NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. — Police in Neptune Beach say some electric bikes are a problem, and they’re a problem police can’t tackle alone.
This is the same area Action News Jax told you about a few weeks ago where a woman got hurt in a crash that involved an e-bike.
The Chief’s Walk on Wednesday was in the same area, and Neptune Beach Police Department heard from the community and let those who live there know what they’re doing as an agency in general. E-bikes, however, was a hot topic.
“I’m just waiting. I’m like, ‘Someone is going to get hurt,’” said Neptune Beach resident Tes Brinkley.
Electric bikes may be fun, but residents like Brinkley and police say they can be dangerous when driven recklessly.
On 23 days from August to October, NBPD worked 36 traffic stops involving e-bikes. There were 27 warnings, 9 citations and 1 arrest. Chief Michael Key said there’s a prolonged approach to prevent these issues.
“We need compliance, and we need it from everyone,” he said. “That includes the general public and parents who give [these kids] e-bikes to operate. We need them to teach them a safe way to operate them. We need education. We engage with local schools.”
Chief Key said the state legislature hasn’t caught up with e-bikes.
“If you take a regular bicycle and you slap a gas combustion engine on it and remove the pedals, that suddenly becomes illegal,” Key said. “Gas combustion goes 15 mph, but it’s loud and can only go certain speed limits. Now, we have e-bikes going 30-40 mph, and they’re silent, causing traffic issues.”
It should be noted that the City of Neptune Beach has a municipal ordinance that says e-bikes can’t be driven in a reckless manner, which police say helps.
“I do see police here, and they have stopped quite a few of them,” said Brinkley. “But I don’t know, they will sit on different streets, but that’s all I think they could do.”
Key said the Florida Police Association and the Florida Sheriff’s Association are concerned about e-bikes as well, and they’re looking at different avenues to make changes and get new bike technology updated with laws.
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