Hudson Bay’s town council has decided that ebikes will be allowed on Hudson Bay trails for the foreseeable future.
This has pleased Robin Belhumeur, owner of Hudson Bay Ebike Adventure, who brought the issue to council.
Teresa Parkman, Hudson Bay’s administrator, said during the June 9 council meeting that there is no bylaw or policy regarding bikes on the town trails but motorized vehicles are not allowed. Ebikes do not qualify as a motorized vehicle so, following council discussion, ebikes will be allowed on the trails barring any complaints from fellow trail users.
“If we find there were more complaints then maybe we have to review it or put more signage out for education for the walkers and the cyclers that this is a shared trail,” Parkman said.
Ebikes are power-assisted pedal bikes that allow for the riders to be assisted as they go uphill or take a break while still keeping a steady speed. This means that riders of all levels can ride together and keep up with each other, Belhumeur said.
“A grandma can go riding with a teenager, and they can keep up with one another, they can talk back and forth. So it does have a lot of possibilities in terms of demographics.”
While it is a cross between a motorcycle and a pedal bike, Belhumeur said it relates more to the pedal bike side of the equation.
Belhumeur is an avid bike rider himself and ebikes are a fairly new mode of transportation, not only to the region but also to Canada. Belhumeur said there are only a handful of ebike rental operations across the country and Hudson Bay has a lot of quad and snowmobile trails and old logging roads that would be great for ebike users to venture on.
Belhumeur has already had comments from people who say the town trails have been made more accessible via his ebikes rentals.
“A lot of my customers so far, they've been out on the walking trail and they said, my goodness is beautiful. I've never done it before, you know, it's just too too much of a walk for me to do.”
While trails are open to all residents and tourists, ebikes are just another way for people to enjoy the trails, Parkman said.
“We really do look forward to the business opportunity. For our local people and for our out of town like our tourism stuff it's an exciting thing. We're gonna support that, and work together to try to make all users appreciate the walking trail,” Parkman said.
Belhumeur stated in his user agreement that the trails are to be shared with other users and to respect fellow trail users. Each bike is equipped with a bell to notify walkers that a biker is coming up from behind them.
Parkman said they are willing to work with Ebike Adventures on educating all trail users about trail etiquette and making sure the trails are safe and used properly by everyone.