France imposes fines for ebike modifications
France will not look favourably at owners of e-bikes who rod their wheels in hot weather. The country has just adopted a law that could see “offenders” being hit with a €30,000 (£27,000) gross fine and up to a year in gaol. So they may be suspending their driving licence for up to three years.
There are no exceptions or loopholes, either— do something to change your e-bike for more speed or power and you may feel the wrath of the new legislation, known as the legislative clause L317-1 in French. Importers, distributors and dealers are all bound by the law.
As Electrek states, e-bike speeds are subject to EU-wide regulation, but France’s maximum speed limit for standard e-bike capacity is 25 km / h (15.5 mph), which is fairly high, even compared with pedal bikes. Therefore, it is no surprise that riders change their wheels, either by adjusting display settings or by having hardware adjustments such as speed sensors. E-bikes usually come with two settings for the European and US markets. Given that US regulations require speeds of up to 32 km / h, it is not uncommon for European riders to change their settings for extra power.
E-bikes are common in France but their riders don’t always use helmets, and higher-speed crashes are more risky, of course. E-bikes and scooters (which France has also cracked down on) have proved to be a threat to pedestrians— a problem officials are seeking to curb in cities like Paris ahead of municipal elections. It is doubtful that these stringent penalties would be enforced to the full extent of the law— especially because the law could prove difficult to enforce — but they are definitely intended to deter hot rodding, indicating that France would not be afraid to set an example of individuals to demonstrate that they mean business.