the author passed a parked police motorcycle on bike path, and doing so crossed over dotted line. . . The same as about 100 other people you'll see in the video that followed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXI7170ahNI

another example of how to piss off a cop, with the shitshow result
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAl2UBSgCZU

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Punx0r » Oct 27 2016 10:21am

IIRC EU law does not allow use of ebikes with an "off-road" switch. So if the bike is capable of being put into use where power is greater than the 250W limit (i.e. by a speed switch, hidden switch, or simply turning it on)

I would argue that riding it on the road would be illegal. If you're pushing it along I'd say you're a pedestrian, same as pushing an ICE motorcycle. Traffic laws don't apply, i.e. you can push on a footpath, wrong way down a one-way street, same as if you walked. A vehicle being pushed isn't the same as a parked one.

If the bike has illegal power and the battery is missing (or the bike is similarly clearly incapable of being powered, i.e. blown controller) and you're pedalling it, I think you can argue it's not functionally an e-bike and/or not capable of being over the power limit.

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by brumbrum » Oct 27 2016 10:29am

In the U.K any motorcycle or car that is even parked on the road side will be illegal without paying 'car tax' otherwise known as 'road fund licence'. So answering number 4, if i was sitting on my 8kw ebike with it switched off in any public area (road or path) it is in theory illegally parked. I suppose in the eyes of the law I may get away with pushing it along whilst walking if it was unable to be started up, but i am pretty sure i would not get pulled by just pushing it even if it could be started up.

But as my bike is technically way over 250w and has not had a safety test, insurance, tax , headlights etc, it is completely illegal.

From what i have heard/seen in my locality with yoing people riding motorbikes without the above mentioned, if caught they can have the motorbike taken from them and it then gets crushed! But often it can just lead to a caution and a ticking off by the police. I suppose it all depends on the circumstances.

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Swe » Oct 27 2016 12:25pm

Okay sounds like if you just take the bike outside the door you are breaking the law, even if powered off.
I hope they don't take my car driving license because then I have to start e-biking even more...

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izeman   100 GW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by izeman » Oct 27 2016 12:37pm

how would you break a law by OWNING a not registered motorcycle, what your over powered ebike basically is???
you can walk it through town, like any other bike/motor cycle.
is it illegal to OWN a bike w/o exhaust pipes? NO. are you allowed to ride it on streets? NO.
same logic goes for high powered ebikes.
it most probably is considered over powered even if you have a switch to turn high power on/off. if power can be enabled on the street in a reasonable time it's considered illegal. if you need to bring it home, connect a pc, reprogram it, than it should be considered safe to use.
laws are different here in EU than they are in USA.

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Racer_X   1 kW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Racer_X » Oct 27 2016 3:20pm

Swe wrote: 1. Can I pedal with it when the power is off? (silent motor, was it on or not in slow speeds...?)
2. If above is not allowed, can I pedal with it if I show it is not working (secret kill switch, battery "broken" and so on).
3. Can I sit still on the bike turned on?
4. Can I sit still on the bike if turned off?
5. Can I walk with the bike by my side in the square/town?
My answer to your questions.
1. Yes, 2. Yes,3. Yes,4. Yes,5. Yes.
Why? I have been riding my high powered ebikes in Stockholm for the last 7 years and have passed many cops both on foot, on bike or on cop cars and have never ever been harassed, checked or ticketed.
My secret?
1. Be courteous
2. Follow the speed limits. For example on Götgatan between Medbörgarplatsen and Slussen speed limit is 8km/h, because of foot traffic.
3. Clown pedal when bike is in motion.
4. Don't go faster than the flow of bicycle traffic. (There is some very fit cyclist here that can hit 40+km/h) So try to stay below, though every once in a while i admit it is fun to pass them.
5. If you use your bike for commuting through the greater Stockholm area in the bike lane (cykelbana) keep the top speed at or below 40km/h max. People get upset and brings bad karma if you are not considerate.
6. Don't go 50+ km/h you are going to draw unwanted attention and one day a cop is going to be behind you and tag you for driving an illegal vehicle, confiscate your bike and give you a hefty fine.

Here is a little video i made. The actual top speed was no more than 40km/h though it seems faster due to the focal length of the lens.
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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Ianhill » Oct 27 2016 4:11pm

The law states in eu once you go over the 350w threshold then it becomes a motorbike so I'm stuffed at 3.7kw and no pedals :(, but if it was to be used anywhere but private property you are breaking the law by riding an unregistered vehicle with no tax, mot or insurance and if its used on a pavement or bike track then i think a charge or reckless driving can be used. When I go out on my electric scooter I use as little road as possible mainly wide off road paths, no footpaths so I stay out of the way most police respect that and leave you alone, main one I get is ramblers amazed that an electric scooter is up the mountain if I lived in a city or less rural it be to risky for me.

