A letter from an e-biker

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It seems like a traditional cyclist's favourite thing to criticize these days are the new e-bikes that are popping up on Toronto's roads, and yes, the bike paths. Not quite bicycles, as they are typically not being pedalled, and not quite scooters, travelling at restricted speeds. More like scooters than bicycles, but importantly for road safety, they sport bright taillights and headlights, turn signals, and dual mirrors.

Here's a letter to make you think about them from the point of view of someone riding them. Maryann King wrote this letter in response to the negative piece about e-bikes recently published in NOW magazine.

Dear Paul Terefenko… you sound suspiciously like one of the "lance-armstrong-wannabes" that I have to deal with daily. You know, the ones on the Martin Goodman trail that are going 35kmh in a 20kmh zone, the ones who don't stop at the stop signs which say "Cyclists must stop", the ones who plow through every red light on Queens Quay, the ones who don't slow for joggers and move into the left lane going around blind corners. I face your type every weekday morning as I commute to work on my e-bike, following the rules of the road. I am a 57 year old woman living at Lake Shore and Long Branch. I work at Queen and Yonge. I used to ride a regular bike, but I am having knee problems. So I purchased an electric bike in April and I have been riding my e-bike to work. This costs me $.04 per night to charge and I am emitting no green house gases into the atmosphere.

It is very unsafe riding on the Queensway. The only other way for me to get past the Humber is to take the Lakefront trail. I checked with a policeman who told me it is legal for me to ride my bike on the path, as long as I obey the limits and signs. I have done so. I am respectful of all joggers, runners, dog walkers, skateboarders and certainly other bikes while I am on there. To those on the path who have now accepted me as one of them, I give my thanks. My bike is no wider than a pedal bike. It is not noisy. (I sometimes have to warn the birds that I am coming.) Going home at night I stay on the Queensway until Windemere and only take the path to get over the bridge; on the other side, I get off as soon as the street becomes available and take the Lake Shore or Birmingham home.

My biggest problem on the road today, is that so many bicyclists do not follow the rules of the road, so drivers are understandably distrusting of anyone on a two-wheeled vehicle. Yes, there will be more of us on the road. As soon as there is a more viable way for us to commute, we'll use it. Until then, I accept that there will always be elitists like you and Yvonne Bambrick of the Toronto Cyclists Union (and I am using the term 'union' loosely, since she won't accept me as one of her ranks), and I will smile and nod my helmet as I pass. I paid over $14000 in income tax last year, and I have the right to use the the facilities like all the peddlers, as long as I obey the laws.

Comments

Maryann on her e-bike sounds like an ideal rider for the cycling lane and paths, this pedaler has no problem accepting her among our ranks.
I hope, like Yvonne Bambrick of the Toronto Cyclist Union does, that more of these bikes will mean a better infrastructure for us all.
I hope the union will reconsider her membership in the future, I agree that many comments against them are of an elitist nature.

There are a couple of errors in this letter.

Firstly, I'm not a Lance Armstrong wannabe, I'm a Tom Boonen wannabe.

Secondly, the notion that by riding an e-bike "I am emitting no green house gases into the atmosphere". This is simply not true. It is based on the premise that our electricity generation is carbon neutral, which it is anything but. The current stats from the Ontario ministry of Energy and Infrastructure list that our electricity is generated by: 52% Nuclear, 21% Hydro, 18% Coal, 8%Gas, and 1% Wind (http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=english.e...)

So only 22% of that electricity you're putting into your bike is emissions free (CO2 emissions from Nuclear are from the mining and refinement of Uranium/Plutonium).

In fact, once you start to factor in the overall lower efficiency of our power grid (transmistion line losses, transformer losses etc.) it is entirely possible, that a 2-stroke motor outputting 500W produces less emissions then your e-bike .

Maryann, if only everyone on any form of bike, e-bike or otherwise, would follow the rules of the road. I had the displeasure of riding into work along Queen West the other day and I was appalled at the number of cyclists who seemed oblivious to everything around them including the stop lights. I normally ride in from the east end and most bike commuters I encounter are in helmets and stop at every sign and light.

The concern I have with e-bikes is with the larger variety. The ones that look like a full size scooter and look like they weigh at least 100 pounds. I don't know how much these things actually weigh but they simply feel dangerous to be around. Maybe that's a misconception I need to get over. What's the stopping distance on these things? Is it comparable to the extremely short distance a pedal bike can stop in? The disc brakes on my bike can stop me from 30km/h in only a few short feet.

The problem is exacerbated by the e-bikers who ride as recklessly as some other cyclists. I've seen people on these scooters whipping in and out of traffic, into the bike lane and back into traffic without looking, signaling or otherwise. Is this any more dangerous than the cyclists I regularly encounter who come flying out of side streets onto main arteries without even slowing down or looking and nearly plow into me in the process? Probably not, but the e-bikes feel more dangerous because of their size.

At the end of the day I think a lot of this is about perceptions and the real problem is a general lack of regard for the rules of the road by a large group of cyclists and e-bikers.

Cyclists get used to it: as the economics and ecology of car use becomes increasingly precarious expect that you will have to contend with "alternative" modes of transport be they rollerblades, skateboards, e-bikes, Segways and who knows what else?

It's reasonable that those marginalized by automobility will take to MUPs and bike lanes; do they have to justify to cyclists the reasons, we know them all to well already. Let's not be so doctrinaire as to exclude all but conventional cyclists; let's not subscribe to the exclusionary orthodoxy of motorists which claims roads are the select preserve of cars. The idea is to work toward an inclusive public infrastructure, isn't that what cyclists have been aiming for?

The necessity of change is steamrolling over millions and millions of motorists' customs; expecting cyclists to exist in isolation of its repercussions -- favourable or not -- is unrealistic.

Maryann is justified in taking to bikeways although I find her reasoning specious. She claims her "biggest problem on the road today, is that so many bicyclists do not follow the rules of the road, so drivers are understandably distrusting of anyone on a two-wheeled vehicle."

I don't think so. Her biggest problem? "It is very unsafe riding on the Queensway. The only other way for me to get past the Humber is to take the Lakefront trail." Maryann unwittlingly reveals the real danger posed by lawless cyclists by opting to mingle with them rather than all those, oh, law abiding motorists on the main drag.

She wrote it but she hasn't grasped it: Maryann's real trouble is her " over $14000 in income tax" underwriting infrastructure that prevents her accessing it because it's too dangerous. Maryann, get used to it and welcome to the world that cyclists must navigate everyday.

"You know, the ones on the Martin Goodman trail that are going 35kmh in a 20kmh zone, the ones who don't stop at the stop signs which say "Cyclists must stop", the ones who plow through every red light on Queens Quay, the ones who don't slow for joggers and move into the left lane going around blind corners."

Yes, there are signs posted on the Martin Goodman trail that say "Speed limit 20 km/h". I have done a search of City of Toronto bylaws and regulations, and nowhere does this limit appear. So, yes, I utterly ignore it, as on the flat with no wind I cruise around 31 km/h.

The fact that the city maintains six lanes of automotive traffic signed for 60 km/h right beside the trail, and another six lanes signed for 90 km/h right beside that, while keeping bicycles to a jogging pace, well, that's how the City still thinks. (Never mind the bollards at the Boulevard Club, and the non-existent warning signs for vehicles promised on Gord Perks' website almost a year ago.)

Riding in from Long Branch to Spadina and Queen, it's about 19 km by the waterfront route and 20 km/h would mean well over an hour's travel time when you count in stops. (I average about 25 km/h all-in: road, trail, stop signs, red lights.)

I do stop at the stop signs. And I do wonder at some cyclists and rollerbladers and joggers who like to cut way over to the left when going north by the east entrance to Ontario Place, so that they're in the oncoming lane just by a blind corner.

