Pedestrians and cyclists are pictured sharing a section of the Okanagan Rail Trail in this file photo.(Carli Berry/Capital News)

Pedestrians and cyclists are pictured sharing a section of the Okanagan Rail Trail in this file photo.(Carli Berry/Capital News)

Lake Country council bites back on e-bike ban

‘We should be at least communicating with the other partners when we’re introducing a rule like that’

The sudden appearance of signs banning certain e-bikes from the Rail Trail has the District of Lake Country peddling a letter.

During their May 17 meeting, Councillor Blair Ireland suggested they write to the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) with their concerns.

“Whilst we all have control over our certain areas, we should be at least communicating with the other partners when we’re introducing a rule like that,” said Ireland. “Not being blind-sided by having signs being put up overnight.”

The rule is that Class 2 and 3 e-bikes are banned from use on the Rail Trail. Class 2 e-bikes have a top speed of about 32km/h, and Class 3 e-bikes can hit speeds of 45km/h. The RDNO put the rule in place in July 2021, however, the signs only went up in the last couple of weeks.

“We agreed at the beginning we would work in concert,” added Ireland.

Councillor Penny Gambell had a different take.

“Why wouldn’t we invite them (RDNO) to meet with us,” said Gambell. “We haven’t had that opportunity yet.”

Gambell said that she felt it was unreasonable to limit or restrict e-bikes on the Rail Trail, and added she would like to see a bigger focus on courtesy to pedestrians.

“If somebody is walking, and somebody is riding at 30km/h on an electric bike they need to be aware and go around the person or slow down and take appropriate action,” she said.

District staff informed council that there are signs on the Rail Trail indicating pedestrians do have the right of way. As well, the volunteer group Friends of Okanagan Rail Trail are often out answering questions from users and modelling good behaviour.

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@GaryBarnes109
gary.barnes@kelownacapnews.com

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bike lanesBikingCity CouncilLake CountryNorth Okanagan Regional District