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by WoodlandHills » Oct 27 2016 4:21pm

izeman wrote:how would you break a law by OWNING a not registered motorcycle, what your over powered ebike basically is???
you can walk it through town, like any other bike/motor cycle.
is it illegal to OWN a bike w/o exhaust pipes? NO. are you allowed to ride it on streets? NO.
same logic goes for high powered ebikes.
it most probably is considered over powered even if you have a switch to turn high power on/off. if power can be enabled on the street in a reasonable time it's considered illegal. if you need to bring it home, connect a pc, reprogram it, than it should be considered safe to use.
laws are different here in EU than they are in USA.
As long as you are on private property and not on a public highway you are legal. You can own any type of vehicle you want, but if you take it out on public land/streets, even to push it, it had better be in compliance. You are lucky to be able to have your ebike on private property: there is a long history of governments outlawing mechanical devices of many sorts..... Usually the use of these illegal machines is most definitely a crime and even to possess them is usually a criminal act. From underground printing presses to bootleg satellite systems to high capacity rifle magazines, if the government wants to ban it, they can.

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izeman   100 GW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by izeman » Oct 28 2016 1:53am

you seem to have strange cops in the US. if i've done nothing wrong, no need to behave subserviently.
they carry a gun. so what? shoot a biker? for god's sake we're not there yet. not where i live and not in sweden.
most cops know nothing about ebikes. and that's why they won't stop you and argue.
they won't confiscate your bike. why should they?
the only crime you would be accused of here in austria is riding an not registered moped/motorbike. as long as you have a driving license for motorbikes that's it. it could be that they fine you for riding an not-insured motorcylce - but as this is an insurance thing, they don't care a lot. as you're riding electric there is no vehicle engine tax or whatever you call it to be paid.
so most probably they'll give you a harsh warning, and let you go. or tell you to let it check at a state-approved vehicle licensing station. there they will check the bike and see if it's legal or how illegal it is.
that's it.
it's a totally different story if you cause an accident with ppl injured and it's based on the higher speed. if you cross an intersection on red and hit someone at 5km/h it won't matter as you can go 5km/h with a regular bike as well.
there are so many urban legends about that stuff. keep it cool :)

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by brumbrum » Oct 28 2016 2:01am

Now in the UK, as of about two years ago, it is also law that the motor is clearly labelled to its power rating, maybe even other electrical parts, but i think there are still 'grandad rights' which means that if you purchased the bike before this law for brought into place it does not count.
Once upon a time i had a hidden switch wired to a cycle analyst that restricted power to 8amps and 15mph.
Last edited by brumbrum on Oct 28 2016 2:11am, edited 2 times in total.

Swe   100 W

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Swe » Oct 28 2016 2:03am

Racer_X wrote: 1. Yes, 2. Yes,3. Yes,4. Yes,5. Yes.
Yes I know it is no problem if you think about how you ride and have a normal bike rebuild (I have one also). But since I also have a new more obvious e-bike looking bike I just want to know that the law says even if I ride slow when people are around. I mean if see a cop in the town (not very likley though...) can I walk past him on my bike or should I take a detour around him? So I just want to know what the law says, not how it works in practice (In practice you don't even see a cop in the walkline/bikeline/dirtroad outside of Stockholms inner town).

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izeman   100 GW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by izeman » Oct 28 2016 2:22am

again: if you ride slowly, and as long as it is plausible that what you have is a bike, then IT IS A BIKE. and you can ride it as a bike.
i guess laws are similar in sweden: it needs pedals, lights, 2 brakes, a bell and some other things. then it's a bike by looks.
there are no signs and stickers on your bike that say: 5kW, 100km/h SUPER ILLEGAL MOPED. so how would they know it's illegal?
there are those scooter like ebikes that have pedals. those DON'T look like bikes at a first glance, and you may get in trouble with those.
Capture.JPG
Capture.JPG (117.83 KiB) Viewed 1684 times
maybe you post a picture of the bike?

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Racer_X   1 kW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Racer_X » Oct 28 2016 6:03am

Swe wrote: Yes I know it is no problem if you think about how you ride and have a normal bike rebuild (I have one also). But since I also have a new more obvious e-bike looking bike I just want to know that the law says even if I ride slow when people are around. I mean if see a cop in the town (not very likley though...) can I walk past him on my bike or should I take a detour around him? So I just want to know what the law says, not how it works in practice (In practice you don't even see a cop in the walkline/bikeline/dirtroad outside of Stockholms inner town).
I think you should contact Vägverket (Swedish Road Authority) and have them answer your questions. Asking us in Endless Sphere Forum these questions, especially in an international community you won't get the answer you are after. Most don't know Swedish law, culture.
And if you are still not getting the answer you are after try the infamous (only in Sweden) forum https://www.flashback.org/ They would love to take a crack at your legality dilema.
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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by pomah » Oct 28 2016 8:48am

I dont understand the complexity in this question, everything is available and you do answer your own question:

In this folder you have all the information you need to know:

http://www.snofed.se/media/88358_moped_ ... lcykel.pdf

And to jump to the point:

Elcykel
En elcykel räknas som en cykel om den är konstruerad på följande sätt.
Elmotorn kopplas in när trycket på tramporna ökar, t. ex. för att underlätta
trampningen i uppförsbackar och i stark motvind. Motorn får endast
förstärka kraften från tramporna och får inte ge något krafttillskott
vid hastigheter över 25 km/tim. Motorns nettoeffekt får inte överstiga
250 watt.