And the "training" cyclists who don't stop at stop signs--you know, you're missing out on some good interval work by zipping through. (Plus your acceleration is usually pretty pathetic and could be vastly improved by, you know, actually stopping.)

The unpredictability of other trail users would give one all the more reason to obey the suggested speed limit, I would imagine.

re: "only 22% of that electricity you're putting into your bike is emissions free"

hydroelectricity is not greenhouse gas emissions free. the loss of forest and wetlands due to flooding causes a net change in the carbon balance on that ecosystem from a carbon sink (typically for a forest) or carbon neutral (typically for a wetland) to a carbon source to the atmosphere. further, decomposition of soil and vegetation under low and zero-oxygen environments, such as those found in the flooded soils and wetlands of a boreal reservoir, produce both carbon dioxide and methane.

for example:

http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/faculty/vincent_stlouis/upl...

http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/esthag-a/38/i18/toc...

http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/esthag/1997/31/i0...

I don't have the knowledge to do a full audit, but there a few things that assure me that an e-bike is much better vehicle than a car when it comes to emissions. It's less than 1/10th of the weight (or even 1/20th!) of a small car, so the amount of energy needed accelerate is less. It doesn't go that fast so the energy in acceleration is less again. It uses an electric motor which has better energy conversion efficiency than a gas engine.

The result, as Maryann says, is that she spends $0.04 per night recharging. This is probably the same amount of energy as people use watching TV each night. Whether the power comes from hydro, nuclear, gas-fired, or even a home gasoline generator, it's impact on our environment is negligible compared to using a car.

-dj

-dj

Regarding the carbon footprint of e-bikes; the fuel I used to ride my regular bike here today was food ... and depending on what I ate, I might have a small or large carbon footprint.

My understanding is the ideal would be if I were a vegatarian eating organically-grown foods. My diet isn't as "pure" as that ... and I wouldn't be surprised if the carbon impact of the occasional steak I enjoy is larger that that generated by the electricity needed to power an ebike :-)

My point is that, as Luke says, people are going to respond to high fuel prices, congestion and environmental concerns by getting around in new ways ... and that's a good thing. We need to find ways to co-exist happily and create a road network that can safely accomodate all these different kinds of vehicles.

Maryann, I'd be glad to have you on any road, trail, bike path or multi-use path I'm walking or cycling on. I'd rather see legions like you than the many "ped-cyclists" I encounter each day.

Ped-cyclists are those in-between creatures who take unthinkingly ride on the sidewalk, launch out into crosswalks and ride across them, ride against the traffic flow in bike lanes, and exhibit ongoing disregard for other traffic (whether ped, cyclist or motorist), traffic laws, and common sense.

I'm a committed road & utility cyclist and I cycle as I drive -- with full recognition of the HTA and traffic by-laws, and as much in harmony with the movement around me as possible. The more e-bikes we see on the roads, the more all modes of transport slow down and become more accommodating.

As for the ped-cyclists, well, Darwin will take care of them one by one.
...AlanM

Maryann wrote:

I accept that there will always be elitists like you and Yvonne Bambrick
of the Toronto Cyclists Union (and I am using the term 'union' loosely,
since she won't accept me as one of her ranks)

The Toronto Cyclists Union would be very happy to have Maryann join.
We have no restrictions at all on membership. Our goal of improving
the lot of cyclists in Toronto will make the city a better place to live,
and all Torontonians, including Maryann, will benefit.

"The unpredictability of other trail users would give one all the more reason to obey the suggested speed limit, I would imagine."

Point taken--I've seen two pretty good crashes out by the Humber.

But I managed to avoid crashing while making hundreds of trips along the Martin Goodman trail, at whatever speed I could manage (20 km/h into a really awful headwind, maybe). I'm getting too old to heal quickly, while my speed is staying up. Therefore I ride with at least attention--no iPod and tinted shades for me.

It's the peloton-wannabe's who try to ride in a pace line that are really pushing it. And one of the crashes was a pace line encountering a roller-blader. Bikes all over the lawn.

I think this takes us back to the "new cyclists" thread, does it not?

(For what it's worth, I've cycled for 30-odd years, and the last really stupid crash I had was in 1990 or so. That's aside from trying dumb things riding off-road, of course.)

OK, I'm convinced....my knees are going to give out some day too and I'm happy to share my bike lane with Maryann.

But lets all agree that GAS scooters definitely don't belong in the bike lane. I've gone to war with a few of these folks and thankfully with a license plate they're a little easier to register a complaint about.

Sometimes these two types are hard to tell apart a first glance so my brows may wrinkle initially but as long as there's no exhaust you can keep on e'bikin.

As a 30-year, year-round cycling-commuter, I welcome e-bikes on the road. They are far better than cars and trucks, after all. However, it is clear, from my experiences, that those who are using e-bikes want to straddle the line between motorist and cyclist; all the cost-saving a cyclist experiences without the work (and sweat). It's as if they want the superior-minded arrogance some of us have because we ride bikes rather than drive cars, but they'd really rather not have the effort. Sorry. Nothing is free in life. Gotta earn that arrogance (LOL).

And, of course, some ebikers---well, many actually---like to behave like a snob as they point to their helmet---something they must wear, by law, but cyclists are exempt from as some sort of crown of superiority. Um, message to newbies: helmets for adult cyclists are not mandatory, will not protect you from being hit and if one has skill, common-sense, control and the proper safety equipment, one doesn't need a helmet.

I can't help but conclude that the e-bikers I see, for the most part---though not all, are lazy, in spite of the fact that many of the e-bikers I've seen appear to really need the physical exercise a bicycle would provide them with.

While their vehicle is environmentally practical and a terrific choice for those who may be permanently physically challenged, they are not bicycles, thus they do not belong in bike lanes. The City of Toronto website clearly defines bike lanes as being solely for the use of bicycles, not joggers, roller-blades, skateboards, electric medical scooters and wheelchairs or power-assisted bicycles; bicycles and only bicycles; not courier trucks, taxi's and motorists who want a convenient drop-off/pick-up lane or a safe place to make cell-phone calls: bicycles. It is that simple. That is why they are called bike lanes and feature the symbol of a bicycle. Otherwise they'd be called Multi-use paths (MUP's). While e-bikes can be used as a regular bicycle, the vast majority of e-bikers that I see in bike lanes are using their motor all the time. Heck, they even use the motor when going downhill. Sorry, but that makes the e-bike a scooter wannabe and if e-bikers want to run at 32km/h, a speed many cyclists don't or can't attain, then they need to join the rest of the motoring traffic. Until the city widens bike lanes and allows other vehicles to use a widened MUP, e-bikes have no business in bike lanes. It doesn't matter how much we spend in property tax, ebikes are welcome to use regular traffic lanes, not reserved bike lanes. Oh, and on an unrelated side-issue, scooters like Vespas are also NOT permitted to use bicycle ring-posts to lock-up to. Those, too, are for the exclusive use of cyclists.

Sorry, I guess the point I was trying to make in my earlier post was a bit muddled.

It seems to me that Maryann was trying to justify the special privilege given to e-bikes because they are better for the environment. I was just trying to illustrate that isn't necessarily the case, that 2-Stroke scooters have approximately the same footprint as E-bikes. True E-bikes are better than cars, but as the anonymous poster above mentioned we do seem to draw a line between Scooters with electric motors and Scooters with gas motors.

E-bikes ok - 2 Stroke, not ok.

I'm just questioning why we make that distinction. If both Scooters weigh the same amount, both travel at the same speed (I realize gas scooters probably travel faster, but a speed limit is really arbitrary), and both have a similar effect on the environment.

So why do we allow E-bikes in bike lanes and not 2-stroke scooters?

Assuming they could be made to have a restricted speed - I don't think we can rely on human judgment to not go faster than X kmh while in the bike lane on a gas scooter... so lets say they are travelling at 30 kmh and I'm riding my pedal bike behind one at 30 kph

There is the issue of emissions that the electric scooter doesn't have. I don't want to be directly sucking back exhaust of the gas scooter... And particularly when stopped at a light. That's one nice advantage of bike lanes is you don't have to stopped at a light inhaling exhaust...

