Rider cleared of killing in court case with chipped e-Bike

The rider accused of causing a death by careless driving while using a chipped e-Bike has been cleared of all charges at the Old Bailey.

Thomas Hanlon and pedestrian Sakine Cihan collided in August 2018, an incident from which Cihan did not recover due to head injuries described as “catastrophic”.

Given the speed at which Mr Hanlon’s bike was traveling, seemingly down to the modification of the motor to cruise beyond the standards applicable to electric bikes in the UK, the rider was deemed to be in charge of a motor vehicle and therefore faced charges of driving without a licence, among other charges.

The four day trial concluded yesterday, with the BBC reporting acquittal of the charge of causing death by careless driving. Jurors had to take into consideration the modification of the e-Bike, which enabled speed of up to 30 Mph through the 20 Mph zone where the crash happened.

Mr Hanlon’s defence barrister put forward that Ms Cihan crossed the road without looking, or acknowledging that traffic had right of way at lights that were shown to be green at the time.

As reported last week, the case was believed to be the first of its kind in the UK and therefore could set a precedent for how future cases are dealt with.

Manufacturers such as Bosch have moved to make the practice of ‘chipping’ motors much harder for those keen to modify motors, but the brand says that it is a constant battle to keep ahead of those developing ways to circumvent restrictions.

Separately, speed pedelecs are a topic for discussion in the bike industry, with LEVA-EU among those calling for a legislative assessment of what is and what isn’t classed as an e-Bike, moped or motorbike. The European e-Mobility organisation is in favour of softening the stance in a bid to encourage people from four wheels to two.