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Minister Harbers is committed to safety with an end to performance sets and significant fines.

The era of the popularity of souped-up electric bicycles may have peaked. The new concern, the performance of these two-wheelers, is being restricted. Minister Mark Harbers of Infrastructure and Water Management is taking the lead in an offensive against upgraded electric bicycles. His plan of attack, presented to the House of Representatives, marks a significant step towards stricter regulations surrounding this growing problem.

Harbers emphasizes that souped-up electric bicycles pose a danger to both users and fellow road users. Incidents range from surprisingly fast fat bikes suddenly appearing to dangerous overtaking maneuvers on busy cycle paths. The heart of the problem lies with the booster sets, which make it possible to increase the bicycle's pedal assistance far above the legal limit of 25 km/h.

The new regulations, which Harbers wants to introduce this year, will prohibit the possession of a booster set on an electric bicycle, a clarification and tightening of the current legislation. Until now, it was already forbidden to go on public roads with a souped-up e-bike, with fines of up to 310 euros. However, the current rules did not provide sufficient deterrence, partly because performance sets could easily be switched off when approaching police checkpoints.

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“Nowadays it seems like everyone has had a dangerous experience with a souped-up electric bicycle. A fat bike that wasn't there yet when you looked in that direction when crossing the road, an electric bicycle that makes dangerous overtaking maneuvers on the crowded cycle path, or a cyclist who makes a turn that is far too wide due to his high speed. Extremely dangerous, and it is not without reason that these vehicles are prohibited from having pedal assistance above 25 km/h. Unfortunately, I see that this ban is still regularly violated. That is why I am going to work on amending the regulations so that it is clear to users what is not allowed.”

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management goes further than just regulations. A communication approach aimed at young people and parents is also being developed to make them aware of the dangers and rules surrounding the use of electric bicycles. This information campaign, planned for the 2024-2025 school year, is being set up in collaboration with municipalities, provinces, the police, TeamAlert and Veilig Verkeer Nederland.

In addition to the focus on awareness, collaboration is being sought with the bicycle industry and interest groups to draw up a Dutch agreement. This agreement should contribute to a joint approach to the problem. At the same time, the police are using new roller test benches for enforcement, and the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) has already taken measures against providers of illegally registered 'electric bicycles'.

Harbers' approach shows that the government is taking the growing problem of upgraded electric bicycles seriously. With a combination of stricter regulations, education, industry collaboration and enforcement, the ministry hopes to increase road safety and halt the proliferation of souped-up e-bikes.

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