Tell the province what you think of e-bikes

Love 'em or hate 'em, e-bikes have been a hot topic for discussion here.

The province has opened up the discussion of e-bikes, and where they fit into the regulatory framework in Ontario. This follows up on the Stakeholder meeting hosted by MTO on June 16th, and means that everyone can tell the province exactly how they feel the e-bikes pilot has been going, and what how the province should be handling these things going forward. You can through the website and also read the backgrounder.

Comments are due by July 9th. The pilot ends on October 3rd. The referenced document highlights some of the concerns that the province is aware of, and is looking for specific feedback on, such as:

E-Bike Safety Concerns:

  • E-bikes are silent (conventional bicycles generate noise from pedalling and chains);
  • Ease with which maximum motor speed can be increased through modifications;
  • Absence of standards/requirements for e-bike electrical components;
  • View that e-bikes can be operated by those with suspended licences to circumvent impaired driving penalties;
  • Sharing roads and bicycle paths with pedestrians and cyclists, given that some e-bikes are wider, longer and heavier than regular bicycles;
  • Inadequate braking systems, particularly those found on the larger/heavier e-bikes;
  • E-bikes resembling scooters cause confusion as to where they fit within the regulatory scheme on the part of law enforcement, municipalities and the general public;
  • No requirement for licensing/registration/insurance; and
  • Maneuverability and stability compromised due to small tires.

As we can direct our thoughts straight to the decision makers, I hope that we bring some other hot topics here for discussion.

Comments

Here is a great thread from 2008:
A letter from an e-biker
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The Province is now waving around recommendations formed in 2001 by the CCMTA...

...limit eBikes to 50Kg

...limit eBikes to pedelec (pedal-only where the motor adds power based on pedal input)...

From here:
CCMTA Best Practices Guide
The CCMTA document actually makes NO REQUIREMENT for pedelec only. What it ACTUALLY states is:
"The motor of a motor assisted cycle must cease to function or be disengaged when the operator stops pedaling; or when an accelerator or a motor control switch located on the handlebar is released; or when a brake or brakes are applied."

...and of course that CCMTA document is not backed up by any research but is based only on opinion and speculation...

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Furthermore, Transport Canada considered pedal-assist only or separate power when they first studied power-assist bikes in 2000.

Basically at first they had proposed legislation for pedal-assist only, then amended this to permit power separate after their study. Summary page here:
Electric bike 2000 project

From that page:
"The findings demonstrated that the two e-bike systems – electrically propelled and electrically assisted – were equally safe. Therefore, the new regulations should not include restrictions on the motor’s operating apparatus. In addition, users also noted that e-bikes encourage users to obey the Highway Safety Code more strictly (for example, they are more likely to stop at mandatory stops) because the bikes’ motor power makes standing starts easier. "

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It is amusing to re-read that 2008 thread on ibiketo:
"I hope, like Yvonne Bambrick of the Toronto Cyclist Union does, that more of these bikes will mean a better infrastructure for us all."

While in actual fact in 2009 Yvonne (the TCU?) is screaming like a Harpy at City meetings to ban "eBikes" from bike lanes and sidewalks... Hopefully clearer heads will prevail.

Recently the TCU put out a survey to ask Toronto cyclists what they think about "eBikes"... The survey was poorly designed and slanted in its intent. While 3/4 of respondents "voted" to keep "eBikes" out of bicycle lanes, the written comments were more revealing. Some quotes:

"the people who ride electric scooters are not likely to be converted to the bicycle, they have probably already considered it and have chosen a motorized vehicle. It is essential that we enable these folks to stay out of cars. Once they are sharing our space, they will think more like cyclists, and eventually demand the kind of infrastructure that benefit cyclists."

"bike lanes are not sufficient for them, so as they grow in number they will demand more space and safety on the road. These people are new allies and we have to support and encourage them until they can take their own piece of the road."

"Being religious about the 'human power' aspect of the bicycle serves no one. What we need is paths/lanes for slower more vulnerable vehicles and the more people that are using the current ones the more new ones we'll get."

Tks
lOCk

I've never seen anyone actually pedaling the e-bike (scooter version). so to mind mind, it's not a bike and shouldn't be on the bike path.

