Mitch Underhay, left, and Isaac Williams ride their bikes on Victoria Row. The two members of Bike Friendly Charlottetown want to see e-bikes safely integrated into the existing Island cycling community. – Michael Robar As active transportation becomes more prevalent across P.E.I. and the number of e-bikes increases, it’s time legislation catches up, say cycling advocates.
Isaac Williams and Mitch Underhay, with the group Bike Friendly Charlottetown, say the Highway Traffic Act is confusing for e-bike users.
While proper e-bikes — bicycles with electric motors referred to as power-assisted bicycles — don’t require a licence to operate in P.E.I., language in the Highway Traffic Act suggests they do.
Under the definition for “motorcycle,” it says it “includes a bicycle with a motor attached” and the definition for moped or motor-assisted pedal bicycle includes vehicles “provided with an electric motor.”
Williams and Underhay don’t want to see e-bikes classed differently than other bicycles because they encourage bike use and increase accessibility.
“The intention of the technology is not to create a new class of vehicle for the road … the goal is to blend right in," said Williams.
“We basically want to encourage their use. We don’t want to put up barriers and we want to make sure they’re safe," said Underhay.But Graham Miner, director of Highway Safety, says proper e-bikes don’t fall actually under the definition of a motor vehicle, as they require muscular power to operate.“Generally, what we’ve been doing here with e-bikes is if the principle means of power is you can pedal […]