If you've ever experimented with modding your e-bike to make it more powerful, you'd be extremely wise not to try it and then go for a spin in public if you're French... because a super strict new law means anyone caught with e-bikes tuned to go at assisted speeds of over 25km/h could face a whopping 30,000 euro fine, or even jail time.
The statutory law came in last week as part of section L317-1 in France's highway code, which has now been changed to include new rules on e-bikes. Offenders caught with a tuned e-bike that has been delimited to be more powerful than is currently permitted under EU law (a top assisted speed of 25km/h with approximately 250 watts of power) will get three points on their driving licence and could even face a prison sentence of up to a year. The bike is also confiscated and changed back to its original limited guise before it can go back to the owner.
The law also applies to bike shops and manufacturers, with anyone attempting to sell tuning equipment or selling e-bikes capable of illegal speeds also facing the €30,000 fine and up to two years in jail.
Brands in Europe are cracking down on e-bike tuning, with Bosch introducing anti-tuning technology on its 2020 motor systems. A sensor will detect if the bike has been tuned, and an error code displays which then reduces the motor support to bring it back down to normal levels. If the system detects an error three times, the bike shuts down and has to be taken to a dealer to be diagnosed.
E-bike speeds recently became a hot topic in the UK, when an e-bike rider who was riding a modified electric bike in London struck a pedestrian who later died of her injuries. 32-year-old Thomas Hanlon was thought to be riding at around 30mph at the time of the collision, but was found not guilty of causing her death by dangerous driving earlier this month.