Silence Infidel ! The Real Reason Police Ignore Ebikes

There is a contingent of people out there who go to the local police whenever a high-speed ebike video is released on youtube showing an ebike going over the speed limit on public roads. My guess is that it’s the same people who carefully follow my posts on Reddit only so they can downrate them (you know who you are). The ironic part about this whole cycle is that the cops listen to complaints, watch the video and then have a hearty laugh and do absolutely nothing about it. This article is about the real reason that the police generally (NYC excepted) ignore electric-powered bikes and why that is good news both for the industry and the future of the world.

The Cleveland Republican National Convention had all the cops gussied up in mountain biking armor, that’s one way to deal with that Liberal scum

Remember Motopeds, those super cool bicycles with a 4 stroke gas motor hooked into the drive train? Although Motoped is just one company, there are thousands of Americans who have thrown small two-stroke motors on their favorite bicycle so they can zoom around town. The reason you almost never see these things is that the police hate them and constantly pull them over and give them tickets even when they are driven in a law-abiding fashion under the ebike speed limits. What is the primary reason they focus their enforcement efforts on gas-powered bicycles and ignore high power ebikes? One word : Noise. Police work on a complaint based system and generally will ignore most things that don’t cause people to complain. Two-stroke motors are noisy and smell pretty bad and many of the people riding gas-powered bicycles are going faster than 20mph. You can get a heck of a lot of power out of a tiny motor (just ask any chainsaw) that can easily propel a normal bicycle to blistering speeds of over 35mph. Getting over 35mph on an ebike, however, is a little trickier.

Motopeds are too loud and too fast and look too much like unregistered motorcycles for the police to ignore

The same could be said for gas-powered scooters. Although I’ve seen one or two over the years here in the Meth Capitol of New York (Cortland, NY), other than Burning Man I haven’t really seen gas-powered scooters anywhere else in the US. They are just too noisy and too fast to avoid the cops detection. One of the police’s biggest jobs is ‘protecting us from ourselves’, which is a real pet peeve of mine. If I want to strap myself to a 50mph electric scooter isn’t it my god given right to? Not in the eyes of the law. If something goes that fast then it presents a clear and present danger to myself and others and needs to be registered and insured. They are probably right, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

When it comes to ebikes the police tend to find that ignorance is bliss

In NYC the police routinely confiscate ebikes and harass non-powered bicyclists as the mayor focuses on trying to make his ‘zero traffic fatality’ dream a reality. The problem is that is really isn’t working and the only thing that harassing NYC cyclists is accomplishing is getting fewer people to ride their bikes, which might actually be their primary goal. Ironically when I’m on a pedal-only bicycle I am hell on wheels, breaking traffic laws and yelling at cars, but when I’m on an electric bike I just hog up a lane and act like a motorcycle and cars tend to respect my space, as long as I can keep up with traffic. With a high-powered ebike it seems like traffic is annoying slow and I can out accelerate even most expensive sports cars. In a strange twist of irony NY’s finest tend to ignore the Motorsport Urban Delinquents that tool around in non-street legal dirtbikes and ATV’s. Ebikes tend to stop when the cops tell them to, whereas the gas-powered motard types just take off knowing that it’s unlikely that the cops will be able to catch them, since they can pretty much go anywhere much faster than they can.

If your ebike looks like a scooter and not a bicycle then your chances of getting harassed by cops increases exponentially

Another issue is that if a policeman pulls you over they have to know the citation to actually write you a ticket for breaking that particular law. I would bet that most police have no idea what law prevents people from using ebikes or how to tell the difference between a street legal and not street legal ebike. I got several of the first batch of 1000W BBSHD’s which have 750W stamped on the bottom. The street legal maximum for ebikes is 750 Watts and I carry around a copy of HR 727 so I can educate any cop that tries to harass me. Am I being entirely honest since I’m running a 60 amp controller that puts over 2500 watts through the drive train? I don’t have to tell the cop about my Ludicrous controller, just show him the stamped 750W on the casing of the motor. Am I a horrible person? I would say yes.

