The Ulster Unionist Party’s East Antrim MLA, John Stewart, has called for common sense to be used in relation to the confusion which has arisen over the need to regulate electric bikes in Northern Ireland.
John Stewart, who is his Party’s Infrastructure spokesperson, said:
“The first point to make is that there is no doubt that the legislation relating to the use of electric bikes in Northern Ireland should have been amended back in 1995 when it was changed in GB.
“It is totally unacceptable that cyclists in Northern Ireland who have bought electric bikes in good faith, should be punished for something that is totally outwith their control.
“We are supposed to be trying to encourage the public to become more environmentally friendly. As part of that strategy we are meant to be encouraging people to leave their cars behind and take up cycling, so it is nothing short of ludicrous to suggest that cyclists who have purchased electric bikes should be threatened with a fine of up to £1,000 and six penalty points for riding an electric bicycle in Northern Ireland without a proper licence.
“There is simply no earthly reason why electric bikes in Northern Ireland need to be insured, taxed and registered with the DVLA given that the law in GB changed 22 years ago.
“As it turns out, legislation was being progressed in Northern Ireland which would have brought us into line with the rest of the UK but this has been stymied by the inability to re-establish an Executive at Stormont.
“This issue is yet another example of why we need to get devolved government restored. It may not have the same impact as the crisis in our health service or uncertainty surrounding school budgets, but nonetheless, it is something which affects people in Northern Ireland, and which Stormont should be taking steps to resolve.”