The Manhattan Beach Police Department in Manhattan Beach, California, recently shared a warning of what can happen if you ride non-street-legal e-bikes on public roads.
In a social media post, the MBPD showed a confiscated Sur Ron electric motorbike that had just been apprehended after being used on public roads.
To make matters worse, it was being ridden by a 13-year-old.
As the police department explained:
Well we tried to warn you! We totally get that electric vehicles are the wave of the future and that everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere. However, giving a 13 year old an electric bike that exceeds 30 mph, that lacks required safety equipment, and a driver without any sort of understanding of the rules of the road is just a recipe for disaster.
Sur Ron electric motorbikes, and other similar electric motorbikes such as the newly released Talaria XXX, are designed primarily for off-road use. They lack the requirements of bicycles and e-bikes for legal on-road use, including having speed and power limits that exceed legal limits for electric bikes.
MBPD Sergeant Andy Abreu confirmed to MB News that the Sur Ron bike does not fit any of the electric bike classes in California because it is made for off-road use and its power level of 3,000 to 6,000 watts exceeds the requirement of e-bikes to have motors of less than 750W. The bike also doesn’t have functional pedals to classify it as a bicycle yet also “fails to have required safety features such as side view mirrors that are required for motorcycles,” explained Abreu.
Electric bikes are legal, to a point
There are millions of street-legal electric bikes in the US, but they must meet several requirements to be approved for street use. Most of the non-street-legal electric bikes such as these Sur Ron motorbikes are not illegal per se but rather aren’t permitted to operate on public roads.
They are mostly designed for riding on private trails similarly to dirt bikes, yet without the loud engines and expensive maintenance of gasoline-powered dirt bikes.
Purely off-road electric motorbikes are a growing category. While Sur Ron got its foot in the door early several years ago, newer companies are offering increasingly affordable and attractive models that are beginning to replace combustion engine dirt bikes.
But as more riders experiment with taking these bikes on the roads, police departments like the MBPD are cracking down on their usage outside of private property.
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