There are two reasons that the environmental footprint of E-bikes is very different from gasoline powered scooters, power and emission controls.

Power: E-bikes can produce 500W or upto 750W of power with an illegal upgrade. 750W is approximately 1 horsepower. A gasoline powered scooter with the tiniest of engines (say 49cc) would be able to produce at least several times many times that amount of horsepower (some more than 20 horsepower). There is no way that a motor with that much less output on an E-bike is consuming the same amount of energy as a gasoline powered motor.

Emission Controls: 2 stroke and even 4 stroke small motors don't have the same kind of emission controls on them that come on larger motors like car engines such as catalytic converters and their exhaust is dirty with partially combusted fuel which is why their exhaust smells so much worse than car exhaust. Even if all of the electricity used to produce energy from an E-Bike was produced in a coal fired power plant, the emissions would not be as dirty as those coming from a gas powered scooter and at the very least they would not be emitted in the areas with highest population density. This problem is compounded by the variability with which scooter users treat maintenance....a poorly maintained scooter will create more emissions wheras the coal fired power plants are professionally maintained and produce a more consistent level of emissions.

Forget about allowing them on the road, two stroke engines should be banned.

Whether they're on scooters, leaf blowers or lawn mowers, they're extremely dirty.

I probably shouldn't even bother responding, Cpt Sunshine, but I don't have a clue who Tom Boonen is, and I do know who Lance Armstrong is, so thank you for straightening me out, and I apologize if I offended you.
I didn't mean to imply that my bike does not require energy to use. It does not emit green house gases. Even a peddler requires energy to move the bike. I'm not a physicist, and I don't intend to start playing a numbers game with you. But can you honestly believe that $14 per year of electricity is more detrimental to the environment than the cost of producing fuel to run a gas powered vehicle, regardless of the type?
I rode a pedal bike for more years than you have probably been alive, so I can make some reasonable non-scientific comparisons. I know I had to eat a lot more for long bike rides, and I know I didn't eat just organic, veggies grown in Ontario, for every trip, so I refuse to argue the energy issue.
As a musician, singer, and composer, I also selected the e-bike because it is quieter. Noise pollution is also detrimental to the environment. I appreciate my 6:30 ride each morning because it is esthetic and peaceful, and I feel connected to those I meet on my journey. I smile and greet almost all I meet, and many of those who pass my way do the same. It is always more stressful going home, but I deal with it, as do all commuters.
I thank those who accept me. And for those who don't, I am sorry that you disagree with my choices, and I will try not to be a bother. If the law changes and the regulations for my type of bike are changed, I will comply, but I will be disappointed, because my rides in the morning have become a source of peace for me.

I can understand Maryann and other e-bike users. And I can understand those who oppose e-bikes in bike lanes and on bike paths. Cyclists feel marginalized in the car-centric world, and are trying to protect whatever little cycling-specific infrastructure that's been handed to them. E-bikers feel even more marginalized: disliked and pushed around by both motor vehicle drivers and cyclists.

The real problem is not e-bikes or regular bikes though. It's CARS. Actually, more so than cars it's car drivers who stole public roads from everyone else, and who will resort to insults, violence and vehicular homicide when non-motor vehicle drivers are trying to legally use the infrastructures their tax dollars helped pay for. In such a situation, these marginalized users will naturally be fighting for whatever scraps of the road space they can get at all.

The solution has nothing to do with trying to regulate e-bikes. Get most of the fucking cars off the road, and teach the drivers of the ones civility and respect for other road users - and the problems will disappear. There is plenty of road to go around when it's not hogged by heavy dangerous vehicles piloted by ignorant aggressive drivers.

Maryann, the bike union is a member funded advocacy group that is supposed to speak for ALL cyclists. While some of us -- personally -- may not yet be comfortable with scooter style e-bikes on our park trails, and a few may not be entirely comfortable with them in bike lanes, as a member, the bike union has to be respectful and responsive to your needs.

E-bikes are new; the province has created a pilot period to get an idea of what will work and what might not. Everyone has some learning to do. Not everything is likely to work in the first iteration, some tweaking may be required.

Anything new is scary, and people (including myself) grumble and complain about changes. That, and every onece in a while I have to reminded how lucky I am to have my youth and my health, and that we need to find ways accomodate those who don't.

My mind is changing.... Slowly. We'll figure out how/where e-bikes (scooter style or other) fit in, and we'll figure out how to get along.

But we need to hear from all sides to make this a worthwhile discussion. And the best way is to join the bike union, and to get involved.

BTW, I'm looking forward to seeing out on the roads of South Etobicoke as I live in Mimico!

Because I'm invloved on the board of the Bike Union, my wife sent me this:

There is an article in there about an e-biker's experiences riding on the Martin Goodman Trail as she commutes from Long Branch to Yonge and Queen(?) to work and back. I can sympathize with many of the points this woman is making. Particularly her points about the bike racers who speed along the path heedless of the other users grumbling and cursing about the erratic paths that inexperienced/learning cyclists take....

Normally I could care less if some one rides an e-bike, a tandem bike or a tricycle but what bothers me is that this woman appears to have tried to join the Toronto Cyclist's union and Yvonne has declined her application because she rides an e-bike! Is this true? Does the union discriminate against e-bike riders because they are assisted? I'd be interested to hear what you have to say and I'd like you to talk to Yvonne about this apparent discrimination...

Talk to you later,

Love you,

Jenny

So I forwarded this to Yvonne who replied directly to Jenny with:

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for your comment and concern regarding the e-biker Maryann.

Please rest assured that we/I at no time have or would refuse a membership to any type of cyclist. Maryanne has never been in touch with us about membership and has not been discriminated against..

I believe her comment about 'not being accepted as on the the ranks' was more to do with her feeling of not being considered a 'real' cyclist based on my comments about scooter like e-bikes having no place in bike lanes or using bike parking. Bicycles and real bicycle e-bikes are the only vehicles I believe have any place using cycling infrastructure.

Respectfully yours,
Y

It pleased, and surprised, my wife that she got a response direct from Yvonne. She was also happy with the answer.

Hi Yvonne,

While I wasn't expecting a response from you personally, I am quite delighted to get your note!! I am also very pleased to hear that it doesn't really matter what kind of a bicycle you ride to be considered for the Union's membership!

I had a gut feeling that Maryann hadn't tried to get membership with the Union and was using this comment as a vehicle (pardon the pun) to vent her frustrations but I wanted to make sure by asking Anthony. I had no idea that he would have forwarded my comments and question to you as well. Thanks for the extremely timely response - if other companies and organizations that I deal with were as quick! Personally, this kind of attention to a simple little question makes the Union look professional and serious - thanks!

I have to agree with you, I don't think scooter-like and motorcycle-like e-bikes really have any place on the bikes lanes and pathways either. It's visually startling to see one of those come at you along the Martin Goodman Trail because you can't tell if it's an e-bike or a motorcycle/scooter. I don't think they even have pedals, do they? On the other hand, they don't exactly belong on the roads either because of how slow they go so I don't know where the safest place for those machines would be.

Regardless, I am pleased to have received your note and look forward to chatting with you again - maybe even in person!

Have a great weekend!

Jenny

The point here is not that we don't want them, but that the scooter style electric vehicles don't seem to fit in with what we already know. Perhaps we'll get used to this, or perhaps we'll find another space for those machines. I don't know what the answer will be -- or what it should be. i just know that I have to start looking at something new, get over my own knee-jerk reaction to it, figure out what the merits and limits of this are, and what it means. The best way is to listen to people who actually use one (or else get one myself and use it, which I'm not going to do at this point) in order to understand the perspective from the other side as well.

