Italian track rider Simone Consonni’s world championships was brought to an abrupt end after a collision with one.

He left Glasgow with a broken collarbone rather than a medal after colliding with an e-bike laden with panniers on a cycle path.

More recently, Ben Williams, a 24-year-old PhD student studying in Glasgow, told how he had suffered a torn kidney in a crash caused by a courier riding at around 15mph the wrong way along a two-lane cycle path.

Electric bikes are only legally allowed to travel at 15.5mph but some can reach speeds of up to 30mph. Dozens of modified bikes were seized by police in Glasgow city centre last month.

The Herald: Police Scotland seized 15'illegal' e-bikes and scooters in Glasgow city centrePolice Scotland seized 15'illegal' e-bikes and scooters in Glasgow city centre (Image: Newsquest)

With food delivery couriers under pressure to complete deliveries are quickly as possible, some are opting to share the cost of the bikes, which can cost around £1000.

Aside from the legality of the bikes themselves, complaints about couriers cycling on pavements and going through red lights are common.

"It should be easy - an e-bike should only go faster when pedals are in use," says Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motoring.

"Any bike that accelerates using a throttle arrangement with no pedalling is a motorbike requiring a licence and insurance.

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He said last week's King's Speech was a missed opportunity to update legislation around new forms of personal transport including e-bikes and scooters.

"Essentially we want clear regulations and especially for e-scooters clear technical definitions for each category," he said.

READ MORE: Illegal e-bikes seized in police crackdown on speeding food delivery couriers 

"It should also become an offence to tamper with personal transport devices to make them go faster.

"It's ridiculous that illegal personal mobility devices are openly on sale with no standards for their safe construction let alone their safe use.

"Once regulations are in place the police can enforce them."

Cycling Scotland's road safety manager Simon Bradshaw has said he food delivery companies need to do more to check their riders' bikes are legal and Mr Greig agrees.

He said: "It is unacceptable that the big firms take no responsibility for the tampered bikes they encourage their self-employed riders to use by setting faster and faster times."

Deliveroo, which employs around 50,000 couriers, says it condemns the use of illegal e-bikes and fully supports efforts by Police Scotland to tackle the problem.

"Road safety is a priority for Deliveroo," said a spokeswoman.

“All our riders are required to meet minimum safety standards and, as with all road users, they must follow all local traffic laws and road regulations. If incidents are reported to us involving riders, we investigate and work with the authorities to take appropriate action where necessary.” 

READ MORE: Catriona Stewart: E-bike couriers scare me so why am I on their side 

Delivery riders are one of the fastest-growing forms of employment and it's not an easy gig.

They are classed as self-employed so they do not benefit from national insurance contributions, there is no company pension or holiday pay.

Couriers earn around £60 to £80 for 12 hours’ work while the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found riders were earning, on average, less than national minimum wage for those over 25 while it also spoke to one who was earning just £2 an hour.

One Glasgow courier told The Herald that his bike was sourced in Manchester and could reach a speed of 25mph but said he wouldn't accelerate to that speed in the city, acknowledging that they can be intimidating for pedestrians.

"You have to respect people," he said, mentioning that he had been knocked off his bike recently by a driver who failed to stop.

Justeat says it is predominantly a marketplace, which means that the majority of the 75,000 partners are independent businesses "who directly employ or engage their own couriers".

A spokeswoman said: "We do everything we can to ensure couriers are working safely and acting responsibly, and we provide reminders about compliance and behaviour to local courier teams whenever we are notified of any problem. 

"We take a range of actions depending on severity, with a zero-tolerance approach to criminal behaviour."

READ MORE: Italian track cyclist injured in Glasgow cycle path crash with e-bike rider 

The UK government says modified e-cycles that exceed speed and power limits remain illegal to drive on the road unless the rider registers, insures and taxes the vehicle in line with motorcycle requirements.

The Herald: Complaints about speeding and swerving e-bikes are rising Complaints about speeding and swerving e-bikes are rising (Image: Newsquest)

Riders who fail to comply are committing a range of offences liable for police enforcement including fines and penalty points.

However, David Kennedy, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, said recently that there are not enough police officers on the street to deal with people riding bikes that are not legal.

In one weekend last month Police Scotland seized 15 e-bikes and e-scooters in Glasgow as well as reporting more than 20 people for various road traffic offences.

Road Policing Inspector, Hugh Niccolls, said: "We have been carrying out joint patrols with officers from the local Problem Solving team in Glasgow City Centre in response to complaints and incidents relating to e-bikes and e-scooters that are not road legal.

"Our focus is on educating riders on safety and legislative requirements, as well as using enforcement action where necessary.

He said the e-bikes and scooters they come across "don't tend to have been modified" but many don't comply with government guidance.

The owner of a Glasgow bike shop said there had been a number of incidents involving professional cyclists and customers. 

He said "One customer broke a collar bone - the guy on the electric didn't even stop.

"There's far too many of them and they go far too fast. On a daily basis, I have to look over my shoulder and wonder who is coming up behind me.

"Basically they are HGVs on our bike path. I don't consider them bicycles. I don't know where they are getting the money to buy them."

A spokesman for the UK Government's Department of Transport said:  “Safety is our priority, and while enforcement is a matter for the police, we have set out clear guidance on what e-bikes are legal – with strict limits on speed and power.”