Pedego Oyama operator relieved with decision to allow Class 2 e-bikes on Kalamalka section of Okanagan Rail Trail

Rail trail rules relief

The lifting of a ban on Class 2 e-bikes on the Kalamalka Lake stretch of the Okanagan Rail Trail comes as a relief for the owner of Pedego Oyama.

This spring, new signage popped up advising users of a bylaw restricting trail use to Class 1 electric bikes. That caught many who had no idea about the restriction off guard.

“We started a petition because we really knew how many of our Okanagan residents have Class 2 e-bikes out there. And we really wanted to make sure that the governing body, which was the Regional District of North Okanagan, recognized that and was able to reconsider their decision,” says Pedego co-owner Sheila Fraser.

More than 4,200 people signed the petition. Fraser says that speaks to how important e-bikes and the rail trail are to the people of the Okanagan.

Many of the bikes Pedego rents would have been impacted by the restriction.

On Wednesday, RDNO directors voted to allow the use of Class 2 e-bikes on the Kalamalka Lake portion of the trail, after a unanimous vote at the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee earlier this month to recommend lifting the ban.

However, the trail is still off-limits to Class 3 e-bikes, because of the speeds they can reach.

Fraser understands safety concerns along the trail.

“This is a mixed, multi-purpose trail. To coin the phrase that they used initially, an active transportation corridor that connects communities. And that means that all ages, all abilities and all types of active transportation are out on that trail.

“Because it’s such a fantastic trail, it gets used a lot. So, when you get a lot of congestion, sometimes you get conflict.”

She says that’s why her business needs to provide good training and education about trail etiquette.

Pedego Oyama will be hosting an introductory event for new riders called “The 3 Es of Cycling – Education, Etiquette and E-bikes on Saturday, 10:15 to 11: 30 a.m. It’s open to all cyclists who are new to e-biking or getting back into riding and want to learn basic maintenance and rules of the road.

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