I hope that these comments will encourage other e-bike and e-scooter owners to share their stories because we need to learn more about these machines, and about the people who use them. It is my hope that this will lead to a better understanding for everyone.

It says in the motorcycle rider's handbook before you get your M1 that the act of lane splitting breaks down the respect on the road between cars and motorcycles.

Similarly not obeying the rules of the road destroys any appeal to share the road for motorists and cyclists.

On the paths we should all just use your discretion. If there is no one there go as fast as you want, if there is maybe think a bit.

Re: E-bikes, the more transportation options that are not SUVs that are out there the better. Space is for everyone, we have to learn that and value every commuting option equally.

Try keeping a moped out of the bike lanes in Holland...There is just no reason, lets use our brains, be safe, and share the road.

Of the E-bike users amongst us, how often do you pedal your e-bike? Be honest now.

I, personally, really value scooters and e-bikes and I am happy to share the road with them more than our common enemy; motorists, but they are not bicycles. so the answers to the above question may well determine whether one is a human-powered (with some assistance) cyclist or a primarily motor-powered scooterist and, therefore, a para-motorist..

Until I read the article in the NOW magazine, I didn't know there was such a thing as a bike union! And it wouldn't have occurred to to me to join after Yvonne's comment. Now that I know, I have taken a basic membership and I may upgrade when the decision regarding e-bikes is made known by the province. Thank you for suggesting I participate, Anthony.

For me, biking has been primarily a form of eco-transportation, not a sport. I recently found out about the Cyclometer, and now the union! Leaps and bounds, people, since April. Yes, my bike is the scooter type e-bike. I was advised that because I am heavier, the smaller types would not work well for me. It has pedals, mirrors, lights, signals, ABS (my brakes work better than my brakes worked on my Raleigh) and I agree that it appears wider than a pedal bike, but I have measured and it is not. Someone mentioned that these bikes can be modified to go faster. That is true, but I have been warned that my warranty is gone if I do this. And yes, there will probably be some riders who do this. My suggestion is that the police confiscate any bike that doesn't conform to the standard. It doesn't matter what form of transport you use; there is always going to be some twits doing what they are not supposed to do.

Incidentally, yesterday morning, an e-biker went through the stop signs by Ontario Place, and I called her out on it. It may not be my place, but I don't want things like that to speak for all e-bikers, so I will continue to make it my business.

My comment about 'using your discretion' with speed limits and stop signs on the trail... if you don't like the law, change it, don't break it. There is obviously a reason why those things have been set up. Ask yourself how likely you would be to go through a stop sign in a car, even at a deserted intersection; if you would, I wouldn't trust you no matter what your mode of transport is.

When I was a kid, we were forced to take a bike course in grade school and drivers ed in high school. Let's try to get these things initiated in the school systems again. Especially now, when the bike culture is picking up. Knowing the rules of the road is part of being a good citizen, and isn't that what we really want to accomplish with our children.

Even though I make my living as a business systems analyst, this is the first blog I have ever entered into. Thanks for the feedback. And thanks again, Anthony for suggesting I join the union. The only union I have ever been a part of was the musicians union many years ago, so I am not really sure how this works, but I'm sure you will all help me get started.

I remember years ago when training to ride in groups, either touring or racing, one thing that was drilled into us is that when you get off your saddle (ie climbing hills, sprinting), give a little push before you do. The act of getting off your saddle slows the bike down, slightly, but sometimes enough to send your rear tire back into the cyclist tailing you.

While we do not ride in such close quarters commuting I have had several E-bikers try to mix it up with me. Not a problem but please remember, I have to use muscle power to propel, you simply need to throw a switch. If we are close passing a car or some other obstacle you can unintentionally overtake and we can collide.

Let me get this straight....It is okay to pedal on a bike path at 12 km per hour...but it is not okay to go the same 12 km per hour with a battery....Every negative comment people say about E-Bikes can be said for regular bicycles...They go too fast! What if they hit someone! They weave in and out of traffic...They don't stop at stop signs...they shouldn't be allowed in parks where there are kids..they shouldn't be allowed on paths with pedestrians...they should be licenced and only allowed on roads. They should have insurance.....E-Bikes are a great form of transportation for people who do not want or can't pedal. They are a great substitute for automobiles for certain commutes...Why can't people share the paths....My Dad rides my e-bike to the store and around the neighborhood. There is a two kilometre path into town that keeps him off the busy streets...He rides probably 8km per hour down the path. Maybe not all paths are conducive to e-bikes, but some are...same as bikes...I say lets get along...It is just as easy to ride wrecklass on a bicycle as it is an e-bike....both are potentially dangerous and both should be allowed to ride on MUP. It is up to the riders judgement on speed.

Motorists are not our enemy, nor are bicycles or e-bikes or e-scooters. Skateboarders, Rollerbladers and Pedestrians are not our enemy either.
The question raised is how often e-bikes are pedalled. The Ministry went out of their way to change the one word in the Pilot Program's Amendment from "primarily" to "capable" of being propelled by muscular power. This one word changed the law whether the bike had to be pedalled... or not at all. It can still be considered a bicycle whether it is pedalled or not, by definition and by law. Just the word bicycle itself does not dictate manual pedalling is required. A cycle is a "rotation" and "bi" referring to the number of wheels. It is a persons own interpretation of the word that paints the picture in their own mind of what it is or if it should be allowed.
Someone with authority and knowledge of the existance of this style of transportation changed the law with a necessary vote due to due diligence. I suspect that this was because of the awareness of the product in other parts of the world. There were apparently many studies and pilot programs in other parts of the world before Ontario even considered a pilot.

E-Bikes are by no means new, we have just be sheltered from the product for too long.

Before we judge too quicky, I say accept and allow this wonderful alternative into our province and let history decide whether they have a place or not. I know from sources over seas that e-bikes of both styles are an accepted alternative and offer it's citizens an inexpensive and clean transportation to those who either cannot afford a car or choose this vehicle to augment their use of one.
My own interest in a scooter style e-bike would be for transportation to and from work which is 10 km each way. My activity at work is very physical and active and I do not require a bicycle as my exercise for the day. If I was an accountant or sitting at a desk all day or standing in one spot, I would probably welcome the ride to and from work on a bicycle.

I originally purchased a scooter style electric bicycle as an after hours vehicle for touring around the neighborhood and going to the corner store. In other words, really as a toy.
I found however my trips were getting longer as I became more comfortable riding in traffic.
Months later, and only on the nice days, I have taken my bike back and forth to work. (14 km each way) While it takes me three times longer to get to work I am actually enjoying the trip.
I leave for work when the birds start chirping and the sun is just rising and it is an incredible way to start the day. When I first made the purchase I questioned the price for a toy, but since then have realized it is truly one of my favourite purchases in a long long time. I bought one that is called The Commuter but never dreamed that would be it;s purpose. I am reading alot of negativity from cyclists and do not quite understand their concerns. I have not experienced any in my travels, but then again I seem to get along well with everybody I meet.

When E-Bikes first arrived in British Columbia years ago, there were also those that had negative comments on their arrival. Whether they were police or city officials or just citizens.
Eventually the comments died out and the product lived on...You will have to endure the same thing in Ontario. Do not feed into the negativity....Let them vent, and they will soon go away.
While I do not own an e-bike, I see them on a daily basis and much prefer them to cars. I tend to smile at people on bicycles and e-bikes, or at least ackowledge their existance as they are passing by. In a car, behind glass people are less "human". If I were to get an e-bike, I would most certainly go for the scooter style e-bike. They look more comfortable and from talking with people overall they are happy with them.

