August 4, 2018 5:29 pm

Riders in Belleville modifying e-bikes to travel twice the speed limit

Many electric bike riders are manipulating the bikes computer system to drive at higher speeds.

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E-bikes have become a popular transportation option in many cities across Canada, however police in Belleville, Ont. are warning residents against making dangerous modifications to the environmentally friendly vehicles.

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Recently, the Belleville Police Service has seen an increase in e-bike riders traveling as fast as double the legal speed limit. Officers have found that riders are modifying their machines to get from point A to point B quicker.

Insurance and a valid motorcycle license are required for any e-bike whose speed exceeds 32 kilometres per hour, said Const. Brad Stitt of the Traffic Safety Unit with the Belleville Police Service.

The reliability and ease of an e-bike is what Rob Hosking advertises for the sale of his fleet at Hosking Motorsports, but he shakes his head at recent customers who have manipulated their e-bike computer systems to double the vehicle’s speed.

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“There are no secrets in the world with Google. You can go on any website and you can manipulate your e-bike,” said Hosking.

When the e-bikes were manufactured, they were required to meet all of the standards of Transport Canada. However, when they are modified, the vehicle’s braking system is not designed to stop at speeds exceeding 32 kilometres per hour, said Stitt.

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The Belleville Police Department says that if a rider is caught with a modified e-bike, that person could face fines exceeding $8,000 dollars and or jail time. They are also urging the public to wear helmets at all times when driving or riding e-bikes, and police encourage those operating the vehicles to stay on the right-hand shoulder of the road.

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