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A supervisor is required for riding scooters with an L
They look super-cute and they are inexpensive to ride - scooters, a.k.a. motorcycles with step-through frames, are in vogue and their numbers are increasing on Bowen Island. Yet there have been questions about what licences are required to ride a scooter and Cpl. Nancy Joyce of the Bowen Island RCMP shares the facts as well as her personal opinion on how to stay safe on local roads, especially for young drivers.
“On a learner’s licence, there are some restrictions that apply,” she said. She explained that drivers who have a class 7 L licence are required to ride with a supervisor who is 25 years or older and has a valid drivers licence. Among other requirements are a speed restriction, daylight riding only, zero blood alcohol and the L has to be clearly displayed. “If you ride a scooter with a learner’s licence, your supervisor has to follow you,” says Joyce, adding that she personally suggests learning to drive a car first. “If you are on a scooter, how do you communicate with your supervisor? There is no effective way to pass on all the good rules [to the learner.]”
Joyce has been riding motorcycles for 11 years and believes that if your ride has two wheels, you need to be much more aware of your surroundings. You’re more exposed and there is a greater chance to be injured in a crash. It is important to understand traffic patterns and build good driving habits first to improve road safety. On top of that comes the inconvenience of having to take two vehicles to practise. “When you get to the point where the L restrictions are removed, you don’t need to have a supervisor and can ride on a scooter,” Joyce said. “A lot of youth on Bowen seem to believe they can ride a scooter with an L. But they can’t unless a supervisor is following them.”
Joyce added that a class 5 or class 7 licence is required for riding scooters under 50cc. For motorcycles over 50 cc, a class 6 or 8 licence is required. For clarification, she added, "Limited speed motorcycles (including scooters - having a motor displacement of 50cc or less, or power source that produces a maximum of 1.5 kW, maximum weight of 95 kg, maximum speed of 70kmh on level ground, and wheels with a diameter of at least 254 mm) cannot be operated on a learner's licence other than a Class 6 or 8 motorcycle learner's licence. In other words, scooters cannot be operated on a 7L or 5L."
“We had to look into this as there are a lot of people with Ls interested in riding scooters,” Joyce said.
In addition to having the proper licence, Joyce recommends wearing bright clothing and following the rules of the roads to improve safety on two wheels.
“Please be aware that there are lots of leaves on the pavement – this is the season for wet and slippery conditions and black ice,” she said. “It’s important to understand that riders are very vulnerable on a two-wheeled vehicle. They have less protection.”
Joyce also mentioned that it is illegal to operate bicycles with gas-powered engines.
“They would have to be insured like any other motorized vehicle but there is no way to get them certified as ICBC doesn’t have a category for them,” she said, adding that riding one of them can result in a $598 ticket.