Concerns have been raised about the use of electric motorcycles in South Tyneside, with police urging the public to report issues. Northumbria Police at the West Shields, Cleadon and East Boldon Community Area Forum (CAF) last week, said the use of the vehicles on public land was a “real issue” for police nationally.
The comments were made following community concerns about electric motorbikes reaching dangerous speeds and putting members of the public at risk. Councillor Ernest Gibson, Whiteleas ward representative, said the bikes had been referred to by a former ward colleague as “silent assassins” as “you don’t see them and only come upon them once they’re on top of you”.
Cllr Gibson told the CAF meeting: “People are going to the shops and then they’re knocking people off their feet and as you know, some of these bikes can do 50mph. People think they’re just ordinary electric pedalbikes but they’re not, they’re actually motorbikes.
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“They’re designed like motorbikes and look like motorbikes but people are riding around, you have probably seen them, in the black hoodies. They say it’s not a motorbike, I don’t need a licence, I don’t need insurance but I think it’s illegal what they’re actually doing.”
Cllr Gibson made the comments during a neighbourhood police update at the CAF meeting on Thursday, July 28, at Cleadon Methodist Church. Sergeant John Bailey, responding, said: “Yes, definitely, one of the real issues that we have countrywide is the fact that shops can legitimately sell these items.
“At the point of sale they will actually identify it shouldn’t be used on a public road, electric scooters, electric bikes and as you say the motorbike-style. [Those who do] are committing offences, anyone riding them should have a licence and should have insurance.
“I would say, we need to know where they’re being seen and we need that reported via the Northumbria Police website. Also if people can identify where and people can contact us and say my neighbour two or three doors down has been out on an electric scooter or motorbike, then we can start doing things about it and identify that.”
Concerns about electric bikes and scooters have been raised at a number of South Tyneside CAF meetings in recent years. Police officers have previously said they’re targeting the issue and have seized vehicles in connection with nuisance behaviour.
In addition, police have stressed that education is key, with many parents not knowing the rules and regulations for such vehicles. Sgt Bailey added: “Ultimately when people get electric scooters or electric bikes the whole design is that they would then take them to some land that they’re actually entitled to ride them on – not public land.
“It’s a bit like the [off-road] motorbikes and quad bikes, if people buy them they should be going to proper off-road places with the consent of the landowner.”