Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan has welcomed the move today to make e-bikes more accessible to the public by removing regulatory burdens but has stressed that the expansion of active travel infrastructure must be pursued.
The Newry and Armagh MLA stated:
“E-bikes will help make cycling more attractive to a much wider audience such as those who have to travel longer distances or who couldn’t make their journey on a traditional bike.
“However, there is a wider opportunity at this present moment to really step up our commitment to sustainable transport.
“I welcome the initiative by the minister to appoint a walking and cycling champion however this needs to be followed through with real delivery.
“Cities across the world, Dublin included, have implemented ‘pop up’ cycle lanes as a way to improve safety and social distancing during Covid-19 and it’s time the north joins in.
“Prioritising the uptake of walking and cycling means investing in a sustainable future. It means tackling congestion and air pollution as well as improving public health both physically and mentally.
“Awareness and participation in active travel has grown during the COVID-19 crisis and legislation on e-bikes is to be welcomed in that context.
“Other important legislative responses are required from the Dept for Infrastructure to look at in the context of COVID-19, such as planning permission, and we will continue to hold the Infrastructure Minister to account with regard to decisions and action that needs to be taken.”