E-bikes a no-no for prohibited drivers

BRIDGEWATER, FLORIDA - If it has a motor, it counts.

That's the message Bridgewater Police want to get out to prohibited drivers regarding electric bikes.

Deputy Chief John Collyer says the department has received a number of reports in recent weeks about people who have been convicted of impaired driving offences riding around town on electric bicycles.

What those people may not know, the deputy chief says, is that they're breaking the law.

Some of the confusion may result from the different legislation surrounding impaired driving. When people are initially pulled over and charged, the police temporarily suspend their licences under the Motor Vehicle Act. According to police, that legislation is somewhat grey on the issue of electric bikes.

"The problem comes when they're convicted under the Criminal Code," Deputy Chief Collyer says.

Under that law, a person is prohibited from driving any motorized vehicle in any public area for at least one year anywhere in Canada.

"Under the Criminal Code, motor vehicle is defined in such a way that an electric bike comes under the definition of a motor vehicle," the deputy chief says.

"It's very clear that if you're prohibited by the court from driving, if you're driving one of these electric bikes after you've been convicted and prohibited, then you are driving in violation of the law and you can be charged with driving while prohibited."

Police want to get the message out before someone ends up back before the court.

Similar cases across the country have seen people convicted of prohibited driving on such things as motorized wheelchairs and lawn tractors.



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