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New rules for power-assisted bicycles

Changes have been made to Queensland’s road rules to clarify the requirements for power-assisted bicycles.

Acting Transport and Main Roads Minister Steven Miles said the changes addressed concerns about illegal electric, moped-like vehicles being hired and sold on the Gold Coast as power-assisted bicycles.

“There has been a series of complaints on the Gold Coast about these high-powered mopeds putting pedestrians and riders at risk,” Mr Miles said.

“It’s often tourists and visitors to the Gold Coast who hire these vehicles, so of course they can’t be expected to know that what they’re hiring is illegal.

“High-powered mopeds and motorcycle-like devices don’t belong on our footpaths so what we’ve done is clarify our laws to better define what is legal and what isn’t when it comes to power-assisted bicycles.

“It’s now up to companies hiring out these vehicles to ensure their devices are legally allowed to be used on footpaths.”

Queensland laws require a bike, including power-assisted ones, to use pedals as the primary source of power.

The electric motor or motors on those types of bikes are only meant to assist the rider to pedal.

“What police are seeing on the Gold Coast are mopeds that can travel up to 40km/h, completely under the power of the motor, with no pedalling needed,” Mr Miles said.

“These changes make it clear that the motor on a bike cannot operate without the rider pedalling, except to help with initial take-off, up to 6km/h.

“The motor must cut out at 25km/h, with the rider able to pedal like a standard bike above this speed.”

Mr Miles said there needed to be a clear distinction between pedal-operated devices and a throttle-operated moped or a motorcycle, which must be registered for road use.

“Advances in technology have led to an increasing range of electric transport options available on the market, so it’s important riders take the time to understand the requirements and rules for their device.”

Mr Miles said the updated legislation for power-assisted bicycles was developed in consultation with the Queensland Police Service and the Office of Fair Trading.

“We have consulted with industry groups, bike riders, retailers and importers, as well as disability and aged groups.”

The rule changes came into effect on 28 June 2019.

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