RCMP impound electric scooter as Kelowna driver cries foul

Electric scooter impounded

A Kelowna man is questioning why he was pulled over by RCMP while riding his electric scooter in the bike lane on Baron Road earlier this week.

Kwame Balliston tells Castanet he was riding in the bicycle lane on Baron Rd. on Tuesday morning when he was pulled over by an RCMP officer. He was handed a ticket, had his scooter impounded and issued a driving prohibition.

The problem is it's not illegal to ride an electric scooter in a bicycle lane in B.C., provided the driver is wearing a helmet and the scooter's motor does not exceed 500 watts. The scooter must also have pedals, which manufacturers install to make the bikes legal, but they are mostly not used by riders. You don't even need a driver's licence — the rider just needs to be 16 years of age.

Balliston was riding an Armada Scooter Blitz 48V (500 W) battery-operated scooter and wearing a certified scooter helmet, travelling at 25 km/h when he was pulled over.

The scooter was impounded and to get it back Balliston will have to pay a $350 fee. If he doesn't pay the fee and get it back within seven days, he will be subject to a $20 per day storage fee.

"We had to shake our heads, you know, it was completely unreasonable. Had he (the officer) just done some fact-checking, he was just quick to jump the gun," says Balliston's wife, Carey.

"$350 bucks to get a scooter out of Mario's towing? I mean, times are challenging nowadays?"

Balliston has already tried to explain the situation and he is hoping to avoid going to court but so far his complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

"This was an unnecessary action by the officer, causing undue stress on our family. Fighting this in court? This is a complete waste of everyone's time. Except for the officer, maybe he will learn from his mistake."

Balliston is continuing to do everything he can to fight the tickets.

"I'll be fighting this and asking for an appeal."

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