On Friday, June 23, 2017, the Westfield Police Department received a donation of a Polaris electric bicycle from Dennis Bolduc, owner of Indian Motorcycle of Springfield located at 962 Southampton Road in Westfield. The Polaris Nordic EV506 is an electronic bicycle with a pedal assist motor. What that means is when the rider pedals the bike the electric motor starts and helps to move the bicycle. If the pedals are not in motion, the motor disengages. This motor results in the bike moving faster with much less effort. Because of this, officers will be able to cover more ground in places that are completely inaccessible to vehicles and slow or difficult to access on foot or a traditional bicycle. The bicycle will be an enormous asset to the Westfield Police Department.
E-bikes are not just for law enforcement, they are available to anyone through many of the local bicycle shops in the area. They are an emerging bicycle platform which has left lawmakers scrambling to define them. E-bikes do not fit cleanly into the category of a moped or a scooter as defined by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 90 section 1, and although the law has not been amended yet, Massachusetts has adopted the Federal standard outlined in 15-U.S.C – 2085. This defines a “low-speed electronic bicycle” as: A two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor is less than 20 mph. Again, Chapter 90 has not been amended to reflect this language, but it can be found on the Mass DOT form, "Bicycle Conversion to Motorized Bicycle Affidavit of Owner".