Home » Dutch Police Provide Free E-Bike Dyno Runs To Bust People With Too Many Watts

Dutch Police Provide Free E-Bike Dyno Runs To Bust People With Too Many Watts

Danish E Bike Dyno Ts1
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Electric bicycles are becoming more popular around the world and throughout the cycling community. One place that they’re under strict watch is in the notoriously bike-friendly nation of The Netherlands. Police are keeping tabs on just how fast and powerful some e-bikes are with a portable chassis dyno. It might be the only time in history that someone wants a dyno to read far lower than it should.

E-bikes in The Netherlands are subject to very strict laws regarding their power and performance. For one thing, they’re not allowed to make more than 250 watts of power which, itself, is more than the average person can put out for an hour on a normal bicycle. In addition, they can’t provide pedal assist above 25 km/h (15.53 mph). If an e-bike exceeds either threshold it’s considered illegal on public roads.

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Despite those limits, reports from the area say that many are modifying their e-bikes so that they’re capable of extra-legal feats. Esther van Garderen, director of the Fietsersbond (Cyclists Union) told the Guardian

“The problem is not normal e-bikes, but ever more souped-up bikes that are basically illegal mopeds,” she said. “In the Netherlands, since January, moped users must wear a helmet and young people don’t like this. They also need to be 16 and have a driving licence, but illegal ‘fat’ bikes are just sold, youngsters under 16 use them on the roads going at 40kph, without a helmet. This isn’t allowed, but there is no enforcement.”

That’s why the Dutch police are now equipped with 247 new portable chassis dynos nationwide. It’s one thing to see an e-bike traveling quickly and another thing to know that, for a fact, it’s too powerful. Evidently, they’ve already been doing this sort of thing for at least 15 years but these new units are new and improved.

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They’ve arrived in response to a startling statistic. The year 2022 saw an all-time high in the number of fatal bicycle accidents in the nation. Police say that the figure actually climbs in step with the rise of e-bike usage so they’re cracking down. One report from when e-bikes first became legal in Dutch bike lanes (2018) might shed some light on that statistic too. The writer had personal experience riding in the country and his account bears consideration. 


From my experience on comfortable and quiet e-bikes, one thing is for certain: others will misjudge you. Many, many times cars have moved out in front of me, bikers have swiveled unpredictably in front of me, and pedestrians stepped out in front of me because they misinterpret my speed by a factor of 2. And this is just on a normal Pedelec. Stepping up from 15 to 28 mph makes it much harder to judge the speed. On top of that, these bikes are heavier too. They can do serious damage at these speeds.”

Those found in violation of the laws surrounding e-bikes face at the very least a warning but could end up with a fine of € 290 ($312 USD) on the very first violation. A second violation would receive the same fine but those who get caught three times could face the loss of their e-bike.

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On Wednesday, February 7th, police fined five individuals over the course of about two hours. According to the NLTimes, a spokesperson said that people were shocked by the fee. Color me ignorant of foreign traffic tickets but it does seem a bit strange to hit someone with a ticket that costs more than some speeding tickets here in the USA.

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At the same time, cycling is generally more regulated in Holland. For example, they have laws about riding a bike and using a mobile phone. E-bike and e-scooter users can’t be under the influence either. Considering that these police are fining those who have electric bikes, does that make them the ultimate buzz-kill?

Photo: Dutch Police

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Ppnw
Ppnw
5 months ago

The double standard of trusting drivers with 5000lb EVs (or 155mph autobahn cruisers) but cracking down on e-bikes being a little too powerful is hilarious.

Design your streets for the behavior you want, police it with automated enforcement.

Mat M. O’Dowd
Mat M. O’Dowd
5 months ago
Reply to  Ppnw

The Netherlands isn’t Germany, Dutch refers to the citizens of the Netherlands in English, While Deutsch refers to German citizens in German. In the article they talk about the Dutch police, police from the Netherlands.

Autobahns are in Germany not The Netherlands. Germany is more of a car country when The Netherlands is more of a bike country.

Streets in The Netherlands are heavily bike designed, as you suggest, in fact they are bicycle first, car second most of the time. No double standards going on there.

Ppnw
Ppnw
5 months ago

Yes I know – the same “Autobahn cruisers” are sold in the Netherlands without power limits.

The double standard is you’re allowed buy an extremely heavy or fast car and only see enforcement of the behavior (speeding), whereas they limit bikes at the source.

A non double standard would have cars be power limited (and dyno tested) as well.

Mat M. O’Dowd
Mat M. O’Dowd
4 months ago
Reply to  Ppnw

Ok, i understand your point of view.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
5 months ago

It would be remarkably easy to program a chassis dyno test defeat into the motor controller – when front wheel speed = 0 and rear wheel speed /=0, limit motor output to 200 watts and rear wheel speed to 20 km/hr.
Think I could make some money on the Dutch E-bike Dark Web selling my software?

Michael Wierzbicki
Michael Wierzbicki
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Did VW write this message?

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
5 months ago

The VW version would be ‘if handlebars aren’t moving…’

Parsko
Parsko
5 months ago

While Holland does somewhat assume the Netherlands, it’s the Netherlands, not Holland. That is a province/state within the Netherlands.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
5 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

Does this affect my ability to get Hollandaise sauce throughout the Netherlands?

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
5 months ago

Schplendid! 🙂
We could some of those here in Copenhagen, DK.

Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
5 months ago

I’m avid cyclist, I mostly commute by bike (motorcycle or MTB) and do quite lot of trail riding. And I think the top speed itself is not that big deal, it’s that they accelerate to that speed quite fast and things like crossroads are always passed on full beans. In my neck of woods there’s excellent bike infra, but still passing roads are needed. Add only black/dark clothes, no lights or reflectors and darkeness and it’s wonder that we haven’t had more mayhem.

@Redcarpet
@Redcarpet
5 months ago

Article tags: bicycles, DENMARK……. Hahahaha! You funny ????

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
5 months ago

This is going to be an issue, mark my words.

I was sent a cheap e-mtb to review, and it’s not a great bike, it’s $750 or so, and has a 750 watt motor. After 2 minutes of googling, I unlocked the top speed of not 20mph, but 26.5mph… which is not really all that fast, on a street. But I don’t use it on the street all the time. I can also use it on a bike path.

Can you go over 26mph on a bike path? Sure, typically down a long ass hill… but with this power, you can do that… like… anywhere. And these things are completely silent, unregulated, and people are modifying them with more batteries to go even faster.

I was on a modified ebike group on FB, and people are adding extra batteries, dual motors (front/rear) and people are getting like 40-50mph out of these things, again, with zero regulation, and they are using them on bike paths that are shared with joggers, women pushing strollers, dogs, etc.

This is a recipe for disaster, and it’s only a matter of time before there’s a super gnar accident with a hopped up one that will get national attention.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
5 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

I used to live in Littleton Colorado where there’s an excellent path that runs along the Platte River. It’s a shared path for walkers and riders of all types. Can’t tell you how many times I was nearly sideswiped while walking with my dogs – I was careful to keep to the right – by cyclists out to beat their personal best.
“Get out of the way” as if I was walking on a Velodrome instead of their riding on a shared path.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
5 months ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

I have no problem with that, they are training and athletes with good athletics, etc.

The problem is now overweight boomers can go FASTER THAN THEM about 99% of the time…. the situation is going to get way worse.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
5 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

They aren’t “training” they’re riding excessively fast on a multi use path.

Mike Dris
Mike Dris
5 months ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

Agreed. People training want as few slow moving obstacles as possible. When I lived in Southern California I would often see them on long, deserted back roads or climbing long hills.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
5 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

My local municipality has started cracking down on e-bikes on trails for this reason. My city has lots of open spaces for hiking/biking, and up until late last year you could ride Class 1 e-bikes on the trails. Then people started modifying them, or buying Class 2 & 3 bikes with switches on them to reduce them to Class 1 to stay legal and then simply not ever using the Class 1 switch, and the trails started getting destroyed very quickly and safety incident rates kept climbing. The parks department tried all kinds of campaigns and signage to remind people, but no one seemed to care. After a fairly public situation where a jogger got hit by an e-bike going (an estimated) 35-40mph on a trail, and both jogger and rider ended up in bad shape in the hospital, new rules came down that banned e-bikes in pretty much every city park and open space.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
5 months ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

Good luck enforcing those rules, though.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
5 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

I’m not sure if that comment was meant with snark or with disappointment, but there definitely needs to be some rules in place, as it has become fairly obvious that most people these days are unwilling to self-regulate their behavior. Even if the laws are largely symbolic due to difficulty of enforcement, they still need to be established to note that trashing public-use property for, and being a safety risk to, others on the trails is unacceptable.

As for enforcement, I’ve seen the police park in parking lots at trail heads and issue citations to people coming off the trail with e-bikes. I’m sure people will argue they weren’t using the e-bike functions, but as I understand it, if the bike has a battery installed, the fine is valid.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
4 months ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

I’ve heard of enough pressure to reverse those bans, because so many people want to ride ebikes. No snark, just saying I can’t see cops ever enforcing this. They don’t even enforce turn signal usage or left lane hogging, I doubt they’ll care about ebikes. Who knows.

Ben
Ben
5 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

I’ve said this before, but my immediate response to most e-bike advocates is “I, too, enjoy motorcycles. That doesn’t mean I think they belong on bike paths.”

Obviously that’s not the case for every e-bike. There are plenty of older people riding them because they can’t ride a traditional bike anymore, and there are people using them to basically self-shuttle up MTB trails (and as a regular visitor to the local lift-service bike park I can hardly throw stones at that), but the people saying e-bikes should replace cars are almost universally the ones that want to treat them as a motorcycle that can use bike paths, and I do have a problem with that.

BobWellington
BobWellington
5 months ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

We already have a much worse issue that politicians don’t want to do anything about called cars and ~40k people are killed in the U.S. every year because of it.

Aardvark775
Aardvark775
5 months ago

Do they take into account the combined weight of the rider, bike and cargo? How fast you can go with a given power output greatly depends on weight, plus whether you are on a hill or not, tire rolling resistance, and wind strength/direction.

I can exceed the 250W limit for at least a hour continuously without an e-bike as can most moderately fit cyclists who are similar in weight/height. But riders who are significantly lighter than me can beat me easily in a race with less than 200W average output. Riding a road bike vs. a mountain bike makes a big difference in speed too, with power output being equal.

Seems like they should just give speeding tickets if people behave unsafely on any kind of vehicle. The dyno and watt limit seems silly.

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
5 months ago
Reply to  Aardvark775

Agreed on this. Wattage is a silly distinction. Also, how many watts were those Tour de France cheater motors?

