Q&A - Who Can Use a Cycle Lane?
Q: Hi I am a bike commuter and use the bike lanes often. I often encounter other types of people using the bike lane for various other activities, as well as people sometimes three of them on a motorized scooter. Please clarify, who is allowed to use the bicycle lanes in Kelowna?
A: Currently, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure does not mark cycling lanes on roads under it's jurisdiction. In addition, our Motor Vehicle Act is badly in need of an update to include facilities like this. I understand that amendments are in progress, but no one will tell me what they are or when they will be adopted.
This leaves you with municipal bylaws, in this case the City of Kelowna's Traffic Bylaw.
Section 9.1.2 (c) does require that if a bicycle path is available, the cyclist must use it.
However, you will also find this definition:
“Bicycle Lane” means a lane designated for the use of non-motorized vehicles or motor-assisted cycles with motors less than 50cc.
A vehicle defined in the bylaw is:
"Vehicle" means a device in, upon, or by which a person or thing is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except a device designed to be moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
This is interesting as the definition of vehicle specifically excludes a cycle:
"Cycle" means a device having any number of wheels that is propelled by human power and on which a person may ride.
So, a cyclist is required to use a bicycle path which is not defined in the bylaw, but cannot use a bicycle lane which is.
I think that the city should look at amending their definition of Bicycle Lane, replacing "non-motorized vehicles" with "cycles" and changing the reference from "bicycle path" to "bicycle lane."
Let's move on to the Motor Assisted Cylcle or MAC. Since motor assisted cycles are not defined in the bylaw, we can rely on the Motor Vehicle Act for a definition:
"motor assisted cycle" means a device
(a) to which pedals or hand cranks are attached that will allow for the cycle to be propelled by human power,
(b) on which a person may ride,
(c) to which is attached a motor of a prescribed type that has an output not exceeding the prescribed output, and
(d) that meets the other criteria prescribed under section 182.1 (3);
MACs must have electric motors and they are not rated in cubic centimeters as gasoline engines are. I suppose that this could be construed as a physical size limitation on the electric motor.
I understand the intent of the legislation, but strictly interpreted, neither a bicycle nor a motor assisted cycle can be used in a bicycle lane in Kelowna.