Right to ride at centre of Corner Brook court dispute
A mobility-impaired man and his family are fighting in court for his right to ride a power-assisted bicycle on the streets of Corner Brook.
Chesley Earle, 25, who has difficulty standing for long periods of time or walking long distances, saved for months to buy the bike, which is powered by pedalling as well as electricity.
However, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary stopped Earle on his first day of riding the power-assisted bicycle, and charged him four times, including for riding without a proper licence and registration.
Michael Earle, his uncle, appeared in court in Corner Brook Thursday on his nephew's behalf to fight fines adding up to $3,000.
"The [bike] is electric and is pedal-driven, its top speed is 25 km an hour, [while] a moped is gasoline-driven, although it has pedals, but its top speed is in the 70-80 km/h range," Earle told CBC News.
Earle said the bike gave his nephew the freedom to travel around Corner Brook, and to visit his grandmother.
"Chesley loves to go and visit her and he loves to go swimming down to the park," he said. "This bike sort of opened up the world for him."
While the RNC officer that charged Earle maintains the vehicles — like motorcycles — require a licence and registration, the family maintains its research produced a different finding.
"We discovered there is nothing out there on any documents in federal, provincial or town documents stating that these bikes aren't allowed on the streets of Newfoundland and Labrador," he said.
Michael Earle entered a not guilty plea to provincial court on behalf of his nephew. The case is due to be called again on Dec. 19.
He said the case has been taking a toll on his nephew.
"He's bitter. He was sick this morning when we went to court and he's been sick for the last two days, worried about this coming to a conclusion," he said.