InvivnI
InvivnI
5 months ago
Reply to  Aardvark775

I think you’re confusing racing with general commuting. These bikes, when illegally modified, make it easy to get rapidly up to race speeds in situations where it’s dangerous to do so. Speeds that the average bike rider isn’t equipped to handle, nor the heavily trafficked bike lane infrastructure in congested cities like Amsterdam. Short of enforcing a licence system for bike riders (which would have enormous overhead) I think a wattage limit is very sensible.

Brau Beaton
Brau Beaton
5 months ago
Reply to  Aardvark775

Sadly, no they don’t. Some dimwit told politicians that wattage was akin to horsepower, then they all decided on an entirely arbitrary number. A 250W motor can propel a person to 80kph in the right conditions, but this dumb limitation has been copied into laws all over the world out of sheer ignorance and fear. The reality means having a ebike/scooter capable of scaling a steep incline is impossible, and a huge problem for people with disabilities as all it does is limit torque.

Limit speed and weight? Preposterous!

AMGx2
AMGx2
5 months ago
Reply to  Brau Beaton

Uhm you can have a 250 watt motor which can climb all kind of elevation, it depends on the gearing. If you want that same motor also to go 20 mph without gearing then yeah no that is not possible.

FYI wattage IS ‘akin’ to horsepower. 1 kW = 1.341 horsepower to be exact.

So a 250 Watt motor does 0.33 horsies.

IDM3
IDM3
5 months ago

“Color me ignorant of foreign traffic tickets but it does seem a bit strange to hit someone with a ticket that costs more than some speeding tickets here in the USA.”

Wait until the power-mad traffic cops in Alabama hear about this. They will be passing out tickets faster than a card dealer in a poker game.

Seriously, the officers here savor every opportunity to give you a ticket. This will definitely make their day.

Bassracerx
Bassracerx
5 months ago

just copy VW and have speed sensors on the front wheels and if the front wheels are not spinning you limit power. Presto.

Nic Wechter
Nic Wechter
5 months ago
Reply to  Bassracerx

haha exactly, or some kind of valet mode you can activate via a hidden switch etc

Last edited 5 months ago by Nic Wechter
Speedway Sammy
Speedway Sammy
5 months ago

This is a great example of how Eurocrats operate. They love bureaucracy and complex regulation.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
5 months ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

How is < 250W “bureaucracy and complex regulation”?

Toecutter
Toecutter
5 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

It requires complex enforcement mechanisms, such as making sure a custom portable dyno is available for law enforcement to check anyone accused of having an “illegal” vehicle, and complex paperwork written in legalese for the accused to navigate through in a court system.

The 15 mph limit really ruins the effectiveness of these machines, as does the 250W limit. 250W is enough power for my Milan SL to reach about 40 mph on the flat, but on the steepest hills it would only increase my climbing speed by 50% at best(a situation where aerodynamic drag reduction is almost meaningless), and sometimes that unassisted climbing speed on these sorts of hills is about 4 mph(So an extra 250W might get me up to 6 mph on the same hill). And the electric drive system plus battery adds mass, and in the case of a PMDC hub motor, cogging torque losses, both slowing the rider down in the event that they have the athletic ability to sustain over 15 mph if the bike had no motor, while also adding weight on even slight hills that will still greatly negatively effect uphill climbing speed over 15 mph.

It effectively makes ebikes a less viable means of transportation than they otherwise could be.

The class-3 designation in the USA isn’t as restrictive, but still has its issues. 28 mph assist cutoff and 750W maximum when human power is applied is the definition. Here’s its implications were I to abide by it were the law demands.

750W in the Milan should let me climb most 5% gradient hills at no less than 28 mph with my legs contributing heavily, for comparison, and not for long, even that’s not enough for some of the steepest hills where gradients can go as high as 20%. And oft times, the auto traffic wants to do 40 mph and there’s no sidewalk! Having more power really makes the vehicle more usable in traffic on hilly stroads. And stroads are a massive safety hazard for all cyclists and pedestrians, not to mention motorists. Which gets me to the point of the vehicle. I need to be able to match flow of traffic speeds on stroads, or the stroads act as physical barriers to where I can go. I don’t want to get run over by people keeping their eyes on their phones after all.

The Netherlands is such a small country, that an unregulated ebike/s-pedelec culture could allow this method to take over as a form of transit. It’s a threat to many cash cows. You could traverse the entire country by ebike in 2 hours without any speed restrictions in place, just as you could in a car, but for much cheaper. That is the sort of set of initial conditions that could allow the current wasteful car paradigm to be upended. That set of conditions probably wouldn’t ever happen in the USA and if it did it would differ greatly from those of the Netherlands, at least not without a massive collapse in world trade as well as a massive reduction of resource availability for automobile use/production in the USA, and even then, ebikes might be a pipe dream at that point(probably tires would too, making all vehicles, even human powered ones, moot). Components of the dystopia depicted in the film Americathon have already come true in the real world, so a few more coming true would not really be a surprise to me.

Last edited 5 months ago by Toecutter
Jj
Jj
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

In Amsterdam bikes are by far the transportation of choice. All the infrastructure is set up to favor bicycle traffic.

I don’t think this regulation is any kind of government plot to keep e-bikes down, but rather to allow them to safely use the cycling infrastructure that is full of non e-bikes. I think it’s a legitimate safety issue.

If they wanted to kill these bikes, they could just ban them outright.

Gustavo Carvalho
Gustavo Carvalho
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

As someone who actually lives in the Netherlands, I think you’re way off the mark, here.

