We are enjoying our role within the growing eBike industry in the UK and we hope to see the industry continue to flourish, as the positive impact it has on people’s lives is something that can’t be measured.
There is however one thing we’d really like to talk about, and state our position on as we see this as a potentially serious problem.
Our major concern is the use of dongles on eMTBs. Currently Pedelec electric mountain bikes benefit from the same access rights as normal bicycles, and eBike customers can ride their bikes in the forests and at trail centres all over the UK. As we’re sure you’ll appreciate “dongl’ing” these bikes removes the speed restriction and in the eyes of the law turns the bicycles into a moped, thus meaning they are not allowed to be used anywhere where there is public access (on or off road).
The issue we’d like discussed now, is the fact that some dealers are selling bikes with dongles supplied. You must appreciate that there is no where in the UK these bikes can be used legally, and therefore any dealers selling them are promoting the illegal use of eBikes, and in many cases miss-selling products to customers who don’t know the risks they are taking. The situation we’re looking to prevent is one whereby an accident happens on Forestry Commission land, in a National Park or at a Trail Centre involving a dongle’d ebike. The automatic reaction of the decision makers will be to ban all eBikes, because they can’t simply ban the illegal ones, because by definition they are already banned.
An eBike ban at these venues would kill the off road eBike industry before it’s even really got started, so it’s in our interest to take a responsible stance to ensure the sustainable future.
Dealers selling dongles in the UK are looking to make a quick buck and we should be doing more to stop this bad practice. The customers do not understand the risks they are taking riding a dongle’d bike, because the retailers do not make it clear, these include, but are not limited to:
* Points on license for using an uninsured, untaxed, unMOT’d vehicle.
* Liability in the event of any accident, because any insurance will be invalid because of above.
* The actions of an individual could result on serious impacts on the whole industry, as a high profile case will result in access being restricted.
By dongling the bike it also removes the CE certification so there are issues that Trading Standards could take issue with.
Individual’s using their illegal bikes on the road take on these risks and having spoken to many, they don’t understand or appreciate them because the dealers are too keen to sell the bikes, regardless of the potential impact on the customer in the longer term.
However, as I’ve said above our main concern is that the actions of a small minority of irresponsible owners will result in eBikes being banned from all Forestry Commission land and trail centres.
Currently eBikes are having a huge beneficial impact on the cycle trade and the lives of countless individuals who are enjoying the access owning an eBike brings.
(This post is adapted from a letter from one of our suppliers that appeared online and in various UK Cycling websites recently)