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New roadside Garda checks planned for powerful e-bikes and e-scooters

Dutch police have rolled out new ‘testing benches’, with gardaí now assessing testing equipment available

Gardaí have begun reviewing testing equipment options for new roadside checks planned to take some powerful e-bikes and e-scooters off the roads. The testing kit will effectively enable gardaí to check the power of the electric bikes and scooters. It will identify those bikes and scooters which do not comply with legislation, including maximum power and speed attainable based on the power they can generate.

The new testing units have not yet been acquired by the Garda, and could not be used at present. However, once provisions in the Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 become operational gardaí will be empowered to take illegal bikes and scooters off the roads. Any device deemed more powerful than permitted under law would be confiscated.

Garda sources told The Irish Times that in preparation for the new legislation a range of testing devices were currently being examined. The move comes after the Dutch police rolled out new “testing benches” amid concerns about fatal cycling crashes reaching an all time high in 2022.

Politie NL said rising cycling fatalities “more or less keep pace with the rise of the electric bicycle and other electrically powered two-wheelers, such as the fat bike and speed pedelec”.


The new “testing benches” they have rolled out nationwide are akin to the rollers cars are placed on undergoing the NCT but much smaller and mobile. Any powered personal transporter can be placed on the bench by the roadside and tested for its capacity.

While the benches can check for maximum speed the focus on e-bike checks is around assessing the point at which pedal assistance ceases. This determines if the power cuts out when the vehicle reaches a maximum allowable speed or continues as the two-wheeled transporter further accelerates through the maximum allowed speed.

In reply to queries Garda headquarters confirmed testing kit for small electric vehicles was now being reviewed by the force in preparation for the new legislation. “An Garda Síochána does not currently conduct technical checks on e-bikes,” it said. “An Garda Síochána is at this time considering testing options in respect of powered personal transporters as relevant new legislation has yet to be fully implemented.”

The Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023, which governs the use of e-scooters and e-bikes, was signed into law in June but the popular electric-powered scooters remain illegal on the road until the regulations are signed.

Under the new laws the maximum speed for e-scooters is going to be 25 kilometres per hour. The average speed of e-bikes ranges between 20 to 25 kilometres per hour, while an e-scooter can travel up to 48 kilometres per hour.

Those e-bikes which are pedal-assist, or pedelecs, with a power output up to or equal to 250W and where the motor cuts before reaching 25 kilometres per hour, will be classified in the same way as a regular pedal cycle.

However, those with more than 250W power output will be classified as mechanically propelled vehicles (MPV), and therefore will be subject to vehicle registration, insurance, driver licensing and helmets.

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Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times