A man rides an electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike, in downtown Milan, Italy, May 18, 2018..
(photo credit: STEFANO RELLANDINI/REUTERS)
Police handed out 115 fines for offenses committed by electric-bike riders in Tel Aviv this week, a month after the Transportation Ministry moved to tighten regulations on motorized bicycles.
The ongoing campaign, targeting both cyclists and pedestrians who endanger all road users, focused on offenders who failed to stop at red traffic lights, didn’t yield the right of way, drove recklessly or used mobile phones while riding an electric bike. Fines were given out to both minors and adults.
Police hope their increased enforcement of traffic laws will lead to a change in the culture of driving and thus reduce the number of accidents.
The issue of accidents involving electric bikes came to the fore following the tragic death on September 24 in Tel Aviv of 17-year-old Ari Nesher, son of film director Avi Nesher. The young Nesher died after he and a friend were struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident while riding tandem on an electric bicycle.
Last month, following criticism about its mishandling of the issue, the Transportation Ministry issued a series of safety measures regarding the use of electric bikes. These included increasing enforcement, fines and education among electric bike users. The education campaign also targeted parents of minors who ride e-bikes.
Beginning January 1, 16-yearolds will be required to pass a licensing course to ride an electric bike. The measures include penalties for those under 16 caught illegally riding electric bicycles. The sanctions include a one-year postponement of a penalized e-bike rider’s entitlement to get a driver’s license.
Additionally, the ministry is imposing a NIS 10,000 fine on anyone tampering with an e-bike’s engine. Currently, electric bicycles with power of up to 250 watts and a maximum speed of 25 kph may be used by those aged 16 years or over.
The ministry also expanded the authority of municipal inspectors to include revoking the business license of those selling non-complying electric bicycles or fine such businesses NIS 10,000 per illegal e-bike.
Figures published by the National Road Safety Authority in September showed a significant increase in fatalities compared to previous years. Of the 208 people killed on Israel’s roads so far in 2018, 16 were riding electric bicycles. Four of those fatalities were under the age of 16.
According to data from the traffic-safety lobbying organization Or Yarok, between 2014 and 2017, the number of accidents involving electric bicycles more than tripled, rising from 692 to 2,185. A third of the victims were children and youths. In 2017, 248 of those injured were under the age of 16.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>