When they can catch Motos, the NYC destroys them. Although I understand the animosity against ATV’s and Motos I don’t understand what ‘the man’ has against ebikes

Silent Killers

In China, ebikes are called silent killers because so many people die on them in their overcrowded cities. Many large Chinese cities have banned ebikes which has caused great distress amongst the thousand or so ebike manufacturers in China. If you took all the ebikes in China and gave one to every US citizen you would still have some leftover, China has a lot of ebikes. This ruling by the government has mostly hurt the poor and is directly at odds with the government’s stated goal of supporting green energy. Why did they do it? With the proliferation of ebikes in recent years growing out of control and Chinese citizens having a poor regard for safety with these bikes the government felt like the had to do something. Ironically one of the main point that attracts people to ebikes, their nearly silent operation, is the same thing that has caused the government to view them as a public health issue. In 2001 before the ‘ebike craze’ there was only 34 ebike deaths, but by 2008 the number was over 3000 and by 2010 that number was almost 5000. The Chinese government caused the sweeping change without any public input and with significant public outcry. It’s interesting to see that NYC has tried to deal with ebikes in a similar way by using an outright ban. I visited China in 2004 and ebikes were just starting to take off. You could buy an ebike in almost any supermarket for just a few hundred dollars. Almost all of them were lead acid batteries and really took the density and power of Lithium batteries to take ebikes into the mainstream Chinese culture. Will the rest of the US cities follow NYC’s example as ebikes increase in power, speed and proliferate in the major US cities? Only time will tell.

As long as people keep dying, the government will keep trying to regulate ebikes

In the meantime please feel free to contact the police departments and try to press charges every time a new video is released showing someone breaking the ebike speed limit. As of right now, they just don’t seem to care. As ebikes get more and more power and speed and become more of a nuisance then I’m sure that the powers at be will be forced to do something. The best thing you can do as an ebike advocate is simply to wear a helmet and to obey the laws as much as you can. I know it’s hard, but I believe you can do it.

Ride on.



26 thoughts on “Silence Infidel ! The Real Reason Police Ignore Ebikes

  1. I’m one of those people who will openly show my disdain for youtubers who post a video showing them doing something illegal with their ebike, I hate it because they aren’t trying to change those silly laws, they are opposing them and goading the police into treating us all unfairly, we who are trying to ride safely and considerately on our fast illegal ebikes, we just want a bit more power to go as fast as the traffic so we don’t get run down by a truck or slow driving granny, but we will not get our goal achieved if some individuals are being dicks about it.
    My local cops don’t enforce the ebike power laws because they aren’t carrying multi-meters in their pockets to measure my power level, in some countries we have something called burden of proof. The cops don’t know the power level is printed on the base of the motor shhhhh. The cops here love to bust the petrol bicycle riders because they know what they are looking at, with ebikes it’s too complicated for them.


    • In California an equipment violation or “fix-it ticket” requires the ticketed to present the equipment to a CHP officer and prove that the violation has been repaired. In other words, you are guilty until you prove your innocence by showing that you fixed the condition on the ticket. All the cop has to do is write you up for “excessive power over 750w” and it is then up to you to prove that he was wrong. You could simply ignore it and eventually it becomes a different offense (failure to appear?) or you could take it to court where you can try to prove that the bike was legal.


      • So really you’re guilty until you prove your own innocence, wow so much for the land of the free – NOT.