Lock...You know for a guy like yourself who I know doesn't care for scooter style e-bikes, I for one appreciate your post.
I cannot stress enough that more choices avialable to the public the more chance we have to get people out of their cars, at least for their short commutes. I use mine every nice day instead of my truck. I rode it in to work today 13 km along Sheppard which could accomodate thousands of these things. Not everyone wants to pedal, and the "look" of the scooter style attracts those people. One less car!

It seems like the "escooter" style one is going to go.

Good riddens, it was a corruption of the original intentions behind the pilot-project.

Concerns about it's weight, instability due to tiny wheels and the inadequate braking are all valid points. Those 80kg silent torpedos aren't for bike lanes... hey at least if you get doored you can rip the car-door right off and not go flying over it!!

lock,
Your quotes are taken out of context, from unreliable sources and a misrepresentation, for one "the province" isn't ontario but instead it's alberta. Nice try though - next time try writing something thoughtful instead of pasting randomness.

And for all those e-bikers who can't pedal anything and still want two-wheels, it's called a moped/scooter/motorcycle/car.. lots of other choices out there for you, don't tear at my heart strings claiming that forcing escooters onto the road and getting insurance is a death sentence.

Cheers.

The Federal Definition has been adopted by all of Canada as will be Ontario. The "Intent" was to convince people not to use their 2000 pound cars to go to the corner store to get a jug of milk.
Why would you wish people off an electric bike and back into their car, or worse yet a motorcycle that emits more toxins than any three cars? 16 inch wheels are certainly not tiny and can be found on some bicycles. I will agree that if a person thinks that a 132 - 175 pound bike, capable of speeds up to 32 km per hour, is too much bike for them, they are probably right.

Electric...You are aware that Alberta also once concerned about an e-bikes weight announced they are removing that restriction as of July 1st after realizing there was insufficient proof to prove that the increased weight of the bike was no more dangerous than a 200 pound projectile on a 12 pound bike. Thousands and thousands of accidents a year and you dare point a finger at us.

It's pretty clear that the Rest Of Canada has shown that safety concerns raised by TCU about 'scooter' style ebikes are at best, unfounded in real life experiences over the past several years, and at worst, bogus and needlessly alarmist.

To my eye it seems to come down to two fundamental complaints that YB and the ROC will never be able to reconcile:

  1. eBikes are not human powered.
  2. eBikes are ugly.

Personally, I think that bicycle carrier baskets full of fake plastic flowers are ugly, but I wouldn't invent phony reasons to ban them. And frankly, walking is just as healthy for you as bicycling, plus you're allowed to do it on the sidewalk if the cyclers on King St. will let you.

Consumer choice and consumer taste -- including the choice to be seen in public riding an ugly contraption -- is hardly an issue to rail to politicians about when there is so much good in the world that needs doing. (Bikes for Africa, homeless people here in T.O, etc.)

I honestly don't see how the TCU scores it as a "win" when I ditch the eScooter and buy a noisy and smelly motorcycle because the license and insurance will be the same for both.

If I can't ride my e-bike as of October, life will go on and I will ride my Chevy. No big woop as they say. I paid $500.00 for it used a few years ago and got some good use out of it. To the dump it goes along with the rest of them. I will certainly not licence and insure an electric bicycle. Sleep well Toronto Cycling Union leaders, you did a good job at getting us back in our cars. You really didnt think this one through did you? I may make bumber stickers that say "HONK IF YOU USE TO HAVE AN E-BIKE"

Sorry "electric"! Please clarify which sources are unreliable? Was it the CCMTA, Transport Canada, or the TCU?
Tks
lock

Hi "electric"... your point about "instability due to tiny wheels" is interesting. Can you point to any studies or reference sources about this please? I see quite a few folding pedal bikes around town these daze that seem to have very small diameter wheels. Also I have driven well over 10,000kms on 12" wheels... Any light you can shed would be appreciated!
Thanks
Lock

@ "electric"

"... for one "the province" isn't ontario but instead it's alberta."