Jim, it is not about speed, recklessness or dangerous riding. It is about the difference between riding and driving. When one is on a scooter-style e-bike, they are much closer to being a motorcyclist than a cyclist and, therefore, they are driving and should not be in bike lanes. They are slow-speed motorcycles, after all and motor vehicles are prohibited in bike lanes. If an e-bike rider is afraid of busy roads then perhaps they need to choose alternate routes or learn to adapt to the road and traffic conditions. Maybe an e-bike isn't the best choice for them if the roads are dangerous for a slow-moving vehicle. Ultimately, they have the right to ride on any standard road, as every vehicle does, and need to exert their privilege. But if we accept e-bikes driving in bike lanes then gas-powered scooters will soon join them and then mopeds and motorcycles and, pretty soon, bike lanes are rendered pointless.

I admit to owning a scooter style e-bike..I use it back and forth to work, after hours and on the weekends. I have racked up over 4000 km on my bike since I made the purchase last year.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoy riding it. I do not seem to pose a danger to pedestrians or cylists and certainly not to cars. I can stop on a dime and I just like on a bicycle, I am very aware of my surroundings. I produce no emissions and I am whisper quiet as I am rolling along. I pass cyclists and they pass me. I enjoy using the bike paths but feel quite confident on the roads as well. I learned about e-bikes in British Columbia many years ago and was shocked to find out how long they had them before us. I contacted the Ministry of Transportation and asked when we would have them, and the person I was speaking to had no idea what I was talking about. She kept calling it a moped and I kept correcting her. I asked to speak to someone else and when I finally did they had no idea what I was talking about either. Here it is a year and a half later and people still ask my why no licence? Ontario is special....LOL

Jarbeau:

...I have taken my [ebike] back and forth to work. (14 km each way)...I leave for work when the birds start chirping and the sun is just rising and it is an incredible way to start the day.

Jarbeau, try the trips by bicycle, it's even better. ;-)

The Enigmaniac:

If an e-bike rider is afraid of busy roads then perhaps they need to choose alternate routes or learn to adapt to the road and traffic conditions. Maybe an e-bike isn't the best choice for them if the roads are dangerous for a slow-moving vehicle. Ultimately, they have the right to ride on any standard road, as every vehicle does, and need to exert their privilege.

Ironic that stance. Substitute 'bicycle' for 'ebike' and it perfectly echoes the maxims of bike lane opponents be they cyclists or not.

Jim

My scooter style e-bike falls under the jurisdiction of power assisted bicycles which by law are to be treated the same as bicycles. The are not slow speed motorcyles or limited speed motorcyles, no more than you are when you are "coasting" without pedalling...The law does not and will not allow gas powered vehicles on the bike lanes let alone motorcyles and mopeds. That is rediculous. They have the law in place already based on maximum speed and motor output. Coasting at 30 km per hour or pedalling at 30 km per hour or 'assisted" at 30 km per hour is the same thing. It is not up to you or anyone like you to accept e-bikes into the bike lanes...there goes that "elitess" attitude people are talking about...bike lanes are for bikes and an e-bike is a bike. The law accepts them why don't you?

If I could I would. I did it for 40 years..Pedal as long as you can my friend.
One day maybe you will appreciate this vehicle.

...And after I had major surgery last year I got two e-bikes. A scooter-style one for around Toronto and one that "looks like" a conventional bicycle (pedelectric) so I could take it onto the GO train.

I love both bicycles. As I continue to recover from the operation I am using the pedelectric one more and more. This is because it allows me to put in as much human power as I feel comfortable doing.

I've got a feeling that many of the bicycle purists here are somewhat less than half my age and kind of believe that they will stay the way they are forever. I know because I used to be just the same when I was that age. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Pedaling doesn't make any difference when it comes to how vulnerable those of us not enclosed in metal boxes are in collisions with cars, trucks and buses, and I would think this is the primary reason for bike lanes. To those who think that e-bikes should stay out of bikelanes because their riders don't pedal, do you also think that wheelchairs should stay off sidewalks because their users don't walk???

Lately, I've been thinking that a major problem we face is the high variability of speeds among cyclists. Physical fitness isn't a factor when driving. But cyclists, wow! Some of them putter along so slowly I could keep up with them on foot, while others fly past me on bikes that look as light as air.

The past couple of weeks I've had to take the bike lane on College heading West and what a hair-raising, frustrating experience (so much for the theory that bike lanes make us safer). Riding on the edge to stay out of the door zone with bumper to bumper traffic flying by to my left and cars blocking the lane as they get in and out of parking spaces, it's a crazy game of leapfrog the whole way across.

The frustration that some people have expressed with e-bikes in bike lanes probably reflects an overall frustration with the crowding in bike lanes. But the solution isn't to kick anyone out: the solution is to have wide enough bike lanes to accomodate everyone, with room to pass safely. And the more people out there pressuring the city for this to happen, the better.

Why not just slow down all city traffic to 32 km/h, then there would be less need for special lanes. How to do this effectively is of course subject of debate. But what about the idea in general if we could do this - would it be desirable? I think so. (emergency vehicles with flashers the only exemptions) And hopefully with the streets being less scary with less speed, more people will take to smaller footprint vehicles like bikes and e-bikes.

Some interesting quotes from the MTO's "Power-Assisted/Electric Bicycles" page:
http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/in...

An e-bike is a bike that:

  • has steering handlebars and is equipped with pedals;
  • is designed to be propelled primarily by muscular power (emphasis mine) and to travel on not more than three wheels;
  • has one or more electric motors that have, singly or in combination, a power output rating of 500W or less. (Note: the motor is electric, and is incapable of propelling the cycle at speed of 32 km/h or greater on level ground, without pedaling.) and
  • bears a permanently affixed label by the manufacturer stating in both official languages that the vehicle conforms to the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle.

and....

The ministry has become aware of scooter-style vehicles that technically meet the pilot’s e-bike definition, but not the intent, as they are not primarily operated by muscular power due to their heavy weight. Therefore, in addition to evaluating how safely the e-bike can integrate with other motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians, the emergence of the scooter-style e-bikes requires the ministry to also assess if the pilot’s original intent continues to be appropriate. The ministry may clarify its position on the original intent of the pilot when final legislation is drafted.

Lastly....has anyone else noticed that all of those Eco-Cab drivers are flaunting the E-bike laws by not wearing a helmet?

There is one aspect of ebikes, specifically the scooter models, that's been overlooked and is worrisome to me: it's their weight. I don't know the typical weight range of the scooters but am guessing they're in the 100 LB range (please post e-scooterers).

My concerns revolve around how, if it all, the extra mass will translate into greater injury and damage to a cyclist during an accident. Scooters' fairings will mitigate harm to their riders, but cyclists remain exposed as ever; to them, a mishap with an e-scooter is no different than with a Vespa or motorcycle, which, of course, dedicated bike lanes are intended in part to deter.

The physics of collisions is oblivious to the carbon footprint of the concerned vehicles, the only relevant factors are mass and speed. The alleged powers presiding over the e-scooter/-bike experiment have rightly insisted on capping the wattage of e-twoWheelers. If they've not placed a limit on weight it should be seriously considered.

Because if e-scooters and cyclists are meant to inhabit the same road space, you can bet that when that mandate is taken too seriously and an overly intimate encounter ensues between the two, vulnerable cyclists will definitely come out on the losing end of the F = ma equation.

If you look at the amendment the "primarily" has been changed to "capable of".
But nice try...back to law school...LOL

Luke

Speed X Weight is an issue with many things. Cars, Bicycles, Skateboarders, Roller Bladers
Runners.
Everyday someone is either hurt or killed on a bicycle...What should we do about it? Licence them? Insure them? Or just take them off the road? Or should we just try to be more careful?
Not to mention helmets are optional if the rider is over 18. Now that is crazy!
Considering there are approximately over 2000 scooter style e-bikes on the roads in Ontario, I certainly do not read about or hear about a lot of accident stories. I am sure some exist, but if they were rampant and often, we would know. BC would have dismissed them 5 years ago if they were really really dangerous. ..I say...Let them be...they have track record in other parts of the world and Canada. I have ordered one and am picking it up in a couple of days...I will wear a helmet as the law depicts. I suggest lets focus some of this attention not on e-bikes but back onto cyclists themselves...Helmets should be mandatory! People who ride on sidewalks should be ticketed! Disobeying traffic lights and stop signs should seriously enforced. Speed control in parks and M.U.P. Too many people are getting hurt on them...lets insure and licence them...there how do you guys like it?

