Traxio-Velo, the Belgian federation for the bicycle sector, wants to increase the maximum speed of e-bikes from 25 to 30 km/hour to counter illegal tune-ups.
“Detecting tuned up e-bikes is almost a hopeless task,” said Nicholas Paelinck, chairman of the commission of the local police, to NewMobility. “Besides, an infringement is easily contestable because the infringer can always claim they only used their own muscle power.”
By legally increasing the maximum speed to 30 km/hour, tuning the e-bikes up becomes unnecessary, according to the federation.
A tuned-up e-bike that can reach speeds of more than 25 km/hour is not allowed on public roads, according to traffic safety institute Vias. A speed higher than 25 km/hour narrows the cyclist’s range of vision, which causes a kind of tunnel vision that makes it more difficult to notice approaching danger.
E-bikes and speed pedelecs are becoming more popular for commuting. However, companies would rather not offer speed pedelecs, whose motors can assist regardless of whether the rider is pedalling or not, to their employees, because they consider the risk of a serious accident too high.
Many e-bike salesmen are willing to tune up a normal electric bike to reach a much higher speed, according to an undercover investigation by the Belgian television channel VRT. Tuning up an e-bike is dangerous and illegal, but does not take a lot of work and is therefore common practice. Tuned-up bikes can reach speeds up to 70 km/hour.
Minister of Internal Affairs, Pieter De Crem (CD&V), is investigating whether a new regulation would be advisable.