E-bikers in New Zealand have a good lot. The far thinking transportation ministry has given a lot of latitude in the definition of a bicycle and we e-bikers ride on powerful and swift little motorcycles, legally. The legal limit of electric assist that makes a bike still a bike, and not a moped is 300 watt average motor draw. Within that power range, e-bikes don’t get registered and inspected, and don’t pay road fees for their usage. E-bikes get an incentive to prosper their owners with a remarkable economy of operation, assuming they play by the rules. Unfortunately that wattage limit is regularly exceeded by people that abuse the NZ regulation and ride far more powerful bikes than allowed by law. The various rationales they use for the illegality are that:
- No one will know and the police don’t check.
- They are experienced riders and can handle the high speeds attained.
- They aren’t hurting anyone by their high speed riding. I think all of these excuses are false and I will explore each one with you now, hoping you will agree to stay legal on your e-bike.