Sorry again electric! I misunderstood and thought this thread was all about the recent posting by Ontario about the end of their pilot project on ebikes... seeking feedback on their thoughts about fine-tuning the Ontario legislation!

Never mind!

And frankly, walking is just as healthy for you as bicycling,

Well thats sorta true, you do not suck on as much exhaust when on a sidewalk due to not being directly behind auto-mobiles and we all know that doesn't help your lungs at all.

This statement however is completely untrue unless you are talking about the extremely casual scenic cyclists that coast whenever possible.

The vast majority of cyclists that use the road to get from A to B push themselves alot harder than casual Jane / Joe cyclist going 5km/h.
I'm not trying to flex my "e-peen" but I've had motorists tell me "You're going 30km/h, not bad dude!" Thats when I realise someone is watching and I push myself to about 40-45 km/h.

I realise I do not represent the majority of cyclists but I think most/all people (on this site) can attest to the fact that cycling gives you a much higher excersize regiment than just walking in the same amount of time.

If I understand you correctly, in Alberta, an e-bike/scooter can notionally weigh as much as a car and still be allowed in bike lanes?

Your point about a 200 pound projectile, i.e., rider, on a 25 lb bike carrying the same punch as a 125lb rider on a 100 lb scooter, is well taken, but I'm for a limit. Otherwise a candidate for a bike near you could be that same 200 lb. rider on a 250 lb. eWhatever and that strikes me as cause for concern.

I'd like to see constraints on power, weight, and size otherwise what's to prevent pseudo golf carts and such from inundating cyclists' lanes? This strikes me as definitely too much of a good thing.

Further, though such eBeasts may not exist or be popular now, good laws should acknowledge that eVehicles are a dynamic lot, and anticipate that not all flavours of battery driven wheels yet to transpire may be compatible with their pedal powered counterparts.

Luke, that's a fair comment if you also like a constraint on the length, width, height or weight of human powered vehicles allowed in the bike lane.
This might mean wider trikes or bicycles with trailers have to travel in the car lane though.

A golf cart would not be allowed in the bike lane because it is not a power assisted bike. I don't think most people get it. There are guidelines that the federal government imposed on e-bikes to prevent such things from appearing.
No weight restriction has existed in BC for 6 years and no "beasts" are on the road there either. Considering there have been thousands on Ontario roads and apparently an impeccable track rrecord should be worth something. If ontario becomes the province to kill the e-bike by licencing them, they would be the only province in canada that did. I guess it could happen. BC did not have cycling unions whining about them. why would they? Better than a car. I dont own one but I think they are cool. 32 kilometres an hour doesnt do it for me. I drive most places and bicycle once in a while. Too hot today to bicycle.

80kg is 176 lbs

176lbs of steel will do far more damage to a human body when compared 26lbs of steel followed by 150lbs of soft flesh. Both projectiles weight the same but the dangerous difference being in the density of the material and how easily it yields or doesn't!

Yeah, if i recall it was Alberta and not Ontario that was lifting those regulations...

What we all accept as a bicycle is clear and unmistakable.

What I see happening is a fundamental change in what we define as a bike (or reasonable facsimile thereof).

Should an "e-bike" be allowed where bikes are? Even the label of e-bike applies to two different styles (Scooter & PAB).

If we open the bike lanes and paths to different types of traffic, where do you draw the line?

Is it Electric Skateboards? Or maybe Power Assisted Roller Blades?

No?

How about E-Powered Baby Strollers?

No?

Solar Powered Gyro-Shperes then?

Citing studies is great for people like you lock.. keep up the good work.

Maybe... once you cite enough studies you'll even get a clue about how things really work!

p.s. if you want to have a civil discussion, tone yourself down a bit... one isn't going to get anything solved by frothing at the mouth.

Until then,
ciao!

Quoting another previous poster here:

Bike : E-Scooter : Car it's all about a 10:1 ratio of weight/mass

So stop with the micro analysis already.

If you're really unsure then ask yourself: Do you want to get hit by a 90lb person driving a 180lb e-bike or a 250 lb person riding a 20 lb bike?

*Hint: The 250 lb rider is not encased in a metal frame with a fiberglass shell

You just can't ride it in a bike lane or multi-use pathway.

