Cops are adopting unique method to catch non-street-legal e-bikes: ‘A little too ironic’

Move over, public transportation. Say hello to electric bikes — the newest trend in town. Originating in the 1990s, e-bike ownership is booming, with prices becoming more affordable along with a rising awareness of a warming planet.

While e-bikes come with a plethora of benefits, ranging from convenience to cutting down personal air pollution, the road to glory has not been the smoothest. Too fast for a bike lane and too slow for public roads, the laws regulating e-bikes have been a definite challenge.

Just be careful if you happen to be riding your e-bike in Washoe County, Nevada. Electrek reports that cops are adopting a unique method to be more nimble while catching non-street-legal electric bikes, and it’s raising a lot of eyebrows.

In an ironic strategy, police in Washoe County are now using e-bikes in an effort to catch those using e-bikes. The majority of offenses aren’t because e-bikes are illegal, but rather because they aren’t being driven in the proper areas.

Washoe County passed an ordinance that prohibits e-bikes from bike paths, forcing them to use the street along with cars. It’s a problematic solution since manufacturers, such as Sur Ron and Talaria, have been explicit that their e-bikes are not street-safe.

The traditional gas-powered transportation industry is responsible for over 20% of all earth-warming air pollution — which affects not only the climate but also our personal health. In an effort to reduce this number, starting in 2035, 17 states have agreed to no longer allow sales of new gas-fueled vehicles.

There are no federal laws regarding e-bikes, so regulations currently vary by state in a scattered attempt to keep up with their rising popularity. When purchasing an e-bike, make sure you do your research.

There has been a movement to encourage infrastructure for e-bikes as opposed to creating legislation against them. A compromise would be beneficial for riders, road safety, and the overall health of this planet.

One reader commented, “A little too ironic.”

Micah Toll, the self-described personal EV enthusiast and battery nerd who authored Electrek’s piece, wrote, “Alanis Morrissette, eat your heart out.”

“Washoe County has banned e-bikes from all bike paths,” said a local resident. “This seems counterintuitive to reducing car trips and pollution in the Lake Tahoe basin.”

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.