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Old rules, new signs, never-ending complaints for North Okanagan Rail Trail

RDNO bylaw no. 2834 banning class 2 and 3 e-bikes was adopted in July 2021
(Hoodoo Adventures Instagram)

Some Rail Trail users in the North Okanagan are taking to social media to complain about banned e-bikes after new signs were erected along the route.

However, while the signs are new the bylaw is not, as it’s been in place for nearly 10 months.

Class two and three e-bikes have been banned from use on the Rail Trail in the north since July 21, 2021.

Signs went up recently that outlined these e-bike restrictions which caused a stir among cyclists, some of who took to social media to share their frustration, calling it ‘ridiculous’ and ‘stupid.’

Regional District of North Okanagan’s parks manager Brad Ackerman said the discussions to ban certain e-bikes and other vehicles in parks and on trails started in the summer of 2020.

“The update falls in line with the wording that is contained in B.C. Parks bylaws as well as Recreation Sites and Trails B.C., both of which have parks and facilities bordering the Regional District of North Okanagan,” Ackerman said, adding that the bylaw helps keep rules in the area more consistent.

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Ackerman said the banned bikes are actually classified as motorized vehicles, one reason for the restriction.

“Class one e-bikes are permitted on the Rail Trail… The restriction looks at class two and class three e-bikes. In regard to class two e-bikes, if there is a mechanism to be able to disable the throttle on a class two e-bike that would meet the requirements and be available for use on the Rail Trail,” he said.

The bylaw is enforced on a complaint basis as Ackerman said they don’t have the staff to be out monitoring every day.

“One of the big differences with the north section of the Rail Trail is it’s a recreational trail. We have it signed as a recreational trail and it’s heavily used by walkers, dogs, and people doing those types of recreation activities. Exercising proper trail etiquette to yield to pedestrians, move to the right when a bike approaches, pass on the left, and that is kind of that first line of enforcement and awareness.”

Ackerman said Vernon and Coldstream were consulted before the bylaw was adopted. Lake Country was not because it is part of the Central Okanagan.

View the bylaw here.

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