E-bikes have been barred from Caledonian Sleeper trains after a risk assessment raised safety concerns.
The change is being highlighted by cyclist Chris Phin.
The DC Thomson podcaster has used the sleeper train from Dundee to London on several occasions.
Ahead of a planned trip in March, Chris noticed the Caledonian Sleeper website states e-bikes have been banned — something he had not previously noticed despite regularly checking prior to travelling.
On Twitter he wrote:
@CalSleeper One of my favourite ways to travel on business is to Sleeper down from Dundee to London with my ebike. But I see you now say you can’t carry ‘electric cycles’; really? Including ebikes legally recognised as bikes? Can you clarify and reconsider? Ta! cc @dundeecycling
— Christopher Phin (@chrisphin) January 25, 2022
The tweet sparked a flurry of comments from cyclists looking for clarification.
Over two responses, the Caledonian Sleeper Twitter account said that after a risk assessment, it was decided to bar e-bikes because of “safety reasons”.
No detail was offered on what aspect of the vehicle is the cause for concern.
The Caledonian Sleeper website is also light on detail.
The only mention on the ‘travelling with bikes‘ page states: “Unfortunately, we are not able to carry bike boxes, tandems, tricycles or electric cycles. Sorry!”
Why might e-bikes be prohibited?
Some Twitter users have guessed it might be to do with the battery being a potential fire risk.
However, Craig Thomas notes an apparent inconsistency if this is the case.
He wrote: “An ebike battery has the same risk as a laptop, mobile phone, etc. So are all these now not allowed on your trains?”
Other social media users drew comparisons with mobility scooters, asking if these were also banned.
Chris has tried to get tot he bottom of the mystery, but can’t figure it out.
He said: “I did wonder if it was weight related. E-bikes tend to be heavier than normal bikes.
“From a health and safety point of view of getting it up on to, presumably, a hook, they maybe don’t want people doing that.
“But if it is a weight thing, then they should be mandating by weight rather than mandating by tech.”
Chris wants Caledonian Sleeper bosses to make clear why the decision was made.
He added: “What was that risk assessment? What were the findings of it?
“Can they help us understand, because I can’t see any reason why not [to allow e-bike].”
The decision has caused confusion among e-bike specialists.
Daniel Kochaniuk, from Dundee-based Electric Bikes Scotland, said some advice they’ve received from manufacturers flies in the face of Caledonian Sleeper’s position.
He said: “This is very strange. We are told that if the bike and battery are separate the battery is classed as dangerous goods.
“However, if the battery is on the bike, it is then just classed a bike.
“With the way the world is moving towards a greener future, would it not make sense to allow these bikes on the train?”
E-bikes have become an common site on Dundee streets in recent years, thanks to a hire scheme.
Caledonian Sleeper has been approached for comment.