Keep in mind, there are no restrictions on power for e-bycicles, as long as they stick to the roads and wear a helmet. Which, for your example of crossing the country side to side, makes wayyy more sense. Cycle paths here are extremely crowded, and are the main way people use to get around. Less thean 50% of Amsterdamers even own a car. The restrictions are for cycle paths, and plenty of people ride unlimited e-bycicles on the street .

Most cyclists here are in favour of this, including the ones who do own an e-bycicles. These overpowered bikes are statistically dangerous in cycle paths, and there is direct correlation on people using bikes *less* in areas where there are a lot of these fatbikes around. Scooters used to cause more than 50% of cyclist accidents resulting in hospital visits, but lately that number is being shifted to heavy e-bycicles.

Bycicle culture here is all-pervasive, and it’s hard to understand until you’ve been here for a while, but the sheer scale of people on bycicles introduces problems of scale unseen anywhere else.

Jason
Jason
5 months ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

I live in Atlanta, we have similar laws. No portable dynos though.

Bram Oude Elberink
Bram Oude Elberink
5 months ago

This is very specific and very logical for the Netherlands, but probably completely out of place in other countries.

We have many, many bikes on the road, more than cars. So, we need to regulate.We cycle on narrow bikelanes, where everybody from 5 year old to 90 years old cycles. With E-bikes the difference in speed has become much higher, resulting in more accidents.The problem is not so much the adults on E-bikes, it is the teenagers (10 to 18 yrs old) with the (illegal) modified E-bikes, mostly the shown fatbikes. They drive too fast, you don’t need to bike at all anymore. It is like riding a motorcycle, so you can imagine the problems if kids without proper licenses are riding the bikes.The illegal fatbikes cause another problem; we have local teenagergangs riding on fatbikes who terrorize the neighbourhoods. They rob other teenagers or elderly people. Because of the fast bikes they are very nimble and almost impossible to catch by the police. In my town the police is learning; you don’t get a ticket if your fatbike is illegal, instead the police takes your bike.

Last edited 5 months ago by Bram Oude Elberink
Gene1969
Gene1969
5 months ago

I love this! It’s good to know there is new work for all the engineers that got fired for their antics in dieselgate. 🙂

Last edited 5 months ago by Gene1969
Sbzr
Sbzr
5 months ago

inside the city I’m totally fine with the strict enforcement, we need to keep cycling easy for everyone, that includes elders and children that would not be able to have the same pacing as everyone else, the last thing we need is to end up with the same machismo culture when driving in urban spaces

What me?
What me?
5 months ago

“from when e-bikes first became legal in Dutch bike lanes (2018)”
e-bikes (<25 kph) were legal for ages, speed pedelecs not (<45 kph). In city areas pedelecs go on the road (as the car speed is similar at 50 kph), not on the bike lanes.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
5 months ago

First off, 15mph is a really low limit. Who thinks that anything above 15 is too fast to be riding a bicycle? Without electric assist, it’s rather easy to sustain speeds above 15mph depending on the bike.

And…… Who cares how much horsepower it has? Enforce speed limiters if that’s what you’re worried about, but who cares if a bike can accelerate quickly?

What me?
What me?
5 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

15 mph is what you ride in the city. Yeah in the countryside you can go a lot faster on a racing bike, but doing over 20 mph in the narrow winding streets is just not smart.
And these fatbikes (or the people riding them) should be banned. This is mustangs at car and coffee territory mindset.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
5 months ago
Reply to  What me?

I don’t know how the streets are where you live, but where I live, I go over 20mph literally everywhere I go. Car, motorcycle, moped, bicycle, always over 20mph. It is never ever excessive speed on the kinds of roads in my area.

Not sure why you think the width of the tires on a bicycle has anything whatsoever to do with its safety or whether it should be legal.

A. Ocolotl
A. Ocolotl
5 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

This is a prime example of cultural divide. You two are like strangers in the night or something.

Hello. Rust Buckets, meet What me? who lives, I wager, in an old European city. Many streets are so narrow that a modern pickup truck could not fit. More people get around using bicycles, mopeds, and other tiny vehicles.

Hello! What me? meet Rust Buckets. He lives in North America. Most cities were built only the last 150 years or so, and feature wide roads built specifically for internal combustion vehicles.

You both have different needs for vehicles, based on the demands of how the cities were built. You also have different terms for things.

We’re all here, united for our love of cars. Because cars are fun! But cars (and by extension, all wheeled vehicles) should be safe–for the drivers, and the people that might get hit by the drivers. Because our cities are different, the regulations we need to keep our naughty outliers in check are going to be different.

Pleased to meet both of you. Beer? I’m not driving.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
5 months ago
Reply to  A. Ocolotl

Yeah, you get it. I actually live in a town about 150 years old, making it one of the oldest towns in Idaho.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
5 months ago
Reply to  A. Ocolotl

This! So much!

Chad Geidel
Chad Geidel
5 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

There is speed limit here in Denver on all bike paths of 15 mph. I can easily ride faster than that on my “analog bike.” Frankly in a lot of places that is already too fast. “Bike paths” are used by people walking, running, riding, enjoying the outdoors, kids playing, etc. Given what I know about these kinds of paths in the Netherlands and elsewhere, they are also mixed use.

Most paths that bikes go on have a huge range of uses – they aren’t the highway. It’s perfectly reasonable to set the limit at 15 mph. A collision at that speed is dangerous and people aren’t attentive for fast riders (nor should they be!)

FYI – Some bikes do have limiters in them.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
5 months ago
Reply to  Chad Geidel

You can ride a bike places other than bike paths lol, I haven’t taken my bike in a bike path on a long time. I do actually ride my bike on the highway, and a 15mph limited would be very detrimental.

