A man says he was asked to leave an Avanti train because the train manager “did not like the look of” his non-standard e-bike. Richard Lander, 62, told ebiketips that he was asked to leave his train from London to Glasgow at Milton Keynes over the August bank holiday weekend, but was then allowed to travel on the following train.
Lander was travelling with an Ammaco Hybrid bike which has been fitted with a Yose Power rear wheel kit. On the frame’s bottle holder mount is a dolphin type battery, which is the second battery the bike has had after the first was stolen. In response to the theft, Lander has secured this one with metal builders band.
E-scooters were banned at Avanti stations and trains across its network late last year over battery safety concerns, but mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs and e-bikes were confirmed to be exempt.
A spokesperson for Avanti told ebiketips: “E-bikes are permitted on Avanti West Coast services but if there are concerns over the condition of a cycle and its size, access may be refused.”
Avanti also highlighted a section of National Rail's National Conditions of Carriage, which states, “unless prohibited by a train company’s individual cycle policy, electric assist pedal cycles and e-scooters may be carried on trains provided that they are similar in size to a traditional cycle or scooter. Power assisted cycles without traditional cycle-style pedals, or with oversized dimensions cannot be carried.”
Lander said he felt it was “quite reasonable” to question the safety of luggage and bikes carried on the train, but that it would, “make more sense to determine the safety of e-bikes before they are loaded on the train, rather than turfing them off during the journey.”
However, the station staff were “very cooperative,” he said, and cleared him to join the next train.
The incident follows news that a Herefordshire couple were kicked off a Great Western Railway (GWR) train after a train manager ‘took exception’ to their converted e-bike, believing that it was a fire hazard and banned from rail services.
A spokesperson for GWR said that while the company welcomes customers with e-bikes on board its trains, "we reserve the right to refuse access to modified bikes that could pose a risk to other customers' safety."
Last year Caledonian Sleeper, the overnight rail service between London and Scotland, banned e-bikes from its trains, citing a risk assessment and “safety reasons”, but later reversed the ban after accepting that they did not pose a significant fire risk.