Coroners report puts spotlight on illegal hi-powered and over-powered e-bikes

December 13, 2018


This is both a reminder and a warning to retailers and consumers.

The Coroners Court of Victoria recently released its report in to the death of Albert Dean May.

Key facts; 

  • Rider of e-bike struck and killed an 86 year old pedestrian while riding on a footpath

  • The rider travelled for less than 200m on the footpath at a speed of less than 25kmh

  • The bike was stamped as a 200w compliant bicycle

  • The bike was later tested and determined to be over 500w.

  • The 'motorbike' in question was sold 'more than twice' and therefore a retailer/importer could not be charged

  • The rider was charged with several offences including riding an unregistered motorbike, riding unlicensed and riding a motorbike on footpath.

  • He pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving causing death.

  • The rider was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment.

We all talk about it's only an issue when the worst happens - the worst has happened!

The coroners report requires the BIA to work with Vicroads and the Victorian Police to identify countermeasures to improve compliance with laws regarding sale and operation of electric bikes. Parks Victoria will be involved relating to measures for off-road use of illegal e-bikes.

The counter measures will be targeting overpowered e-bikes (including those marked as legal) the riders and importantly for the industry, the suppliers (including retailers and importers/manufacturers) of those bikes or kits. 

The review has also called into question a number of factors relating to the industry;

  • The legality of waivers signed by consumers when purchasing overpowered e-bikes, 

  • Retailers providing advice on how to modify bikes, or recommending sites that supply 'dongles' to bypass the legal restrictions

  • Servicing of products that are known to be illegal or 'unroadworthy'.

Importers and retailers of complete e-bikes or kits must be aware of the impact on their business.
If a product they provide is deemed to be an unroadworthy motorbike, there may be substantial repercussions.

Importers and retailers must also be aware of the impact on their insurance if they are selling non-road legal, or advising consumers how to modify, e-bikes.

Although this case is in Victoria, other states will review the outcomes.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the BIA -





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