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

The dumb thing about using power as a limitation over speed is that the rating varies by the voltage of the battery pack, which varies by charge state and the nominal rating is at a lower voltage than the pack at full charge, so someone could be nominally legal, but fail with a fully charged pack. IDK if there’s an allowance for that in the law, but I certainly wouldn’t trust the people we have writing laws in the US or our cops to understand such a thing. Another dumb aspect of it is that it limits the usefulness of the very efficient e-bike to perform work as speed isn’t the only reason someone might want more than 250 meager watts, especially in places like the Netherlands where cargo bicycles aren’t uncommon. OK, they probably won’t be looked at by police, but any motor rated at over 250W is still going to technically be illegal and 250W is not a lot if someone has a loaded cargo bike. In the US, the limit is 750W (though it can vary), but the enforcement (not that there is much of any) relies on speed limits, which is 20 mph on motor alone, 28 (IIRC) on pedal and motor unless that speed is greater than the posted speed limit, which I think is pretty reasonable and, as What me states, probably too fast in crowded urban environments, especially when jerkoffs use these things on bike trails and sidewalks and the like (at least in the US), but people are going to people.

Jj
Jj
5 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

People have been pedaling those same cargo bikes through the streets for a very long time without any power assist at all. I’d be pretty happy with any pedal assist at all.

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 months ago
Reply to  Jj

So am I (though I do have a half-built e-bike mostly just to do it), but I can’t argue with the much greater numbers of riders there are since e-bikes have become popular in the US. Surely there must be people in the Netherlands for whom having a cargo bike of sufficient power assist would make them a more viable choice.

Jj
Jj
5 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

I haven’t explored the nation, but I think at least Amsterdam is relatively flat except for bridges over the canals.

Personally, I’d like the power assist. I think people there have made the majority of their commutes by bicycle their entire lives. School, work, shopping – all bicycle trips every time.

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 months ago
Reply to  Jj

I would love to live somewhere that riding distances and for purpose other than the sake of riding was a more normalized, less dangerous undertaking. Taking bad drivers and poor infrastructure out of the equation, e-assist definitely makes it a lot easier to deal with hot days so one can get somewhere without being as sweaty or to move loaded bikes up hills or to go long distances regularly, especially for people who might not be fit or have some physical issues. My uncle who’s 80 with some health issues, got an e-bike recently and loves it as it gets him out and he can actually use the bike instead of maybe getting to the end of the block and being tired.

Jj
Jj
5 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

That’s why they don’t want to outlaw ebikes entirely. The allow older riders to confidently travel much longer distances while using existing cycle infrastructure.

I remember reading that there was also a problem with older cyclists crashing ebikes when they first get them. They’re used to traveling at a certain speed for a given amount of pedal effort. With electric assist they’re suddenly covering a lot more ground for the same effort and often have an accident before they’re able to adjust.

I agree with you on the travel. I have a 6 mile commute to work, and could easily cover that distance on a bike. Unfortunately that would require me either taking one route on a back road with a very narrow up-hill blind ‘s’ curve, where I would eventually become a hood ornament for an Audi SUV. The other route would require me to travel on a 50mph speed limit highway for a couple of miles. Neither of those options appeal to me.

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 months ago
Reply to  Jj

Yeah, I live in what should be a great cycling spot with winding roads around woods and ponds leading to a long and nice rail trail about 7 miles away, but with no shoulder or even a sidewalk and people speeding without paying attention around blind curves, I put my bike on the car to drive it somewhere else to ride. Just driving these roads, I’ve seen two people on group rides who got hit and they’re a lot more visible than me on my own. Nothing too serious for the ones who were hit, at least, but still ending the ride on an ambulance (not that the bikes were rideable, anyway).

Keon R
Keon R
5 months ago

What’s it with Europeans and their love for rules? I hope I never see this attitude make its way to Canada.

A. Ocolotl
A. Ocolotl
5 months ago
Reply to  Keon R

Anybody who thinks they’re above the law deserves laws. Laws aren’t really for the law-abiding.

The vapidity of that aside, I’m just saying if we keep on minding our neghbours, keep the late-night engine revving to a minimum, and maybe avoid running people over with 80 km/hr electric bikes, we’ll be fine.

I paid off my university debt working for the Ministry of Justice. I can tell you a lot of the regulations there got drafted as a reaction to events, not as a precaution.

Last edited 5 months ago by A. Ocolotl
Cayde-6
Cayde-6
5 months ago
Reply to  Keon R

Trying to keep people safe, it’s a really novel concept!

Jason
Jason
5 months ago
Reply to  Keon R

Plenty of American cities have similar laws that forbid e-bikes in bike lanes once they are over a certain power or provide assistance over a certain speed.

IDM3
IDM3
5 months ago
Reply to  Keon R

You may need to check the rules in Quebec.

Toecutter
Toecutter
5 months ago

What a waste of money. The control freaks are THAT adamant about there being no viable rapid individual transport alternative to overpriced two-ton plus road hippos with barn door aerodynamics. Instead, they’ve got to make sure that people using vehicles that have less than 1/10th the kinetic energy at speed aren’t a “safety hazard” to the public, while making sure it’s easier than ever to operate a two-ton road hippo…

…after all, the road hippo driver is spending more money and paying more taxes.

There shouldn’t be any ebike restrictions, IMO. 15 mph and 250W assures an electric drive system is useless.