As cyclists, I do not have a problem with people who choose to ride an electric bike or scooter. I meet many people on my travels, on and off bike paths and they seem to blend in nicely. Our beef is still and probably always will be with motorists. Leave the e-bikers alone and let us focus on what is a real threat....the polluters.

The weight of an e-scooter is of an order of magnitude greater than that of a skateboard, pair of rollerblades or bicycle, each of which comprise a fraction of the operator's weight. Since a vehicle's potential for harm is commensurate with its weight (and speed), its mass is a valid concern in determining its suitability for bike lanes, particularly when those same lanes have been up till now expressly meant for the most vulnerable and exposed class of road user. Why include cars in the discussion? They don't apply.

As far as the rest of your post, it seems as if you've opted for dudgeon over reflection. One can favor the idea of e-scooters on bike lanes (see my first post in this thread) and yet still have reservations.

Now onto other witlessicisms: licenses, registration and insurance. I'm against these encumbrances of the auto-age, but frankly I've lately become more amenable to their application to cyclists if for no other reason than to shut up and deny a rationalization to those that mistakenly believe that their absence precludes cyclists from their right to the road or signal that pedallers are getting a free ride. Funny, even though I've no registration/insurance no one seems to object to that fact when using my tax dollars for building, maintaining, and policing the roads that have for their price of admission the ownership of a car. When was the last time an insurance company paid for the road you travelled down?

Further, since most commuter cyclists are licensed already to operate automobiles -- I am (GM), aren't you? -- licensing cyclists is largely redundant, only serving to further fill the government's coffers. And judging by the car-nage on our freeways the possession of a license doesn't confer competence upon an operator.

I suppose we can require by law that bicycles be registered, charging for the service, of course. Although I really don't know what purpose that would serve anyway since the prime reason for doing so is to facilitate the tracking of vehicles and owners. I've news for you: that's not a priority for the police. Getting around to busting up a bike theft operation that was an open secret took the better part of 10 years. They obviously have matters of more importance to attend to.

But count me in anyway. Let's not forget to register and insure kiddies tricycles' and, of course, scooters for the handicapped, skateboards, rollerblades and every other human powered, road worthy contrivance with wheels attached. Bureaucracy building a better world and brighter future for all. Right on, where do I sign up?

Your concern for cyclists' safety is touching: like you, we should all be forced to wear helmets. And since an accident involving cyclists is more likely to end in bruises, sprains, and broken limbs than a crushed coconut, we should also be mandated to wear knee and elbow pads, wrist braces, mouth guards and kevlar body suits -- just like you do, no doubt -- to protect against the sky falling at any given moment.

Look at all these suicidal cyclists. No helmets and no protective clothing -- -- bare headed children riding double!!!!. Amazing that they are among the cyclists in the world least likely to suffer an injury while indulging their reckless folly.

But, of course, they don't know what you do. Foolishly, they believe that the best way to secure oneself against a threat is to eliminate it, not to accommodate it through fiberglass brain buckets, mediocre infrastructure, excessive regulation, and relegation to the cultural fringes. Sure, let's perpetuate the tail wagging the dog; let's continue to shift the responsibility and the price for the hazards that automobility imposes on us away from those responsible, the motorists and their car culture, and onto ourselves. Let's continue externalizing the costs of a losing proposition then, Jimmy Boy, we will all be equal in our misery. There, are you happy now?

I can't agree more, Luke, and that is why I wrote what I wrote, particularly for those who have responded that they use MUPs and bike lanes because riding (driving) on the street feels dangerous for them. Most experienced cyclists have learned to exert their privilege on the road while also avoiding some routes that are, by their nature and design, uncomfortably dangerous. E-bikers are no different. They are allowed on the road, they belong on the road and they need to be comfortable on the road. That comes with time and experience.

When they made their decision to buy and use an ebike, they had to consider where and when they would use their bikes. If they thought they could ride any old place they wanted to, I'm afraid they were naive, short-sighted or simply not thorough in their estimations.

I can think of a couple of friends who would way less on an e-scooter than others I've seen on regular bikes!

Interesting points raised in this discussion.

I've been thinking about e-bikes I've encountered on my rides and initially I thought weight restrictions for e-bikes would be a good way to keep everyone safer on multi-use pathways. Then I remembered that when I go bike touring on my tandem bicycle, the bike plus gear weighs about 130 lbs, plus there is the weight of an added rider that you wouldn't have on a single, non-touring bike setup. And I wouldn't want anyone to say I couldn't take my rig on the paths, so if I don't want weight restrictions for bicycles, I don't feel right saying that there should be weight restrictions for e-bikes. I don't see how actively pedalling--I don't always pedal when I'm on my bike, and unless you ride a fixie, most people coast occasionally--makes a difference to safety, so I guess if I think it is safe for all when I ride the tandem on pathways, I have to admit that it's equally safe for an e-bike of equivalent weight.

If you look at the amendment the "primarily" has been changed to "capable of".
But nice try...back to law school...LOL

I wasn't suggesting that scooter style e-bikes are illegal. I was just pointing out that even the MTO thinks that the scooters are contrary to the initial intent of this pilot project.

The whole e-bike pilot project was promoted as a way to get more people cycling longer distances etc...etc... using regular bikes with power assist. But now some people are saying that up to 90% of e-bikes are these scooter-style bikes...totally different from what we were told would be the norm.

I'm not even sure why people prefer the scooters over the "normal" e-bikes anyway. The scooters have useless pedals. A normal electric-assist bike can go much faster in some cases when you can pedal faster than 32km/h without the motor going. Longer battery life with more pedal input too, an less chance of being "stuck" somewhere when your battery decides to crap out or the engine dies. A normal bike is easier to outfit with a wide range of cargo carrying options (racks, panniers, baskets, trailers, etc.), versus those cute little plastic buckets on the scooters. Also much easier to store and transport a normal e-bike.... So really, I just don't get the appeal of the scooters.

In any case, I support the the use of E-bikes, and even the scooter style ones. They don't bother me. I signed petitions to allow this pilot project to happen several years ago, when groups like the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa were working on it.

Heck...when I get older or start having difficulty doing some of the transportational riding that I do, I might opt for a power-assisted bike at some point. I'd rather get a bit of a power boost than have to rely on public transit. But I'd probably choose something more like a BionX addition to a regular bike.

I already share the roads with other cyclists, motorists, truck drivers, etc..etc... I don't mind having E-bikes in the mix. I'd rather have more e-bikes than more cars any day. I do, however, wish that more people would give actual human power a try.

Cheers,
Vic

Just my point of view as a retailer of both scooter style and open frame e-bikes. In the last two years I have found both styles attract a completely different market. I am finding our open frame are attracting cyclists who prefer a bicycle style bike to begin with but enjoy the benefits of the assist. A lot of these customers already own a bicycle but wish another one with a battery either for longer commutes or hilly terrain. The scooter style are attracting a generation of individuals who do not presently own a bicycle but are looking for an alternative to their car for short commutes. As previously mentioned by some posters, this actually is the intent of the pilot. Since the goal or the intent of the pilot is to reduce the number of cars on the road ,especially for people who are not travelling a great distance, I am finding the scooter style are do just that. The bike lane issue is another one altogether and I trust the province will make the proper decision. I do agree though that in other provinces in Canada and in other parts of the world this merging of the two products do not seem to be a problem in bike lanes. Both must be respectful of the others existance, and that therein seems to be the problem. When the pilot first began in Ontario, I do know alot of e-bikers (of both kinds) were getting ticketed by uninformed police officers. When I phoned the MTO to try to help with dissemination of information to the police, the representatives themselves who answered the phone were not even aware of the pilot or the bikes. To this day 20 months later I still come across police and mininstry officials that are confused on the laws of e-bikes.(both styles) To see the addition to the website that they are just becoming aware of scooter style, did not surprise me one bit. I had a customer just two weeks ago with an open frame bicycle get a ticket for an "improper helmet", The officer seemed to think that because it had a motor, the rider was required to wear a "motorcycle helmet". He of course was in error and that too did not surprise me.

