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E-bike riders seek equality with pedal-pushing counterparts

 

In the battle for space on Toronto roads, a burgeoning group of people zipping around the city on electric-powered bicycles want to be treated like their counterparts on human-powered two-wheelers.

A handful of “e-bike” riders showed up Thursday at the city’s public works and infrastructure committee, urging politicians to change the definition of a bicycle in the city rulebooks to allow e-bikes on bicycle lanes and trails. As it stands, only bicycles and tricycles propelled by “muscular power” are allowed to use that space.

“I’m here to support e-bike equality,” said Philip Cass, who has been stopped twice by police since June on bicycle trails.

“All we want to do is get from Point A to Point B,” added James Thompson, a construction worker who said he feels safer in a bike lane than on the road next to cars.

Read the full post: “E-bike riders seek equality with pedal-pushing counterparts” on Posted Toronto.

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E-bikers want in Bike Lanes

Toronto’s bike versus car debate was put on hold Thursday, as yet another player entered the fray in the fight for space on the city’s roads.

E-bikes were on the agenda at a meeting of the public works committee at City Hall, where proponents of the battery-powered scooters petitioned councillors to change city rules that prohibit them from traveling in bike lanes.

The electric vehicles have pedals but many types can operate without foot power. By provincial law they’re limited to speeds under 32 km/hr, compared to an average bicycle speed of between 15 – 20 km/hr. While they’re much slower than cars, they’re not allowed in bike lanes or on multi-use off-road trails, which Toronto’s municipal code restricts to bikes without a power source.

Read the full post: “E-bikers want in bike lanes” at NOW Toronto.

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When is an E-bike a Bicycle?

The public works committee has been asked to review its policy around electric bicycles. Specifically, if e-riders should be able to use cycling infrastructure, such as the new Sherbourne separated lanes or park trails.

According to city bylaws, only bicycles that are “propelled by muscular power” are allowed on city bike lanes. E-riders argue the roads aren’t safe for their limited horsepower.

Complicating the issue is that the province seems to put e-bikes in the same category as traditional bikes. Toronto bylaws override that legislation and in this city an e-rider using a motor on a park trail can be fined $305.

Chair Denzil Minnan-Wong put forward a motion to have city staff examine these issues and report back in the spring. The committee also decided to take about 20 minutes to hear from a handful of electric bike riders who showed up to plead their case.

Read the full post: “When is an e-bike a bicycle?” on the Star.

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