In this photo taken Wednesday, May 15, 2019, customer Torre Treece, left, talks with Rad Power Bikes sales associate Becs Richards about the two electric bikes he bought at the shop in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Treat an e-bike like a motorcycle, you’ll get penalized like a motorcycle

Recently an individual posted on one of the local Facebook pages regarding receiving a ticket from North Island Traffic Services while operating their e-bike in Campbell River.

Recently an individual posted on one of the local Facebook pages regarding receiving a ticket from North Island Traffic Services while operating their e-bike in Campbell River.

RCMP spokesperson Const. Maury Tyre says in a weekly RCMP report that there is much confusion regarding the use of e-bikes and their place in legal operation and recent case law has shaped the way police may deal with e-bike operators.

Officially, e-bikes do not require a licence or insurance if they are pedal assisted, are under a certain wattage and cannot operate beyond a 33km/hr threshold. However, this means they must be treated as bicycles.

Where riders of these e-bikes are getting into an issue is how the E-bikes are being used. Again, the use of these E-Bikes and E-scooters must be equivalent to that of a bicycle, meaning:

  • Pedals must be attached during operation (The definition of the accepted vehicle is PEDAL-ASSISTED after all);
  • Cyclists are to use the three feet of rideable surface at the side of the roadway (Not riding down the middle of the road for the entirety of your journey-you can take a lane if you are turning at an intersection)
  • No doubling (for most of these E-bikes, there is absolutely no way to access the pedals to assist your engine if you are doubling another person)

Presently, there is no insurance or licence available for e-bike operation, but when the bikes weigh several hundred pounds, they become an extremely dangerous commodity on the road if not operated the way in which they were intended. There have been pedestrians struck, accidents, failed signals, and failures to stop associated with these e-bikes over the last year and for the most part, the operators at those times were very much treating their E-bike like a motor bike and operating in a very dangerous manner including operating while being impaired.

At this point it is very much an officer’s discretion whether an operator of an E-bike will be pulled over, spoken to, or ticketed and for the most part that is based on their ability to follow the rules associated to cycling or whether they are treating their E-bike like a motorbike, Tyre says.

If using the E-bike like a motor bike, operators may see fines for:

  • Operating a vehicle with no insurance: $596
  • Drive without a valid licence: $368

“Police have found that some of the e-bike operators are individuals who have lost their licences to drive for various reasons over the years and unfortunately they have transferred that unwillingness top follow road rules to their new form of transportation,” Tyre says. “It’s these same bad drivers that have brought the extra scrutiny to e-bike operations.”

If you would like to report a crime, contact the Campbell River RCMP at 250-286-6221 or in an emergency call 911.

Campbell River RCMP Weekly Report for the week from Nov. 25 to Dec. 1

The Campbell River RCMP responded to 337 files for service from Nov. 25 to Dec. 1, bringing Campbell River’s total files to date up to 15,723 calls for service.

For the same period in 2019, Campbell River RCMP responded to 292 calls for service, with a grand total as of Dec 1, 2019 at 15,424 file. In total that means a two per cent increase in call volume over 2019, which is a modest increase, however, with COVID 19 restrictions there was a substantial drop in tourist traffic this year and a lesser amount of files generated in the early months of the pandemic. The detachment remains significantly busier than year for our fall months than we were in 2019.

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