Hi Larry - or anyone else,
Do you rent e-bikes or know of somewhere that does? I think that renting a scooter style e-bike may appeal to a regular cyclist that can't cycle for a while, say due to a broken leg.

Tanya

Segway, one of our distributors of Veloteq E-Bikes may be able to assist you. I know they rent their Segways for touring the Distillery but not sure about the bikes...I hope you have a speedy recovery.

I don't know yet whether or not I'll be able to manage the uphill climb in my weekly commute to Bloorview (re. earlier post in forum: commute from Christie Pits to Bloorview Kids Rehab) - the BionX might make all the difference between my cycling each week or taking the subway. My son will also be commuting in the same direction but would definitely not be able to manage the hill (we did it together last winter for a shorter commute and he had to walk up a good part of it) - this could make all the difference for him. Any idea what the price is, or whether it's legal for a 14-year old? Then again, it would probably not last one week parked outside a school before being stolen. :(

I think ds will have to TTC it or push his bike up the hill. As for me, I'll be trying it on a very very low gear! The BionX is worth many times more than both our bikes put together.

"And since an accident involving cyclists is more likely to end in bruises, sprains, and broken limbs than a crushed coconut"

Did you know that over 85% of all serious head injuries from bike falls could have been prevented by wearing a helmet? For children under 17, wearing a helmet is the law in five provinces in Canada - legislation that resulted in a drop in bicycle-related head injuries among kids by a whopping 45%! Many adults disregard this important safety habit, but children look to adults to set an example - and adult heads can also be injured

http://www.healthyontario.com/FeatureDetails.aspx?feature_...

Please don't take this the wrong way...I just think some cyclists are being to judgemental towards e-bikes. That's All! Your response was very eloquent and politician like...
My point was simply we should be working together to promote more bike paths to accomodate us both, and spend less time arguing who owns the bike lanes...

Jimmy Boy:

Did you know that over 85% of all serious head injuries from bike falls could have been prevented by wearing a helmet?

"Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics" - Benjamin Disraeli.

Pedestrian deaths in Toronto are typically 10 fold that of cyclists. Of course you recommend that mandatory helmet laws be extended to every biped in the GTA.

But that's small potatoes: every 10 minutes a Canadian suffers a stroke!. That's over 50,000 victims a year! Diets high in fibre and veggies and low in animal derived saturated fats have been scientifically determined to reduce the incidence of strokes. WTF! Where is the law requiring daily servings from the Jolly Green Giant!

Hold it though. Before the folks up on the Hill begin legislating anew perhaps they should abolish some edicts of old that are responsible for more deaths than a dearth of brain buckets will ever be: the legal safeguards of cigarettes and booze. Oops, can't do that, it's a kick where one is most vulnerable: right in the wallet. Can't forgo all those heavenly sin taxes...

So pass the Jack and I'll pass on the broccoli, thank you very much. By the way, do you have a light? As an aspiring candidate for a massive cardiopulmonary meltdown and pickled liver combo, how comforting to know that my preferred method of termination is blessed by the imprimatur of official legitimacy.

It's all enough to make one go mad, to bang your head against a wall! But take heed. A revision of the mandatory helmet law is pending: it will soon extend to lunatics, headbanging fans of Black Sabbath, hen pecked husbands and anyone else inclined to indulge in cranial collisions. Saved yet again by the wisdom of Solon!

I want my representatives to protect my rights and freedoms not spoon feed me dinner or tell me what to wear when riding my bike. That's what nannies are for.

8sml, you do indeed have a valid point. Your fully loaded touring tandem exceeds eScooters in its heft but I agree with you: it shouldn't be banned from bike paths.

But unlike you, I would like further limits placed upon eVehicles vis. their eligibility for dedicated bikeways. Perhaps my anxieties are misplaced but I expect this field of personal transport to thrive; I anticipate designs ranging from BionX bicycle bolt-ons to option laden eCaddies of golf cart dimensions and heft to proliferate. Wattage ratings should not be the sole criterion in granting access to bikeways. Discretion is in order here.

"I want my representatives to protect my rights and freedoms not spoon feed me dinner or tell me what to wear when riding my bike"

And that is how I feel about e-bikes...I do not want a puritan cyclist to dictate to me that I am not allowed on his path doing the exact same speed as he is....Just because he is pedalling and I am not.

Today I was coasting along riding my scooter style e-bike on a bike trail at about 8 km per hour, when a cyclist zoomed pass me screaming obsentities. Later today after work my girlfriend and I were out walking our dogs (on leashes) a cyclist zooms pass screaming obsentities. As we were laughing at his outrage, another goes passed and screams at a rollerblader. Would somebody please do a study and find out why cycling (not all of course) attracts lunatics. I think perhaps because their heart is racing, they are in the "fight or flight" mode. Since they are already moving, they just want to fight...Not very peaceful with you guys out there...So don't take it personally fellow e-bikers...they scream at everyone....

Some people have asserted that the scooter-style e-bikes were not intended by the e-bike pilot program. This is untrue.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I direct everyone's attention to a photograph of Ontario's Minister of Transportation at a photo-op after she announced the pilot e-bike program. Yes, the Minister of Transportation is driving a Veloteq scooter-style e-bike at:

http://veloteq.com/newsroom.htm

Too bad a bicycle doesn't confer civility or courtesy upon its rider, although I notice that it often seems to inflate him with an irritating air of self-righteousness. Just so much more hot air contributing to global warming...

One would think that any true cyclist would welcome an e-bike over another car on the road.
I cycle once in awhile but would not be considered an avid cyclist. I do not own an e-bike, yet.
I have been considering the scooter style. I have been a little reluctant only because it is a pilot program and do not want to be stuck with a white elephant. I wished the government would make a decision one way or the other...The suspense is killing me.

I don't see a need to put someone down for getting on an e bike and biking to work and even if it does put out a few emissions while its charging it still sure beats getting in a car and driving to work

I am growing weary of sanctimonious bicyclists who seem to think they have divine permission to use a portion of the roadway that they believe nobody else should ever traverse.
Every thread involving e-bikes brings them out. Yet every day--as a bicyclist, an e-biker or a car driver--I encounter bicycling idiots who pay no attention to laws nor to the fact that there seem to be other vehicles or pedestrians in their vicinity. In fact, I am willing to venture that there are at least as many poor bicyclists out there as good ones. Equally, there are good e-bikers and bad ones.

I ride a bike, but not so much these days because of knee problems. I have an e-bike, which suits me just fine on the days when my knee hurts. And I sometimes rent a car, although car ownership does not appeal to me. On the other hand, it is difficult to cycle 300 kms in a few hours, so I will continue to rent cars when necessary.

To the overly critical bicyclists (who, seem to be the same group that believes bicyclists can do no wrong), I say this: E-bikes are a part of your future. Get used to it. And realize that your bicycle is a bicycle, not a high horse.

I am growing weary of sanctimonious bicyclists who seem to think they have divine permission to use a portion of the roadway that they believe nobody else should ever traverse.

Point well taken. Tell me though, do you not harbor the same annoyance at the legions of motorists who've co-opted the lions share of road space as their own exclusive domain? We're fighting over scraps here; there won't be much a future for (e)cyclists if we continue to be exiled to the margins.

