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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lower age for B.C. e-bike riders

13-year-old letter writer asks politicians to look at trying to change the law

To the editor,

I am 13 years old and I live in Nanaimo. I was recently exploring more environmentally friendly and convenient ways of getting to NDSS for my Grade 9 year this coming fall (rather than taking the bus for 50 minutes or getting a ride). While researching I came across the possibility of e-bikes. Unfortunately the age restriction for e-bikes is 16 years old. Personally I feel 16 is unreasonable and should be slightly lower.

I gave it some thought and I believe the minimum age should be 12 or 14, if you complete some sort of road knowledge/safety test. 12 because it is the lowest age people normally start high school at, or 14 because it is a nice middle ground between 12 and 16. There is precedence for this seeing as in Alberta the minimum age is 12, 14 in Quebec (with a scooter/moped licence) and more globally, 14 in the U.K. Another possibility is lowering the power and speed limit of the motor for children under 16 to provide a safer option than a full-power e-bike. One of the possible benefits is providing a valuable stepping stone for new drivers before they turn 16 to learn the rules of the road. Lowering the age restriction could also lessen the pressure on the B.C. transit system in Nanaimo, especially after school at NDSS when there is a crowd of students pushing to get a spot on the bus.

The federal government has stated that they wish to increase the amount of e-bike users from 2.5 per cent to five per cent by 2030. I believe that among other benefits, lowering the age restrictions on e-bikes could help with that goal.

I don’t know exactly how the provincial laws are made/changed, but I was hoping our MLA and our MP could bring this up at a meeting.

David Anderson, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.