  2. This is an AWESOME article that has been way overdue. I wish I had written it, and I am glad this is out there for discussion now. I got into powered bicycles because my teen son got his license suspended for a year, so I was looking at the “chainsaw” motor kits. They are hard to beat for purchase price, range, and power, but…they are loud, and cops crack down on them everywhere they are found. One of the kit suppliers sold these, plus electric kits, and i was intrigued. I found, and member Fechter pointed me towards endless-sphere. Ebikes 5 years ago were crap compared to the selections available today. If it looks like a bicycle and you are riding safely (and silently), you can have 3,000W and nobody cares…

    Liked by 1 person

    • The burden in California is clearly on the manufacturer. Here is the law:

      (c) On and after January 1, 2017, manufacturers and distributors of electric bicycles shall apply a label that is permanently affixed, in a prominent location, to each electric bicycle. The label shall contain the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage of the electric bicycle, and shall be printed in Arial font in at least 9-point type.


      • Do the Companies selling assembled BBSHD ebikes all do this? I’ve never seen one of them and I built my own, so I have no idea how or if this is being complied with. If there are violations of this rule it could have impact on all of us, the last thing ebikes needs is a scandal….


    • I agree. SO glad I waited a few years to buy my first ebike. In ’08 I was really close to building a lead acid battery powered hub motor bike b/c our area is so hilly. Clearly it would have never met my expectations like my mid-drive bike has.

      I have the hub motor still and eventually it’ll go on my wife’s bike and she will likely be happy with it b/c her expectations are much lower.


  3. One minor comment Karl, the Moto-Ped uses a 4 stroke engine, not a 2 stroke. But I do agree they look too much like a motorcycle to ride on the streets with the abandon we enjoy with our ebikes. I was real interested in them at one point, but I am glad I stumbled upon fat ebikes before buying one!


  4. I suspect based on where I live, it is going to be a much more pleasant experience using a strong e-bike in smaller more rural towns. We just fade into near invisibility against all the dirt bikes ‘sneaking’ around. Our main concern is probably going to be making sure we are seen.


  5. Hey, I just wanted to thank you for all of your articles here. You have saved me at least $500 on a wasted 52v 13wa shark pack when I should be running a 50 amp “ugly” triangle pack.. Thanks for telling me how to not blow up a very expensive battery. Please keep it up. You’re the shit! This information isn’t as easily accessible as it should be!


  6. How does countries like Sweden do it ? They have bicycle highways all over the place and eBikes are more than welcome there. Even the ederly can ride them and stay in shape and avoid falling into the spiral of immobility, physical deconditionning and poor cardiovascular health. No wonder Sweden don’t have the screeming obesity problems we see in USA (and all the complications that comes with obesity : diabetes, coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, non-alcoolic steatohepatitis that can leads to cirrhosis, strokes, infertility, deep vein thrombosis, pumonary embolism, etc…). Sweden seems to adopt more intelligent ways with it’s population. But you know, in USA, medicine seems to be more like a priviledge to those who can afford “being in the business” rather than to be a right for good health ; an accessible mean to all suffering humans. Let more people get sick, we’ll have more cash for our hospitals. I don’t think this is the right approach. I just dont get how so many people do short commutes and are still taking a whole car to transport one single person in most case !. The car is 10-20% fuel efficient and even if it was 100% efficient, it still uses way too much energy for no valuable reason. Gasoline cars probably use in the thousands of Wh/km consumption range, while Telsa cars use in the 100-300 Wh/km (same power at the wheels but almost 100%efficiency on electric versus gas, allows for much smaller energy consumption)… Still a whole 3000 kg (telsa’s weight) to transport one single person is bordering on stupid in terms of energy costs. I mean especially for short commutes and when there’s not a snowstorm outside. By comparison, eBikes are in the 10-20 Wh/km energy consumption range. How could we even think about not using them considering they pollute almost ONE HUNDRED TIMES LESS than taking your gas car for all these short to medium commutes. Most people uses their cars for short commutes too. In the end, when the Earth becomes so polluted than we’ll start having bigger public health issues and overcrowded cities, they wont have a choice to go the “bicycle highways” route to add to reliable city transports (subways, trams, buses) and make cars pay premiums for parking spots, gas, etc… Whith the high obesity problems, USA is already on the vege to a public health downspiral IMHO. NYC has shown it is particularly slow to adopt the change in fevor of eBikes. The only reason that I can think of for NYC not moving on to favor eBikes is Short term money profit. They can’t seem to project in the future and realise all the long term benefits… The senate bill is still waiting to be approved, for decades now. For decades, each year the senate has avoided to adress the bill on eBikes in NYC. Priorities are where money is… They just havent been clever enough yet to adopt law in favor of them and to find ways to make profit out of eBikes. Meanwhile, more and more people ride them.


