When is a bike not a bike?

Dunedin man Michael Herzog has been a regular fixture on the city's cycle lanes recently, riding his home-made machine made from the rear section and petrol engine of a 1970s Honda Nifty 50 motor scooter attached to bicycle front forks and wheel.

Herzog said the vehicle should be classed as an electric bicycle and allowed in cycle lanes.

He estimated he was stopped by police 15 times last week alone.

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The hybrid had cost him no more than $25 to build and he said it was a dream to ride.

"It handles absolutely great. I can stop it on a dime."

Michael Herzog is pulled over by Dunedin police on his home-made petrol-powered hybrid of motor scooter and bicycle.
Michael Herzog is pulled over by Dunedin police on his home-made petrol-powered hybrid of motor scooter and bicycle.

In May, he appeared in court charged with riding his scooter while suspended from driving.

He was fined court costs of $130 but not disqualified from driving.

Judge Michael Crosbie said the main issue was whether the power of the vehicle was sufficient for it to come under the definition of being a motor vehicle.

He accepted Herzog was riding it under mistake of fact. He noted at the time the defendant was wearing a helmet and would not ride such a machine again.

A police spokesman yesterday said officers were "making ongoing inquiries into the legality of the bike, and into what action should be taken".

A police spokesman said Herzog's bike, which had neither warrant of fitness nor registration, met the definition of a vehicle.

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NZ Transport Agency rules state a power-assisted cycle (for example, an electric bicycle) has an auxiliary electric motor with a maximum power of 300W or less, designed to be primarily propelled by the muscular energy of the rider.

Cycles fitted with petrol motors, low-powered scooters and cycles designed to be primarily propelled by an engine were classed as mopeds, which needed to be registered and driven by a licenced rider.