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Cops on horseback in California are cracking down on illegal e-bikes

9 months ago 211

Police departments have begun paying more attention to electric bicycles and cracking down on models that are illegal for street use. Now another police department in California is demonstrating how they’re using old school transportation into the operation with horse-mounted police officers.

As electric bikes become even more popular options for alternative transportation, the number of e-bikes on the streets is greater than ever.

Most electric bikes are completely legal for street use, falling under the standard bicycle classification of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They’re a great way to get around without the cost (financial or environmental) of a car.

But higher power electric bikes, many that lack bike pedals and thus are effectively like small motorbikes, have become popular in the last few years. Teenagers and young adults have especially taken to such models, commonly produced by companies like Sur Ron and Talaria, among others.

The Newport Beach Police Department recently shared an image of its mounted police officers stopping and citing a rider of a Sur Ron electric motorbike. In this case, the bike isn’t an electric bicycle but rather more like a trail bike, similar to a slightly smaller electric dirt bike. These models can usually reach speeds of around 45 mph (72 km/h) and have a power rating of around 5-6x higher than most electric bikes in the US.

As the NBPD explained:

“The mounted unit is used for several functions, including patrolling the boardwalk. Our horses offer increased visibility (both for the public to see our officers and for officers to see their surroundings from a higher vantage point).  In this incident, officers issued a citation for unsafe operation and failure to follow posted signs while operating an electric bike.”

Interestingly, in this case the police don’t seem to have confiscated the bike or even cited the rider for using a non street-legal e-bike. Instead, the citations were for unsafe operation and failure to follow road signs.

sur ron header

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a crackdown on these types of e-bikes though, such as the Sur Ron above that was confiscated by the Manhattan Beach Police Department in Manhattan Beach, California.

These cases of crackdowns on high-powered off-road electric trail bikes are becoming more common. Police departments around the country become more aware of e-bike laws and the difference between the majority of law abiding e-bikes and the few higher power, non street-legal models like these.

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