Though a ‘cost reliever’, electric bikes could possibly be banned from busy public areas
By Isanella Patoir
Electric bikes, though a financial ease for many people, could possibly be banned from busy public spaces to protect the lives of motorists and other road users.
As a matter of fact, the National Road Safety Council, the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Revenue Authority are currently working to regulate the use of these bikes, especially since they are not catered for in Guyana’s Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act.
There are proposals on the table to implement rules such as an age limit for the use of these bikes – no person under 16 will be able to use these bikes; only one person will be allowed on the bikes; it must be registered; persons must adhere to the recommended weight limit; a helmet should be used and the rider must also possess a valid driver’s license. Rules for how these bikes utilise the road is also being developed.
But some people are not in agreement with these proposals.
“I don’t think they should get that, because it is just like a bicycle,” Teniesha Biswah, a single mother of three told the News Room.
The use of electric bikes has become increasingly popular in Guyana and has been a great relief for persons like Biswah. The young mother lives at Vreed-en-Hoop on the West Coast of Demerara but works in Georgetown.
She told the News Room that she bought her bike about a year ago and it has helped her significantly.
“The cycle is help a lot because passage is expensive and gas raise, it does really help me,” Biswah told the News Room.
But, a Patient Assistant at the Georgetown Public Hospital, Nerissa Layne is happy that the government is now moving to regulate the use of electric bikes.
“I have no problem with the rules because it will be better for us electric users; in case we get into an accident or so forth we could be able to have something to represent ourselves,” Layne said.
She lives on the East Coast of Demerara and since she got her bike, getting to work has been easier.
“It has benefitted me so well because it help to economise, financial wise and so far it has become useful, it is better with the traffic and so forth, I get to reach to work early,” Layne told the News Room.
Layne also called on the policymakers to help electric bike users get their documentation in a timely manner.
Meanwhile, Coordinator for the National Road Safety Council, Ramona Doorgen told the News Room that she is very concerned about the use of these bikes in busy and congested public spaces.
“At the Council, we don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable or unhappy, the bikes are there for use of easing persons in different types of burden, so we would call for a ban of them, we would call for a ban of them to be used in public spaces,” Doorgen said.
Doorgen noted that these bikes became even more popular over the Christmas holidays. She said due to the cheap cost associated with the bikes, they were given out as gifts
“Some of our concerns is they don’t follow none of the rules of the road because they are a small vehicle, they tend to go through all these small areas between trucks and high vehicles, they are not very visible so those are some of the problems and issues that you are having.
“There are kids that are riding them, the children are nine years old, eight years old, I saw that in the Leguan area. I even saw a child on Durban Street riding one of them,” Doorgen said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Road Safety Council, Earl Lambert told the News Room that in other countries, before these bikes were even in use, there were already rules put in place.
“Unfortunately, we have to be playing catchup so I am hoping that as quickly as possible, stakeholders will meet to discuss it,” Lambert said.