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Illegal e-bikes seized as police and council launch crackdown

31 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Cardiff Council carried out a joint operation alongside South Wales Police which saw 17 illegal e-bikes seized

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

A clamp down on illegal e-bikes involving Cardiff Council and South Wales Polices has resulted in the seizure of bikes with an estimated value of over £22,000.

The majority of the e-bikes confiscated had defective brakes.

The council and police, which conducted one of their operations to clamp down on cycling through Queen Street on Thursday July 27, seized 17 e-bikes which had top speeds of between 30 and 42 mph.

Use of Cardiff city centre’s busy pedestrianised street by cyclists, which is banned, is an issue the local authority and police have been trying to stop for years.

A Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “Any electric bike that exceeds 15.5mph or has a throttle on the bike is classed as a motorcycle and not a bicycle.

“To drive these vehicles, the vehicle must be registered with the DVLA, the driver must have a motorbike licence and the vehicle must be insured.”

Over the course of their operations, the council and police have pulled over and spoken to 1,300 people, 70% of whom were riding illegal electric bikes.

Exceptionally dangerous

The council spokesperson added: “All the vehicles had a throttle, and the majority of the bikes seized had defective brakes, which is exceptionally dangerous.

“Since the operation has taken place, the city centre wardens haven’t seen any illegal electric bikes being used in the city centre.

“These operations will continue, so if you are driving an illegal electric bike in Cardiff and you are caught, your bike will be seized by the authorities.”

Pictures taken by the council in a social media post on last week’s operation show officers speaking to food delivery riders on electric bikes.

Just Eat have no couriers who they directly employ in Cardiff.

Couriers in Cardiff either work directly for Just Eat’s independent restaurant partners, and therefore the deliveries are managed and fulfilled completely independently from Just Eat, or are self-employed independent contractors.

The company has a code of conduct for couriers and requires them to hold a licence valid for the category of vehicle they are driving as well as the relevant insurance.

Couriers are also required to comply with The Road Traffic Acts and the Highway Code.

A Deliveroo spokesperson said: “Deliveroo condemns the use of illegal e-bikes and supports Cardiff Council in tackling this issue.”

Uber Eats was also approached for a comment.

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Ap Kenneth
8 months ago

They are a menace on pedestrian streets and do not conform to traffic laws when being ridden, so good that action is being taken. Does not mean that law around electric bikes is correct yet. Speed assist should be allowed upto 20mph so that they could travel, in theory, at the same speed as other traffic, when 20mph default limit comes in, and reduce conflict.

8 months ago

According to Wikipedia, the 2022 Tour de France had an average speed of 26mph so the top speed of pedal bikes is much higher than 15.5mph. I look forward to the police seizing these illegal vehicles and fining their owners.

On a more serious note, shouldn’t we be doing what we can to enable and promote cycling? Having a stricter legal framework for bikes than cars (I could today remortgage the house and buy a supercar with a top speed of some 250mph) is just silly.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
8 months ago
Reply to  Glwyo

I think the article is quite clear that those cycles seized are those that don’t comply to the rules which are pretty easy really, no faster than 15.5 mph, pedal-assist, and no throttle. Absolutely agree about facilitating cycling, but your point about fast cars is just silly – the national speed limit on most roads is 60 mph at most, and 70 mph on motorways. Most cars are capable of exceeding that, even a Reliant Robin can exceed that speed, but to do so would be breaking a law. The ‘bicycles’ seized were, to all intents and purposes, motorcycles, and… Read more »

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