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Legislation passed to license E-bikes, prohibit under-16 use

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 May 2023, 16:38 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana government and opposition on Wednesday agreed to amend the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act to provide for the licensing of electronic bikes (E-bikes), in an effort to regulate that newer mode of road transportation which has partly contributed to an increase in road accidents.

The amendment means that persons under 16-years old would be prohibited from operating E-bikes and such vehicles would have to be registered and licensed by the competent authorities.

“They have begun to pose a problem because our legal legislative architecture does not in its current form cater for them,” Attorney General Anil Nandlall told the House. He again assured that government would not be banning E-bikes.

Mr Nandlall said police force figures show that 11 persons were killed and 14 0thers seriously injured  as a result of the use of electric cycles from 2021 to 2023. “That is a completely unacceptable state of affairs,”  he said.

He observed that most times E-bike users do not wear helmets and so expose themselves to potential injury and even worse disability or death. He added that even more frightening is that some of the users are young persons even persons under the age of 16.

According to the Attorney General, e-bike users did not possess any form of vehicular licence and they took advantage of the fact that the Guyana Revenue Authority was not regulating those vehicles.

The Attorney General and Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn welcomed support by the opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) for supporting the legislative amendment. “This bill certainly is an important one that I am happy that those on the other side the Honourable members on the other side supporting the bill,” he said.

Opposition Shadow Home Affairs Minister Geeta Chandan-Edmond said the registration of E-bikes would assist law enforcement agencies to track down those vehicles. ” These devices can be tracked for law enforcement purposes,” she said.  She stressed the importance of regulating those bikes for safety and the maintenance of law and order. 

“In any society, personal safety must be paramount safety must from convenience, and I’m very pleased with this move to regulate the usage of the bikes.,” she said.

The Guyana Police Force had expressed concern that it had been hamstrung legally to take action against E-bikes.

Many E-bikes have a maximum speed of the now obsolete P-50 motorcycles that were licenced under the existing law.