There you go, so if it is off, then it is off. If it is on, then it needs to only assist you up to 25 km/h and no more, and only assist when you peddle. Engine nominal power can not be higher then 250. So in your case, if you get e.g. an adaptto controller you can make an on-road mode, with assit up to 25km/h and an offroad mode where it can be no limit.

Just a word of advice if you start flying down the woods in Sweden at high speeds and scare "pedestrians" and their dogs, it wont be long before they will ban that too. E.g. you are not allowed to drive your motocross in the woods so an ebike with similar power and possibility to destroy the land will not be tolerated for long...

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by docw009 » Oct 28 2016 9:08am

Swe wrote: Here is a little video i made. The actual top speed was no more than 40km/h though it seems faster due to the focal length of the lens.
Stockholm looks like a beautiful place with lots of polite bike commuters and streets with no cars allowed. Was that your buddy with the blue backpack? He looked like he's on a throttle only bike?

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Ykick » Oct 28 2016 9:29am

Thanks for sharing your ride video, what an awesome city! I especially liked the guy @ 3m who looked back, saw you were probably electric, and then waved you on ahead of him. Nice cooperation!

And kudos riding with the flow and not crowding most of the pedal riders during that very congested span around 4m. But there’s sections you seem to pass a LOT of people and sooner or later someone will probably notice and wonder, is that legal? I do it here in NYC too but I always grant right of way to slower bikes/pedestrians. I can start moving again easy enough.

@ 8m I really dig the handlebar mitts! Are those common in your area?
Racer_X wrote:Here is a little video i made. The actual top speed was no more than 40km/h though it seems faster due to the focal length of the lens.
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Racer_X   1 kW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Racer_X » Oct 28 2016 9:35am

docw009 wrote: Stockholm looks like a beautiful place with lots of polite bike commuters and streets with no cars allowed. Was that your buddy with the blue backpack? He looked like he's on a throttle only bike?
Thanks docw009, Stockholm is a beautiful and bike friendly European Nordic city, cold winters but otherwise awesome. They are even removing car lanes in the city to make more room for bikes.
No that was not my buddy just a fellow commuter I just met using a moped. Mopeds are allowed on the bike lane if they stay around 25km/h. He dropped his glove at the beginning of the video and that was why i was trying to catch up to him and let him know his glove was about a kilometer behind.
Cannondale F8 MTB, 9c 9x7, Regen,ThreeSpeed Cruise. with torque plates. 12s3p or 18s2p depending on mood.Maxxis Holy Roller in the summer and Schwalbe Ice Spiker in winter.
Backup bike Schwinn Heavy Duti Beach Cruiser, 9c 9x7 front Regen,ThreeSpeed Cruise. with clamping dropouts, Maxxis Holy Roller in the summer and Schwalbe Ice Spiker in winter.

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Racer_X   1 kW

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Re: Illegal to own powerful ebike?

Post by Racer_X » Oct 28 2016 9:50am

Ykick wrote:Thanks for sharing your ride video, what an awesome city! I especially liked the guy @ 3m who looked back, saw you were probably electric, and then waved you on ahead of him. Nice cooperation!
Thanks Ykick, Yes most cyclist are cordial, especially when it is a warm spring day.
Ykick wrote:And kudos riding with the flow and not crowding most of the pedal riders during that very congested span around 4m. But there’s sections you seem to pass a LOT of people and sooner or later someone will probably notice and wonder, is that legal? I do it here in NYC too but I always grant right of way to slower bikes/pedestrians. I can start moving again easy enough.
Yes i agree, i should control my ego urge to zoom past crowds of cyclist. Getting better at it with every year that passes.
Ykick wrote:@ 8m I really dig the handlebar mitts! Are those common in your area?
You know there are not many that use them, because it is not commonly offered at bike stores. Riding an ebike in -20 celciuis can give you frost bite even with gloves. I researched and found the concept of Pogies Bar Mitts. Found them on ebay from china. They are awesome for keeping my hands warm, best thing i have found so far.
Cannondale F8 MTB, 9c 9x7, Regen,ThreeSpeed Cruise. with torque plates. 12s3p or 18s2p depending on mood.Maxxis Holy Roller in the summer and Schwalbe Ice Spiker in winter.
Backup bike Schwinn Heavy Duti Beach Cruiser, 9c 9x7 front Regen,ThreeSpeed Cruise. with clamping dropouts, Maxxis Holy Roller in the summer and Schwalbe Ice Spiker in winter.

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