Lately in Sidney, I have noticed a proliferation of scooter-style electric bikes being ridden and parked on sidewalks. I also noticed that many of these vehicles have had their pedals removed – I assume to make them look less of a bicycle and more of a scooter? Or more cool?
Nevertheless, one would assume that such heavy machines would be difficult to pedal anyway, but I digress.
The reason for this letter is to make the owners of these pedal-less machines aware of a recent court ruling by the B.C. Supreme Court which came about when a Chilliwack man was charged for riding without insurance after he removed the pedals from his electric bike. Under the terms of the Motor Vehicle Act, electric bicycles are defined as Motor Assisted Cycles, or MACs. And if the pedals are removed, then the vehicles can no longer be propelled by human effort, thus cannot be classified as MACs.
So if these vehicles are no longer able to legally use the public roadway and are no longer bicycles, should they be allowed on local bicycle trails or lanes?
And it would appear that the current pedal-less vehicles that are using the roadway bike lanes, are now uninsured vehicles.
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that to be classified as a true electric assisted bicycle, it should be designed in such a way that it can be pedalled easily. The motor/battery should be to assist, not be the sole motive force.
How will the local authorities deal with these unclassified vehicles?