    • I think you emphasize exercise too much for good health than not eating that shit the Americans call food, they made the world fat by promoting their filthy takeaway junk food, all the exercise in the world is not going to help you if you eat their food.


      • The bad junk food certainly doesn’t help too ! Both alimentary diet and physical exercise are modifiable contributing factors to obesity and it’s complications, while heriditary are not. It’s importent to prevent the problem on all fronts.


    • We can’t have things like free healthcare or paved bike trails and places to walk b/c our gov’t needs to buy the latest bombs and bullets and fighter planes to aggravate all those people on the other side of the world who then help the American war chickens justify new wars which require more bombs, bullets and fighter planes.

      Meanwhile we are called names and blindly lumped it with a certain flavors of politics (rightly or wrongly) and assumptions are made against us b/c we don’t fall into the right categories.


  7. Well i will tell you i drive a ebike and follow the law my problem is i do no when i will hurt or kill buy you people hitting me and running me off the road by city bus you people do not share the so you know were you can go with your crying and the comment on noise you are crazy they are 1000 times more quiet than a car so i do not blame the police so instead of 😢 crying share and watch your driving.I been hit or ran of the road 5 times and half the people taking off so stop your wining and grow up.Sincerely piss off ebike rider!😠


  8. Unfortunately gas powered scooters are still all over Hawaii. They stink and are noisy. Hawaii should ban them. Electric bikes are just starting to be available as rentals. Some as retail.


      • In my state 49cc and below are bikes. 50 cc and above are scooters/mopeds and require helmets and license plates. You can blur that line alot by how the bike/scooter is used.

        I see one of those gas conversions in traffic several times per week. More power to him. Plenty of 4WDs and Harley’s making far more noise and pollution here. He rides right down the middle of town on the busiest route. No helmet so he must be brave… 😉

        I’m the only ebike rider so far and I choose a much quieter and slower route and wish there were a series of even slower roads b/c some drivers don’t give much room to guys like me.

        My first trip out involved a car that insisted passing me in blind “S” curves. Ran me right off the road b/c I did want to be involved in a big collision (car coming and car passing me did not see it). Now I hold my lane a little more aggressively to protect myself.


  9. Pingback: The Second Coming : Version 2 of the 35+ mph Luna Apocalypse Kick Scooter |

  10. Pingback: Ebike laws vs ebike realities | ELECTRICBIKE.COM

  11. Its amazing how our culture has changed sense I was a young teen growing up from 6 years old on dirt bikes (My MoM was having a fit but my father had the last word on that thank god) and pedal bmx bikes when the local police where looking for me because I got away again the day before eventually they just gave up. The fact we did not wear helments would make the front page news these days. Yes I was born to rebel and through my 20s 30s would make it a point to wear a non legal helments. But now I have found ebikes that go fast and getting exercise at the same time!! I am in and luckly N.C. isn’t a 24/7 nanny state like commiefornia and a few others that just want what is best for you because they know better than you… Sorry some of the unicorn paradise koolaid drinkers just get on my nerves. Right now I would buy the Apollo but out of stock probably today gonna order the x1 then the Apollo will be in stock tomorrow. Talked to local police and they don’t even know what ebikes are or care how fast they can go. seems to me its about where you live and what your local police are focused on and probably half of us are not in wanna be north korea states. Things in my life that I will follow the rules are when my choices risk the lives of others I follow every rule and then some.


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