Skip to content

Letter: Education needed on e-bikes

'You could help improve the level of understanding in our community by presenting the other side of the story.'
GettyImages-Letter Squamish Aug. 10
A Squamish trail. Gwen L’Hirondelle is concerned about the use of motorized vehicles on local trails.

I am writing because I have concerns about your article “Company launches e-bike-motorcycle crossover,” published) in the Community Section of the July 21, 2022 issue of The Squamish Chief.

It is always good news to hear of a company working to reduce fossil fuel emissions and enabling more people to find alternatives for transportation. However, your article provides only the marketing perspective of the company and does not reflect the balanced, responsible journalism for which The Squamish Chief is known. The result was misleading.

Your article describes the company as having “created an e-bike” and describes a rider’s ability to “convert their ride from an e-bike to a moped.” The article states: “You don’t need a motorcycle license to operate it.”. The company’s co-founder is quoted as saying, "I think Squamish is perfectly set up for this kind of transportation because we have such an amazing network of pathways, and our bike lanes don’t run out like most cities.”

Some time spent with the ICBC website, the Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation (Motor Vehicle Act), and the DOS Off-Road Vehicle Bylaw No 1716 paints a different picture, at least for me.

This new vehicle doesn’t meet the criteria for an e-bike. It has more than 500 watts of power and a top speed of more than 32 km/h.

It isn’t a moped because it has an electric motor rated for more than 1,500 watts.

It’s, therefore, a motorcycle and much depends on its intended use rather than its source of power. The co-founder of the company is quoted as referring to bike lanes, which suggests the cycle is intended for use on streets and roads. For that, as I understand it, a vehicle license, motorcycle driver’s license and insurance would be needed.

If the motorcycle is intended for off-road use, then the DOS bylaw comes into the picture. That Bylaw prohibits off-road motorcycles from being ridden in DOS parks and on DOS trails. That bylaw would rule out riding the vehicle on key commuting routes like the Corridor Trail.

I am a local cyclist who has encountered electric motorcycles being ridden in one of our parks and on a nature trail. In both cases, the riders believed they were riding e-bikes and were confrontational. I have also seen electric motorcycles being ridden on the Corridor Trail but did not speak with the riders because they were moving too quickly.

Our DOS Bylaw staff are struggling to effectively deal with the confusion between e-bikes and electric motorcycles and are aware that fact-based education is needed.

You could help improve the level of understanding in our community by presenting the other side of the story.

Gwen L’Hirondelle


Editor’s note: Asked about some of these issues, the company sent the following reply:

The Lyric Graffiti comes with the capabilities to switch between “modes” on the bike. The bike is clearly marked both on the handlebar and in the instructions that the lower power setting is the “500-watt” e-bike setting. In this setting, the bike complies with the Canadian standard 500 watts of power and the bike is regulated to 32 kilometres in this mode.

In this mode, the Lyric Graffiti is a legal e-bike. When switched into the higher power mode, the bike is intended only to be used in off-road areas or private land.