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FUTURE? The rise of the e-bike

Like it or not, they are coming.  Maybe even for me one day (a normal one, not a scooter-type thing), when my knees give out.  Some days that feels closer than others.

These days, e-bikes are booming in popularity in Europe and China where they’re revered for their low impact on the environment. According to ZIV, a German industry organization, e-bike sales represented 10 percent of all bike sales at the close of 2012, a 15 percent rise over 2011 numbers. Because the motors used in e-bikes are electric and not internal combustion, these contraptions don’t emit any carbon dioxide directly (the source of their electricity, however, has an environmental impact, albeit one drastically smaller than a motorcycle or moped engine).

In China there are upwards of 120 million bikes on the country’s roads, up from a few thousand in the 1990s, according to the New York Times. Chinese e-bike exports, along with global interest in the phenomenon has contributed to the creation of a modern-day $11 billion e-bike industry.

Read More: The rise of the e-bike | PeopleForBikes.

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FAIL: E-scooters now legal in Toronto bike lanes

The idea was first proposed in a staff report to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee in January, but at the time councillors on the committee rejected it.  

But when the report came before council late Thursday evening, members reversed the earlier decision, voting 23-17 to approve the report’s original recommendations. Most of council’s right wing, including Mayor Rob Ford, joined with a handful of leftists to pass the motion.

via E-scooters now legal in bike lanes | NOW Magazine.

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Write the Public Works Committee about electric scooters in bike lanes.

E-bike riders seek equality with pedal-pushing counterparts

CycleToronto has a great rundown of what the city’s proposal to allow “e-bikes” in bikelanes will mean for Toronto’s cyclists.  Be sure and click through and send an email to the Public Works Committee about why this is a misguided proposal.

This Thursday, members of Public Works & Infrastructure Committee will consider a set of recommendations to change the rules around where e-bikes are permitted in Toronto.

We’re supportive of e-bikes as an alternative to larger, less environmentally friendly motor vehicles, especially for people with impaired mobility.

We welcome Recommendation 1 to allow power-assisted bicycles which weigh less than 40kg and require pedaling for propulsion (“pedelecs”) in multi-use trails, cycle tracks and bicycle lanes.

But we’re concerned about Recommendation 2, which would allow electric scooters in all painted bicycle lanes across the City.

We support the MTO and Transport Canada addressing Recommendation 4, to split the existing power-assisted bicycles vehicle category into e-scooter and pedelec type vehicles, before the City considers the recommendation to allow them to drive in bicycle lanes.

Email details and more info: Electric scooters in bike lanes? Write Public Works now! | Cycle Toronto.

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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]

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