I have an unmotorized Milan SL velomobile where just pedaling it, I can hold 30 mph with ease on flat ground and sprint to 50 mph. I have parts on the way to install a 2 kW electric drive system in it that might allow 80 mph…

My custom velomobile build will soon be a 20+ kW AWD monster capable of accelerating like a Hellcat and reaching about 100 mph. At top speed, it will have less potential for harm/destruction than a 9,000 lb Hummer EV travelling at 20 mph. Yet the latter is legal in all 50 US states… and I have to be selective where/how I operate my vehicle that is really a threat to no one in any car/truck/SUV…

Elons Backdoor Musk
Elons Backdoor Musk
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I mean, if they’re above a certain amount of power, wouldn’t it make sense to have registration and insurance?

Toecutter
Toecutter
5 months ago

If I’m forced by government to buy this insurance, can I get an exemption from having to pay for the profit margins that fund some boardroom execs’ and insurance company lobbyists’ lavish lifestyles that I will never have by doing honest work?

If not, I think insurance shouldn’t be required. I shouldn’t be forced to pay more than is necessary for transportation, and I don’t want government stepping in and making it artificially more expensive than it would naturally be so that there can be yet more already wealthy hands taking money out of my wallet that they didn’t work for, using “safety” as the excuse.

Last edited 5 months ago by Toecutter
Elons Backdoor Musk
Elons Backdoor Musk
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Insurance is required for many things in life. Why should you be any different? No one else gets a refund.

Toecutter
Toecutter
5 months ago

I’m not saying I should be any different. I’m saying EVERYONE shouldn’t have to pay for profit-extracting parasites. I’m saying get rid of the parasites. More insurance requirements only further enable them.

Every dollar of profit margin the insurance companies make off of us is a dollar that didn’t go to funding claims paid out. It’s a dollar someone had to labor for with their limited time on this Earth. It’s a dollar some already rich investor or owner took in that they didn’t work for, and instead used the government to forcibly extract it from mostly less-well-off people who had to work for it.

If it’s going to be required, why should it be used to fund lavish lifestyles and financial empires of people who are milking it for all it is worth? Health insurance is arguably even more egregious regarding this than vehicle insurance. Now required in the U.S., but most of the cost doesn’t even go to paying for the healthcare when it is needed, but is instead feeding a complex chain of parasites in on the take.

Eventually, the host dies.

Elons Backdoor Musk
Elons Backdoor Musk
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I don’t think we’re in the realm of talking about the automotive landscape anymore…

Have a good one

Toecutter
Toecutter
5 months ago

My electric velomobile is saving me $150+/mo in insurance vs a clunker car. Ebikes are the same for many people who can’t afford cars. Part of the reason these things are affordable as car replacements is because the parasites are not taking money out of their wallet via the insurance industry.

Increased Ebike use is a reaction to the decreasing real wages people are experiencing, coupled with the increasingly expensive to purchase/operate cars that are pricing them out of car ownership.

At least in the U.S., most states allow 28 mph and 750W. That is actually still usable in the real world…

MrLM002
MrLM002
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I agree, mandatory insurance is a scam because the people who provide it can charge whatever they want because the Government is forcing you to get it, and doing so at no cost to the insurance companies.

Meanwhile those same insurance companies that provide your mandatory insurance do not have to provide you with insurance, and even if they insure you whether or not they pay out is up to them. Over a certain amount of money it’s cheaper for them to pay the lawyers they have on retainer to fight any lawsuit you file for them not paying out when you were covered, and most likely they’ll get you to settle for less money or drive you to bankruptcy.

They’ll gladly total your pristine car for a minor fender-bender if you make a claim (ask Torch about his Pao). Mandatory insurance is definitely a scam, and a lot of non-mandatory insurance is a scam as well sadly.

I’m lucky enough to be somewhere where I can commute via walking & public transit as well as rideshare, but even here it’s far from optimal. Bikes can’t ride on the sidewalks, and we have no dedicated bike lanes, they’re all rendered mostly useless by street parked cars, and even if we could legally ride bikes, ebikes, etc. on the sidewalks the sidewalk pavers are so out of alignment from tree roots and such that some of them have 6″ lips.

I value “ensurance” a lot more than insurance.

For example if I lived in a place where it’s likely to flood I’d make sure my house was on stilts and that it doesn’t have a basement.

I’d much rather ensure I’m protected from X thing than insure in an attempt to cover the damage done by X thing.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
5 months ago

You never were talking about automotive anything. You asked Toecutter about insurance and registration and you two have been discussing the necessity of insurance ever since. Kinda entertaining to spectate

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Well you COULD become an insurance lobbyist. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em and all that.

Toecutter
Toecutter
5 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

That would just make me part of the problem.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Yeah but you’ll be inside the system. Bring corrosives.

Jj
Jj
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Have you considered developing a submersible? It seems like regulation is lax for those.

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 months ago

The limit of 250W is pretty low, especially if one were to operate a loaded cargo bike and/or lives around a lot of hills. Raising the cost and annoyance to operate will only reduce the use of e-bikes, everyone of which is far more efficient and clean than the alternative of a car. This is sort of already covered in the US under the differences between what defines an e-bike, moped, and motorcycle and what is required (moped: registration, motorcycle: registration and insurance), though it could probably use some clarity to reflect how things have changed a bit (not that it’s severely enforced).

Jj
Jj
5 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

This case isn’t really relevant in the US, because there is no cycling infrastructure here. Cyclists are expected to behave as motor vehicles already when sharing roadways. Some cities may have a painted line that indicates a cycle ‘lane,’ but you’re almost always just riding with motor vehicle traffic on the street with no physical protection or separation.