Keep up the drama though, you might be able to write a good country song in your chevy with all that passive aggressiveness ya'll got.

Maybe you can make a feature film, "TCU killed the electric scooter"

haha, i love it.

Going to say this to you one last time, eScooters are the problem, not eBikes.

Great, we're done.

If we open the bike lanes and paths to different types of traffic, where do you draw the line?

Yeah Pedaller that's the heart of the issue. And without that line what's the point of painting that other line, the one that demarcates bike lanes? Just let everyone sort themselves out.

But I suppose that's for another thread...

;-)

Electric...Actually if they get voted off the bike lanes and paths, no they cannot go on the road You cannot just stick a motor on a bicycle and call it a motorcyle. There are guidelines. An e-bike is not equipped to be made to go faster. Underneath the plastic is a heavy duty bicycle frame not a motorcycle or scooter frame. The thousands upon thousands of scooter style e-bikes presently on the roads in Ontario would sit in garages until they were landfill. Easy to say licence and insure them, but the bike lanes are the only lanes open to them. If a pedal bicycle was to be all of a sudden insured and licenced it would not be as attractive as an alternative anymore to some people. It certainly would deter alot of people. The mandate for sustainable transportation and energy options is still in effect, and one of the options that is a proven success across Canada is "questioned" in Ontario by a small group of individuals. I have mentioned before and I will mention again, I think the TCU is doing some wonderful things, but they are way off base on this issue. The last thing they should want is to force scooter style e-bikers back in their cars for their short commuting needs. I rode mine to work 13 km today, instead of my truck. Multiply my story times the future potential of hundreds of thousands of motorists who would gladly switch if it means not pedalling. To pay insurance and licence fees to reach a maximum speed of 32 km per hour on level ground, would go over about as well as if cyclists had to pay for insurance and licence. The scooter style e-bike presently can be ridden on bike lanes and paths across Canada.
Wishing all these people back into cars to travel their 2 -15 km trip to work or to the store is nothing short of insane. And did I mention this mindset is only happening in Ontario? The TCU knows how to play the system so it was critical to get them (and others like them) to look at the bigger picture, but it's like talking to a wall. Millions of people in smaller towns and cities across Ontario do not experience the same "congestion" issues as those living and working in Downtown Toronto.
So many bike lanes across Ontario are seriously underused and capable of transporting thousands and thousands to their destination without using their car. If this ban of e-bikes happens in Ontario, it would be a serious step backwards for a province that should have been the leader in this great alternative to a car. We understand Downtown Toronto is seriously lacking bike lanes and there is too many bikes and too many pedestrians and too many cars. That is not even close to true elsewhere. Think outside your box!

Is there an instance where a cyclist has been rammed by an e-bike? Who cares about the 10:1 ratio, why all the fear mongering?

Nobody says anything about recumbent bikes with their chainring up front acting as a human powered chain saw, imagine if they were banned from bike lanes. It's a ridiculous idea.

Easy to say licence and insure them, but the bike lanes are the only lanes open to them

I'm confused. How are bike lanes the only lanes open to e-bikes? I've in fact never even seen one in a bike lane, although I've seen a few in curb lanes. Isn't there a middle ground between denying them access to bike lanes and licensing them?

However, I don't really see their presence in bike lanes a big deal. Can anyone who knows a little physics comment on this whole idea of the effect of metal weight vs. fleshy weight in a collision?

From Veloteq E-Biker:

Underneath the plastic is a heavy duty bicycle frame not a motorcycle or scooter frame.

From Electro rocket in another thread:

...The ebike that are sold in todays market are dangerously underpowered!!!!

Oh, and for you[r] files, the better ebikes are made from the same metal as the gas bikes, in fact they are often the same frames with an electric conversion you dolt. If the gas version is safe to do 80KM, then it makes sense that the electric version is spec'd for it. In fact, the same bikes in the US and Asia do those speeds, and yes, many of the better bikes come with disc brakes...

It seems there's a divergence of opinion.

http://www.e-ride.ca/Electric_Scooters/index.html

I just checked the one website above, but all their models (which seem to cover all the different ones I've personally seen on the road) have motorcycle grade steel frames.

