Simon Cowell Broke Back Falling From Motorbike, Not Electric Bike Leave a comment

Media reports have wrongly stated that British music mogul Simon Cowell broke his back in the courtyard of his Malibu home falling from an electric bike. In fact, he was riding an electric motorbike with a top speed of 60mph—most e-bikes in the U.S. are pedal-assisted and limited to providing power through to 20mph. (In the EU, the top speed assistance allowed for most e-bikes is 15.5mph.)

Cowell fell from the high-powered machine at the weekend and, in a tweet, he thanked the medical staff who treated him in a Los Angeles hospital. The talent show judge sent a “massive thank you to all the nurses and doctors,” calling them “some of the nicest people I have ever met.”

Cowell was taken to hospital after falling off an imported SWIND EB-01 electric motorbike produced by Swindon Powertrain of Swindon, Wiltshire, England, and which has a 15 kW motor and retails for £16,000+. The 60-year-old said he should have “read the manual” before riding what he called an “electric trail bike.”

SWIND tweeted in February that it had shipped one of its electric motorbikes to a customer in Los Angeles.

“If you buy an electric trail bike,” Cowell tweeted, “read the manual before you ride it for the first time.”

He also thanked fans and friends for their “kind messages” and advised them to “stay safe.”

Cowell had an operation on August 8 that involved having a metal rod put in his back. He was said to have been testing his new electric motorbike when the fall occurred.

The music mogul has several fleets of electric bikes, with machines in his homes in the U.S. and the U.K. The SWIND EB-01—which is described by Swindon Powertrain as “brutally fast”—is classed as an electric motorbike in the EU, requiring full type approval, registration, tax, licence, insurance and a motorbike helmet to be worn.

According to the U.K.’s Bicycle Association the machine has been mislabelled by the mainstream media: “This vehicle has, misleadingly in our opinion, been described as an ‘electric bike’ or ‘e-bike,’” said a statement from the organization.

Twenty-six U.S. states, including California, operate a three-tiered e-bike classification system, with the top speed of a class 3 pedal-assisted electric bicycle being 28mph. The other two classes of e-bike top out at 20mph, with the class 2 e-bike not requiring pedal assistance.

The SWIND EB-01’s 60mph top speed puts it outside of these three classifications.

States with a three-tiered classification system typically exempt an e-bike from registration, licensure and insurance requirements to differentiate between e-bikes and other motorized vehicles such as mopeds and scooters, says the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“The Bicycle Association, on behalf of the U.K. cycling industry, would stress that what are usually referred to as e-bikes for sale in U.K. cycle shops have almost nothing in common in technical or safety terms with the electric motorbike which was ridden by Simon Cowell at the time of his [incident].”

The organization adds: “There is very little risk of any electric bike bought in the U.K. causing an unintentional wheelie.”

Article amended August 11 with details of the SWIND EB-01 electric motorcycle, replacing mention of the CAB Recon electric motorbike produced by CAB Motorworks of California. Thanks to Simon Cowell’s SVP Syco Entertainment US for the update.

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