Cycles on US roadways are mostly only dangerous to the rider.

Toecutter
Toecutter
5 months ago
Reply to  Jj

The lack of cycling infrastructure in the U.S. is why I built my vehicle like a car. Because I have to use car infrastructure to get anywhere. States that restrict me to a class 3 ebike actually make using the roads more dangerous because the speed differential between me and the automobile traffic is massive.

In states where class 3 ebikes aren’t defined and my vehicle meets no motor vehicle definitions, I am most at ease riding it. Even though it’s a total death trap, flying down a state highway at 45 mph in the slow lane when the cars are doing 45-50 mph means someone behind me in a 6,000 lb SUV staring at their phone doesn’t run me down because we’re all going roughly the same speed. And of course, there’s hill climbs, which necessitates the absurd amount of power my vehicle has compared to any legally-sold ebike in the U.S.(Federal law is often interpreted to restrict ebikes commercially sold to 750W/28 mph as is the common class 3 legal designation). Nor do I want to be doing 10 mph up a hill where the auto traffic is doing 40. To do 40 mph up some of these hills, I need no less than 4-5 kW on tap, even if the vehicle might be sufficiently streamlined that with a high enough voltage that same power would reach 90 mph on the flat.

Last edited 5 months ago by Toecutter
Jj
Jj
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I understand your case for keeping your machine outside of regulated classes, but you are a far, far outlier in doing so. You’re completely willing to sacrifice safety, comfort and convenience to keep your ride outside of rules for motorized transport.

The logical thing to do would be to add power and deal with motorcycle registration and insurance. You are obsessed with keeping this machine outside of that class. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but it is a very rare thing to the point that regulators will not consider a case like yours in developing rules.

If the rules are designed for the way 80% of the public operate on roadways, you’re outside of that. If they make other rules to address the 80% of the remaining 20% from the first group, you’d still be outside of that.

The uniqueness of your situation is ti your benefit. If it is ever classed, it’s more likely to be declared a motor vehicle than a bike or e-bike.

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 months ago
Reply to  Jj

The contributor I’m responding to is talking about insurance and registration of e-bikes. Differences in the US is likely a large reason 750W motors are the max, plus it falls under the existing moped category nicely. Higher powered electric bicycles are allowed, but they fall into one of the upper categories that require registration and/or insurance. Of course, nobody enforces any of this, but enforcement in theory falls more sensibly under speed limits. Randomly stopping people to check the power of their motor (which is a nominal rating that will be exceeded by a fully charged battery) on a dyno just seems stupid where the police can use the universal speed checking to fine a scofflaw be it car, motorcycle, moped, e-bike, or pedal bike with the same equipment and (mostly) same rules. Nobody in the US would stop for some dimwitted cop trying to get them to stop and submit to a dyno test, anyway. If someone’s going that fast, it would be dangerous to try to grab the offender, they can’t be chased on foot, and they are far more maneuverable and readily camouflaged in any crowd to be chased by car. Even the dyno test can probably be readily cheated by installing a hidden switch that can change the controller setting to limit battery output to the motor.

Jj
Jj
5 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Bicycles are generally speed limited by human abilities, and account for the vast majority of traffic in the bike lanes.

Speeding is only really a problem with higher-powered electrics, so that’s why they’re focusing enforcement on those.

What me?
What me?
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

First know the situation. We have bikes, ebikes (<25 km/h) and speed pedelecs (<45 km/h). The bikes and ebikes are allowed on the cycling path, pedelecs not.
Now do you want an dumbass racing at 60 k/h past your 5 year old?

This is not the US where cars are the danger, in cities most cycle lanes are separated from them.

And it's all the stupid kids driving like lunatics on souped up "fatbikes" which are wired so that you don't even have to pedal anymore. F them.

Toecutter
Toecutter
5 months ago
Reply to  What me?

In many European countries, S-pedelecs require registration, insurance, ID/license, and all the other bureaucratic money-extracting bullshit that ultimately inhibits freedom of movement.

I built my vehicle so that I don’t have to deal with it. And I shouldn’t.

Of course I don’t want some dumbass racing 60 km/h passed me or anyone else. And that sort of bike is already illegal in your country. Yet, here we are. That doesn’t just apply to bikes though, but also cars. Here in the USA, cities are universally near unwalkable/unbikeable, with a pronounced lack of mass transit. But having 4,000+ lb road hippos whizzing by at 60+ km/h inches from you standing there on the sidewalk, often distracted on their phones and not even seeing the road, is simply the reality we’re forced to live with because of decisions made by other people. Most of them are also speeding.

I built my vehicle as a means to get around for dirt cheap, using as little non-renewable resources as possible, and to do so at reduced or no speed differential to automobile traffic. It effectively accounts for zero road wear or infrastructure degradation due to its low mass. I definitely do not think I should be paying registration for it either.

I take it on bike paths where present too, with the motor disabled. I don’t recall anyone ever having a problem with me. But I never flew passed them inches away at 60 km/h, either, nor did anything to needlessly put anyone at risk.

At the end of the day, more laws only punish the law-abiding. Personal responsibility does seem to be a foreign concept these days, unfortunately, and the law has a lopsided way of ignoring this concept for the privileged, and making the less-than-privileged responsible for dealing with the consequences of other peoples’ screwups, enforced at the barrel end of the gun and costing money every step of the way.

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 months ago
Reply to  What me?

