Alliance MLA and Infrastructure Spokesperson Andrew Muir has welcomed the changes to the use of E-Bikes in Northern Ireland, that will come into effect tomorrow and no longer require them to be registered, licensed or insured before road use.
Speaking during a debate in the Assembly, Mr Muir – himself a keen cyclist – said that while he regretted the length of time it had taken for this law to change, the move was coming at a “crucial time” as we seek to achieve an active travel revolution in context of both COVID-19 and declared Climate Emergency.
“This is a debate that has been going on for years, and I must pay tribute to all those who have been fighting for this change for years, including my colleague Chris Lyttle who is chair of the all-party group on cycling and helped put the wheels in motion to get the breaks released".
“This change will help make cycling more attractive for everyone regardless of fitness levels and not an uphill battle when those steep streets appear.
“Yet as we move forward, this legislation must be only the start of a journey towards a real active travel revolution.
“More people will cycle if bikes are affordable, which is why last week I called on the Minster to investigate discount vouchers to encourage people to invest in cycling. More people will cycle if they have segregated cycle lanes that make them feel safe while doing so, which is why I call on the Minister to swiftly bring forward plans for pop-up cycle lanes and funding for Greenway Schemes developed and ready to go by many Councils, including in Ards and North Down with potential to link Kinnegar to Donaghadee and Comber Greenway to the Town, Newtownards and then Bangor. Together we can and must change how we travel.
“With eScooter trials due to commence in England and Public Hire Schemes already in place elsewhere such as Munich consideration also needs to be given on better ways to encourage and regulate eScooters and eStakeboards focused upon safeguarding everyone whether it be users, pedestrians and others on the roads.”