It’s Official! – Class 2 Electric Bikes Welcome on Okanagan Rail Trail
June 16. 2022
Class 2 ebikes (with throttle assist) are officially allowed on the entire Okanagan Rail Trail (ORT) in a turn of events that has Pedego Oyama owners and electric bike advocates Sheila and Murray Fraser celebrating.
A recommendation put forward by the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee (GVAC) to the Regional District of North Okanagan’s (RDNO) allowing Class 1 and Class 2 ebikes to be designated as a permitted use on the popular Okanagan Rail Trail was approved by the RDNO board at a meeting held in Coldstream Wednesday, June 14. Signage on the trail will be installed to reflect the change.
“This is fantastic!” said Sheila Fraser. “This is the right decision for an active transportation corridor like the ORT that connects communities together.”
This spring, new signage on the section of the Okanagan Rail Trail between Coldstream and Lake Country advised users of a bylaw restricting trail use to Class 1 electric bikes. Many riders, some with mobility challenges or simply who live in hilly terrain, or have great distances to travel, rely on a Class 2 ebike with throttle for an extra boost of assistance.
Fueled by an online petition that received more than 4,200 signatures in opposition to the Class 2 ban, Fraser made a delegation to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee (GVAC) June 1. At that time, a decision in principle was made recommend the change to the bylaw.
Having this final decision in place is huge for the Frasers who now return to business as usual at Pedego Oyama, providing fun experiences for people wanting to explore Vernon, Coldstream, and Lake Country.
“We’ve heard from a lot of passionate bike riders over the past several weeks and we’ve learned that we could all use a little more education and etiquette when we’re out on our bikes – whether they are electric or regular,” says Sheila Fraser. “So, we are taking this valuable lesson to heart and doing something about it.”
On Saturday, June 18, Pedego Oyama is launching an intro event called “The EEEs of Cycling – Education, Etiquette and E-bikes!” This one-hour (10:15 – 11: 30 a.m.) session is open for all cyclists who are new to e-biking or getting back into cycling and want to learn more about ebikes, basic maintenance and rules of the road. The seminar takes place at Pedego Oyama at 15686 Pelmewash Parkway, next to Gatzke’s Farm Market. This first session is fully booked. If the demand is there, more sessions will be offered.