We're fighting over scraps here; there won't be much a future for (e)cyclists if we continue to be exiled to the margins.

I was thinking this morning that with all the people leaving their cars for bikes, ebikes, scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, etc. that maybe someday the roads will be for all these modes of transportation and the cars will be relegated to a few designated "carlanes". And then I woke up. :(

I like the way you dream Annie D. It really is time to bury the hatchet with cyclists and e-bikers.
United we stand and divided we fall. I have decided no longer to even respond to negative people...not on the internet and not in real life....

recently my tonka toy was written off by my nephew and while i was waiting for my new truck which was going to be a week for it to be shipped here which is nuts considering how many dealerships are in the toronto area i decided to borrow a friends mountain e bike to do my commute to Sharon which is just north of newmarket and all i can say is i got new respect for these ebikes and that there wicked since almost the whole trip up there is up hill i used the engine to assist me on the hills it turned a 30 minute commute at 4 am into a hour and a half but it was quite an enjoyable one and even though i'm a die hard cyclist in the city and the only time i do use my truck is to get to work and its a truck cause i manage a farm i'm considering getting myself an ebike and leaving the truck at work i think before anyone starts to say that they don't belong they should look at some of the commutes that are possible with an electric assist engine it might actually make you think about getting one with the trips that this type of vehicle make possible.

“More like scooters than bicycles, but importantly for road safety, they sport bright taillights and headlights, turn signals, and dual mirrors. “
If these are so important to road safety, why are they not on pedal bicycles?

“The current stats from the Ontario ministry of Energy and Infrastructure list that our electricity is generated by: 52% Nuclear, 21% Hydro, 18% Coal, 8%Gas, and 1% Wind “
The electrics have the potential to run off wind and solar and micro-hydro etc. Every time “Hydro” cleans up its act a little, ebikes get a little cleaner too. The other emission that ppl overlook are the fluids that gas/diseasal vehicles drip onto our pavements (into our drinking water so down your throat.) The little ebikes don’t have liquids like this.

“The concern I have with e-bikes is with the larger variety. The ones that look like a full size scooter and look like they weigh at least 100 pounds”
Clearly large ppl on pedal bikes should be banned!

“…you will have to contend with "alternative" modes of transport be they rollerblades, skateboards, e-bikes, Segways and who knows what else? “
Kick scooters. Far, far safer than rollerblades and skateboards.

“Yes, there are signs posted on the Martin Goodman trail that say "Speed limit 20 km/h". I have done a search of City of Toronto bylaws and regulations, and nowhere does this limit appear.”
§ 608-32. Speed.
The maximum rate of speed for vehicles, motorized recreational vehicles, bicycles and
personally powered devices in a park is 20 kilometres per hour.

“…the amount of energy needed accelerate is less. It doesn't go that fast so the energy in acceleration is less again. It uses an electric motor which has better energy conversion efficiency than a gas engine.”
500Watts is less powerful than most home hair dryers.

“…e-bikes have no business in bike lanes…”
There are plenty of ebike designs that look like mountain bikes etc… With a well designed ebike ya can’t tell the difference.

“My mind is changing.... Slowly.”
Atta boy At different times in history there have been bans against bikes that didn’t have wooden rims, that were recumbent, etc etc.

“…I was advised that because I am heavier, the smaller types would not work well for me.”
Nonsense. You were sold more than an “ebike”.

“My suggestion is that the police confiscate any bike that doesn't conform to the standard.”
Nonsense. They should confiscate any vehicle being operated in a dangerous manner.

"Bicycles and real bicycle e-bikes are the only vehicles I believe have any place using cycling infrastructure. The point here is not that we don't want them, but that the scooter style electric vehicles don't seem to fit in with what we already know. Perhaps we'll get used to this, or perhaps we'll find another space for those machines. I don't know what the answer will be -- or what it should be."

How `bout being better informed about the ebike product that is out there instead of buying the first piece of crap you see that has an “ebike” label?

“Of the E-bike users amongst us, how often do you pedal your e-bike? Be honest now.”
My “e-bikes” have been kick machines for well over 10,000km and eight years around Toronto. While not the best design for kicking, my next ones will be much better designed towards the kicks end of the spectrum.

“E-Bikes are by no means new, we have just be sheltered from the product for too long.”
Well said. Now we are just being shielded from quality ebikes…

“If I was an accountant or sitting at a desk all day or standing in one spot, I would probably welcome the ride to and from work on a bicycle.”
Well, I have squandered my life as an accountant … I enjoy motoring/kicking to my clients and kicking/motoring home again… Ya can change “kick” to “pedal” here, but you see the change in emphasis? It’s also healthier to kick in the parks and motor when alongside lines of smoking exhaust pipes…

“Lately, I've been thinking that a major problem we face is the high variability of speeds among cyclists. “
Nice thing about power-assist (on a light-weight pedal bike) is that it provides great acceleration. This makes it easier to slow down around visual obstructions, intersections etc… it’s a safety thing.

“Some interesting quotes from the MTO's "Power-Assisted/Electric Bicycles" page:
http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/in...”
That’s not the letter of the law. Ontario went with the Federal definition. Try this:
“power-assisted bicycle” means a vehicle that:
(a) has steering handlebars and is equipped with pedals,
(b) is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground,
(c) is capable of being propelled by muscular power,
(d) has one or more electric motors that have, singly or in combination, the following characteristics:
(i) it has a total continuous power output rating, measured at the shaft of each motor, of 500 W or less,
(ii) if it is engaged by the use of muscular power, power assistance immediately ceases when the muscular power ceases,
(iii) if it is engaged by the use of an accelerator controller, power assistance immediately ceases when the brakes are applied, and
(iv) it is incapable of providing further assistance when the bicycle attains a speed of 32 km/h on level ground,
(e) bears a label that is permanently affixed by the manufacturer and appears in a conspicuous location stating, in both official languages, that the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle as defined in this subsection, and
(f) has one of the following safety features,
(i) an enabling mechanism to turn the electric motor on and off that is separate from the accelerator controller and fitted in such a manner that it is operable by the driver, or
(ii) a mechanism that prevents the motor from being engaged before the bicycle attains a speed of 3 km/h; (bicyclette assistée)

“I'm not even sure why people prefer the scooters over the "normal" e-bikes anyway.”
Ignorance is bliss.

“The bike lane issue is another one altogether and I trust the province will make the proper decision. “
HAHAHA!!! …errrr sorry

“Ontario's Minister of Transportation at a photo-op after she announced the pilot e-bike program. Yes, the Minister of Transportation is driving a Veloteq scooter-style e-bike at:
http://veloteq.com/newsroom.htm”
While I spoke with Cansfield one evening her limo stayed parked outside in the bike lane for 1/2hr. Nice lady but clueless.

“I have been a little reluctant only because it is a pilot program and do not want to be stuck with a white elephant. I wished the government would make a decision one way or the other...The suspense is killing me.”
When I asked Cansfield about this she explained to me that it was only “labeled” a pilot because of some feared backlash by un-named parties… By that time the “pilot” period was well underway and she said they had nothing but positive feedback. (Course, this was before Veloteq et al were so prevalent…)

tks
Lock

Well, as soon as I heard about you guys, I went on line and joined the union, since Anthony suggested I do so. I am still waiting for a response of any kind. I have not received a card as was indicated.

Is this a hint, folks? Even if you were busy, it would be nice to have an acknowledgement that it would be forthcoming.

I assure you that the union is not ignoring you.

Member mail outs are queued and are mailed in batches once a month. You may need to wait up to six weeks to get your membership package mailed to you.

There is done this way for several reasons, but this is the best balance we have found for now.

don't worry your membership card will come with your stickers and stuff a good spot for the stickers is on the bike helmet and until they come your still a member and welcome ot the toronto cyclists union

pennyfarthing ok frye