Police Address E-Bike Safety and Awareness
June 18, 2021, (Nelson, BC) – NPD would like to take the opportunity to address questions and concerns that members of the public have had in light of the increase in popularity of electric assisted bicycles (E-Bikes) in the City of Nelson. E-Bikes are classified as a Motor Assisted Cycle (MAC) under provincial law. Only electric powered MAC’s qualify for this designation, gas powered engines do not.
While E-Bikes have allowed the citizens of Nelson to more freely explore the hilly streets of our town, there are a number of safety points to keep in mind when operating E-Bikes or sharing the roads with E-Bikes. E-Bikes allow riders to travel much faster than the average non E-Cyclist on roadways. in order to prevent cyclist vs. vehicle collisions, both cyclists and motorists need to be aware of this reality. It can be difficult for motorists to judge the speed of cyclists in general, the increased speed of E-Bikes can make judging the speed of approaching cyclists even more difficult. NPD has received calls of concern regarding people operating E-Bikes at city speed limits on streets and in parks without wearing a helmet. As a reminder, it is required under provincial law to wear a helmet when operating a bicycle on any highway or city street, this is even more crucial when traveling at higher rates of speed that E-Bikes allow. NPD has added a link on their website for a more comprehensive list of regulations applying to E-Bikes. We encourage the public to reference if they currently operate an E-Bike or are thinking of buying one in the future. All cyclists are required under the BC Motor Vehicle Act to comply with the same regulations as a motor vehicle. This includes but is not limited to; obeying posted speed limits, travelling in the same lane of traffic flow and obeying traffic control devices and signs. With people enjoying Lakeside Park and soccer fields as the summer approaches, NPD reminds E-Bike riders to use caution on park pathways and give consideration to slowing down when sharing them with pedestrians.
E-Bike users are not required to hold a valid license but are required under Provincial law to be at least 16 years of age to operate an E-bike on any highway.
Both motorists and cyclists share the road and hold the responsibility to keep themselves and other users safe when utilizing city streets. NPD’s role is to ensure the safety of the public regardless of their chosen mode of transportation. We welcome any future questions or concerns as we move forward to a future that will likely continue to see an increased presence of E-Bikes on streets and highways.