Victoria college student Jason McCracken is facing hundreds of dollars in towing fees and RCMP tickets for not pedalling his motor-assisted cycle while the motor was running. (Jason McCracken/Submitted photos)

B.C. man fined for lack of e-bike insurance points finger at confusing rules

B.C. regulation says e-bike motors must turn off if rider stops pedalling, or bike must be insured

A college student in Victoria is frustrated after purchasing an electric bike this summer and receiving two tickets resulting in around $600 in towing fees and fines, including one for not having insurance that doesn’t exist in B.C.

Jason McCracken, a student at Camosun, said he was ticketed for riding his e-bike without insurance, even though ICBC does not offer insurance for his “motor-assisted cycle.”

READ MORE: Drivers ‘treated unfairly’ by ICBC rate overhaul can contact B.C.’s Ombudsperson

“I was told by ICBC personally and the dealer that I did not need [insurance],” McCracken told Black Press Media by phone on Tuesday.

He said he also called the Office of the Ombudsperson and a private insurance agency to confirm whether or not he needed insurance or to carry a licence while riding his e-bike.

“They said no.”

READ MORE: Scooter brings heat

The ICBC website says an electric bike, or motor-assisted cycle, is a two- or three-wheeled cycle with a seat, pedals and an electric motor up to 500 watts.

“You don’t need a drivers licence or need to register, licence and/or insure your MAC, but you are subject to the same rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle,” the website says.

What McCracken did not know was that, according to B.C.’s Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation, the motors of a motor-assisted cycle must turn off or disengage if the operator stops pedalling, an accelerator controller is released, or a brake is applied.

If the motor of an e-bike is on and the rider is not pedalling, the bike becomes a Class 5 motor vehicle under the law, and has to be registered and insured.

READ MORE: Motorized scooter pursuit in Duncan leads to charge against Nanaimo RCMP officer

“I did both pedalling and not pedalling,” he said, adding that the dealer he bought the e-bike from told him about the regulation, but only after he received his first ticket.

He said the Victoria RCMP traffic unit officer who pulled him over the second time cited the regulation.

By then he knew he was supposed to be pedalling, but said one of his pedals had fallen off and he was on his way to the dealership to get it fixed.

“It got me emotional, upset,” he said of the incident.

In addition to the cost of the tows and tickets, McCracken said he missed a day of work as a result of the confusion.

He has gone to the courthouse to dispute both tickets and is waiting for dates to make his case.

“I’m still going to ride my scooter,” he said. “But I’m worried because I go to college and I go to my work and I rely on my transportation.

“I wish there was a rule or structure in place that way people on scooters don’t have to get ticketed.

“Hopefully other people don’t get into the same boat that I’m in.”

READ MORE: Electric bikes OK on B.C. mountain trails

A statement from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure acknowledged that personal mobility devices are becoming more popular.

“We want to ensure these devices are operated safely and effectively and meet the needs of all road users,” the statement said.

“The province is currently evaluating the legislative, regulatory and policy frameworks to ensure that they help support and acknowledge all road users, and emerging active transportation modes.”



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Warning issued after several overdoses in Castlegar

Interior Health says the overdoses appear to be the result of cocaine contaminated with fentanyl.

Kootenay-Columbia candidates attend Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce 2019 election forum

About 120 people attended the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce 2019 election forum on Oct. 16 at the Prince Charles Theatre.

Green and NDP candidates talk strategic voting at Nelson public meeting

Wayne Stetski and Abra Brynne traded ideas but made no concessions for this election

Annual Windermere Fire Halloween Haunted House bigger than ever

Less scares earlier; more scares later at annual haunted house

Kootenay-Columbia candidate cautious after getting threats

Trev Miller of the Animal Protection Party carries on campaigning under shadow of threats, abusive emails

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Most Read