Petition launched against Okanagan Rail Trail e-bike ban | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Petition launched against Okanagan Rail Trail e-bike ban

An electric bike business has launched a petition against a controversial new bylaw restricting some electric bikes from using the Okanagan Rail Trail.

The petition argues the bylaw that restricts electric bikes that have a throttle is discriminatory against less able-bodied cyclists.

The petition quickly garnered more than 600 signatures in less than 24 hours.

The controversy comes after the Regional District of North Okanagan recently added signage to the Okanagan Rail Trail restricting the bikes. The Regional District said it did so after receiving multiple complaints.

The bylaw allows electric pedal assist bikes, but not those that have a throttle or a certain motor size.

"It is important to note that a Class 2 electric bike has the identical operating and maximum speed features as the Class 1 e-bike (which is permitted) with the one addition of the on-demand throttle," the petition reads. "The on-demand throttle assists less able-bodied riders to start smoothly from a standing position and move up inclines with ease while picking up the correct gear and pedal assist level. It can also assist when a fatigued rider wants or needs to complete a longer ride."

READ MORE: No fines issued yet for using banned e-bikes on Okanagan Rail Trail

The petition goes on to say that prohibiting electric bikes with throttles restricts seniors, and injured or less-abled people from using the North Okanagan part of the rail trail.

"Contradicting the core objective of connecting communities with an active transportation pathway for people of all ages and all abilities," it reads.

"Not knowing or understanding the boundaries of the Regional District of North Okanagan jurisdiction, the public was frustrated, confused, and caught off-guard by this newly posted bylaw. The primary demographic of Class 2 electric bikes owners is 55 plus who utilize the throttle as the assistance tool that it is," the petition says. "The majority who desire to be law-abiding will stop using the trail so as to not break the law. This does not serve the objective of the trail and is discriminatory against this demographic."

The petition was launched by Sheila Fraser who says she owns Pedego Oyama.

"We are Okanagan Rail Trail supporters where a donation from every ebike rental is annually given back to the maintenance of the Okanagan Rail Trail," the petition reads.

The petition can be found here.

READ MORE: Complaints from users behind new Okanagan Rail Trail e-bike restriction signage

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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