We have that problem in the US, too, and it’s already covered by speed limits. Problem with that is there isn’t any meaningful enforcement though, TBF to police, it would be pretty difficult to do logistically and to may not hold up in court (but, my bicycle has no speedometer!) and would probably result in backlash from the public, even those who aren’t the scofflaws due to the police and already clogged courts having what many would view as more important things to do. Dyno rigs like in the article would cost even more, so it would be seen as ridiculous waste (to which I would agree) and, again, requires enforcement. These scofflaws are dirtbags who know full damn well what they’re doing, so why would they stop and voluntarily submit to such a test if some cop points them out on a trail (don’t want to jump in front of them and can’t do it on the road being shared with cars both in terms of getting an accurate reading and in regards to being able to stop them if they don’t want to stop)? Then what—send a cop on a high-powered e-bike after them in high(ish) speed pursuit? What might work is legalizing clotheslining because then I’ll be patrolling bike paths with an extra long “walking” stick for entertainment.

What me?
What me?
5 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

“so why would they stop and voluntarily submit to such a test”

The article is wrong, this is not voluntary, they just stop you (or you get pulled over by a motorcycle cop if your obviously speeding) and put you on the dyno.

I think the “free dyno” was meant sarcastic.

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 months ago
Reply to  What me?

Sounds like a more civilized place than the US (I already knew that) as most people here would run. Someone who wouldn’t run would probably not be doing anything wrong. In the US, they can’t even do anything about the gas-powered mini bikes and ATVs that plague some areas with stunting up and down urban streets. It’s still a dumb waste of resources to have a dyno, anyway. If they can pull someone over for speeding, they already have their reason to fine them—exceeding the speed limit. I can have an illegally oversized motor and never have a problem if I don’t speed unless they randomly pick out people who aren’t doing anything wrong. I can also speed by pedaling a legal motor. Which one is the danger to the public? This just seems like the least efficient and most roundabout means of enforcement safety.

What me?
What me?
5 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

There are 2 different situations, either cops roam around and seek actively for speeders/anti socials or they will be standing somewhere (covert) and check every one (well everyone, I think they’ll give the 70 year old grannies a pass).

“I can have an illegally oversized motor and never have a problem if I don’t speed” Yes, but why would you pay someone to tune your bike to illegal levels of power and then not use that power? It’s a bit of a non-argument.

iirc: The problem with speeders is that to give a ticket you have to measure their exact speed which can be tricky, so just chasing them on a motorcycle, stopping them, and checking illegal power levels is easier.

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 months ago
Reply to  What me?

Same reason thousands of people buy overpowered cars to lead parades of traffic to car shows. Checking power levels assumes guilt and the guilty would just run and may not have an overpowered motor. As I stated, there are other reasons someone might want a large motor, like hauling heavy loads or maybe they’re overweight and out of shape. It’s almost as absurd as going into peoples’ kitchens and judging them murderers because someone claims their knives are longer than needed to cut food for a small family. What’s a cop going to do—jump in front of someone who they suspect is speeding and wrestle them to a stop? Maybe the Netherlands is a magic place where people respect authority even when they’re doing something they know is in violation, but I know I sure as hell wouldn’t stop for a cop to fine me if I were doing something wrong when it would be so damn easy to evade. That is, of course, unless I was fully legal even though I could still readily be a menace with 250W and pedals if only to ride off with a smug smile after passing. I violated far more traffic laws when I drove a 73hp car than I have with all my cars since that had multiples of that power.

Yeah, it’s tricky to get speeders by measuring their exact speed, which is why enforcement is weak, but doing so goes after the guilty as it should rather than singling out someone for arbitrary reasons (why not go after the smaller people with muscular legs, then?—surely they must be riding fast to have legs so big!). I don’t know who’s paying some F&F bicycle crew to tune a bike. While the motor has its limitations, the power is down to the controller and battery. It’s merely a change to the controller and maybe having a larger battery (which also can be used for range) to allow more power, which anyone can do (especially with 250 measly watts). In fact, a lot of motors out there only differ in their ratings because of the controller, not the motor itself. On top of that, the article doesn’t say whether or not there’s any allowance for going over, which would make someone running a fully-charged battery illegal since “250W” is a nominal rating, that is power output when the battery is less than fully charged. And, as I also stated prior, it would probably be pretty trivial to set up a hidden switch so the controller would only allow the legal power if one were picked out for testing.

Chad Geidel
Chad Geidel
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

It seems like you are assuming multi-use paths in the Netherlands are identical to multi-lane highways here in the US. They aren’t.

Please revisit your assumptions.

Jj
Jj
5 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

This is the Netherlands. They’re not worried about ebikes denting Hummer fenders – they’re worried about the 70 year old woman pedaling her groceries home in the cycle lane getting run down by a vehicle doing double or triple her speed.

These cycles are not operating on wide open roads. They’re not even on city streets – but in the designated cycle lanes where most other ‘vehicles’ are operating only on pedal power. It’s the speed differential that causes a dangerous situation.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
5 months ago

Wait, Dutch or Danish? The links all seem to be Dutch, but the article repeats the word Danish.

What me?
What me?
5 months ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

Definitely Dutch, we had dynos for mopeds for ages already.

Matt Hardigree
Matt Hardigree
5 months ago
Reply to  What me?

Corrected, thanks!

Weddings/Birthdays/Whale Breachings
Weddings/Birthdays/Whale Breachings
5 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

A good rule of thumb: The Dutch make ovens, the Danish make large dogs.

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