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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

MP for Cariboo-Prince George writes a letter to residents amidst COVID-19

‘Partisan politics have no place in a pandemic,’ writes MP Todd Doherty

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Sinclar Group curtailing all sawmill operations temporarily

Nechako Lumber, Apollo Forest Products and Lakeland Mills to be curtailed for three weeks starting April 5.

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Most Read