Sales and use of 'e-bikes' could face greater regulation in future

Electric bike riders should know by the end of the year whether the Government plans to tighten the rules around the devices' use.

The cycles can be partially powered by a rechargeable battery, making them much easier to ride than a normal bike, especially on hills.

New figures from Statistics New Zealand show imports have skyrocketed, rising from 1532 in 2013 to 13,364 last year.

But sales and use of "e-bikes" could face greater regulation in future, with the Transport Agency part way through a safety review.

"E-bikes are tremendously popular they're only getting more popular and we need to make sure we have a system in place that accommodates for that popularity and ensures that people can use e-bikes safely," says spokesman Andy Knackstedt.

The review will include a look at issues like speed and power, with some other countries requiring e-bike motors to stop assisting the rider when their speed exceeds 25 kilometres per hour.

Mr Knackstedt said use of the bikes in lanes shared by pedestrians was also being looked at, but emphasised that no decisions had been made.

"Before any new regulations are introduced there will be full public consultation so people will definitely have an opportunity to have their say and provide input into what those regulations should look like.

"It's not about putting barriers in place."

The review also includes other "low-powered vehicle" like segways and hoverboards.

Sales of the devices are skyrocketing so much the government’s looking at whether safety rules should be tightened. Source: 1 NEWS