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E-bikes banned from Martin Goodman Trail

via the Toronto Star:

A sign that went up quietly last week prohibits electric bikes from using the Martin Goodman Trail.

Perched at the entrance near Bathurst St. and Queens Quay W., the sign is raising the ire of electric bike (or e-bike) users.

The ban is “inconsistent” with the shift to greener ways of travel, said Lock Hughes, treasurer of the Toronto Electric Riders Association, which represents users of electric two-wheelers.

He added that the ban on “motor power assisted bikes” is vague and can refer to anything from an e-bike to a scooter or Segway, which are all different sizes and speeds. E-bikes generally resemble conventional bicycles but with a small motor.

A city bylaw restricts the use of bike paths to bicycles, defined as vehicles operating solely on “muscular power,” Lukasz Pawlowski of Transportation Services said, adding staff are in discussions to rework the term.

Read the full article at the Star

[photo from the Star]

  • Letter to the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Minister of Transportation

    Dear Minister

    I very much enjoyed your speech “Building A Bicycle Friendly Ontario” at the 2010 Ontario Bike Summit. Your observation about our children losing their walking “right of passage” so very poignant.

    Your recognition of the need for a “cultural shift” in our governments was spot on. The need for our different goverments to collaborate towards common goals, and that pressure from outside of government can help to effect positive change all wonderful to hear!

    As a citizen of Canada and Ontario I think we can only hope and strive to leave this world a better place for our children, and overcome the economic and environmental challenges left to us by 20th-century developments and perspective.

    My only regret is that you did not touch on Ontario’s greatest transportation success story of the last decade.

    One that has been under-reported in the media but continues to grow in success to this day.

    I am referring to the day in 2009 when Ontario recognized the power-assisted bicycle in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.

    In October 2006 when your predecessor the Ontario Minister of Transportation announced a three year “Pilot Project” for ebikes to the media and the Legislature she noted: “Through this pilot, we are giving people the opportunity to make healthy choices for our environment and help us realize that our vision of a sustainable transportation system is here in Ontario. So it is an important and very exciting day. Ontarians now have more mobility choices that are environmentally friendly, and I know that all members will join me in encouraging the safe use of these vehicles on our roads.”

    And today thousands of electric bicycles are on Ontario roads and millions around the world. In July of this year, 46% of retail bike revenues in Holland were derived from the sale of electric bicycles! Sales of ebikes in Ontario are skyrocketing now also! Ontario is actually behind many other parts of the world in this regard, but catching up! And this is one environmental initiative in transportation that is happening without any government funding…

    But in many towns and cities across Ontario there is resistance to this “cultural shift”. There are citizens and city staff trying to throw up road blocks to electric bicycles using myopic perspective, 20th-century stale thinking and out-of-date municipal by-laws that ban and restrict “motorized vehicles”…

    Instead of supporting this Ontario initiative they are actively fighting against it, using the same tired arguments that were used to try and ban the Victorian pedal bicycle over 100 years ago!

    Dear Minister, I understand Ontario municipal roads and parks are not strictly the mandate of our Provincial government, however I beseech you and the Ontario Liberal Party to make a brief statement in support of the adoption of electric bicycles in Ontario cities. Please reaffirm the Provinces support for this great environmental initiative?

    Thousands of Ontario citizens riding electric bicycles are now fighting from city to city for the same rights as the pedal bicycle community have earned, and we could use some help.

    Best wishes to you and success in this upcoming election.

    Regards

    Lock
    Toronto