Many of these bikes are 200 pounds and up too with the battery installed. Having been hit by a bike before, I definitely don't want one of these plowing into me while I'm riding (or walking).

Definitely be careful around them guys, they're a bit scarier than I thought.

Ride outside of bike lanes, just as bicycles can legally ride outside of bike lanes. There are no mandatory bike lane laws. Non-designated lanes on the roads are for all vehicles.

Scooter Style E-bikes range in price from $500.00 to $3000.00 and there are many different manufacturers of different bikes with different frames underneath. The cosmetic coverings resembling scooters is placed over top of all of these bikes so they end up looking identical.
In other words, If you dress a duck up with a tuxedo and a top hat...it is still a duck. Some bikes because of their weight or lack there of use drum brakes. Others a little heavier may use disc brakes. Most brakes on most scooter style e-bikes actually exceed the requirements by law.
It is up to the rider on both a bicycle and an e-bike to perform safety checks.

Most scooter style e-bikes range from 132 pounds to 176 pounds. If you are scared of these you must be petrified of cars...and so you should be. The ICBC (equivalent to the MTO & Insurance) company in British Columbia would have insured and licenced these 6 years ago if they felt the need for it. I cannot change your fears..Do you have any fears dashing downhill on your bicycle at 50 km per hour and hitting a pothole and being ejected from your bike, or do you just lay awake fearing to be rear ended from one of us. LOL Don't be afraid Dash...We see you.

Please have the TCU and the MTO show us some real accident statistics involving E-Bikes for the last 3 years then compare it to bicycle accident statistics on our roads. That should show who is more dangerous on our roads by real world statistics instead of the TCU and cyclists fake made up fear mongering!!

E-Biker

Veloteq I'm curious to know how exactly you would (legally) define an e-vehicle so that it qualifies for all the entitlements currently extended to traditional bicycles -- i.e., no license, no insurance, no registration, and no helmet requirements; still eligible for bike lanes and multi use paths. (I don't know why there's a helmet requirement for e-bikes and none for traditional(adult) cyclists in Ontario; you'd think a consistent approach would do away with it.)

The law, ass as it is, should require clear demarcations in weight, power, and operator accreditation for e-bikes, limited-speed motorcycles, and motorcycles. Where do you draw these lines?

electric bikes/scooters should NOT be allowed on bike paths or multi users paths period ! yes they are dangerous on these paths because of the weight of the ebikes and the speeds that they go, I am all for differnet types of transportation but not on the bike trails/multi users paths ebikes/scooters should remain on the road where they belong. also the cops should put a stop to the roadies that fly on these paths at HIGH speeds when the paths are crowded .

What is wrong, you cannot provide the evidence for all the lies you cyclists and TCU have been spewing out! You say E-Bikes are so dangerous yet you cannot produce one shred of evidence to back up your claims at all. Now the real truth comes out!!

E-Biker

I had no particular position on e-bikes a few months ago.

Now that the discussions seem to take up all of ibiketo's fora, and I see the "advocacy" of e-bike proponents (bluster and attitude, mostly), of course I had to send in a comment to the province.

Just on principle, I'm with TCU on this issue!

You always were Ed!

Can anyone who knows a little physics comment on this whole idea of the effect of metal weight vs. fleshy weight in a collision?

Basically a person deforms a whole lot easier than steel.

In physics speak a collision between two objects of the same mass - an 80kg scooter and 80kg human going the same speed exerts the same kinetic energy, or force - as measured by F=1/2mv^2

When an 80kg person and an 80kg person collide at a certain speed, both people deform in an equal manner, this is because they have about the same elastic modulus.

But when a 80kg head-tube or handlebar made of steel hits a person, said person is absorbing the force(stress) in a small area - such as their back or legs in a scooter strike - is far far far more likely to experience high levels of strain(a measure of deformation) on their body while absorbing said impulse. Just to give you an idea, it takes to 30,000,000 lb/in^2 of force to compressively deform steel... rubber is something like 15,000 lb/in^2. You're not going to deform steel with your body.

If you got hit directly on the leg/body by a steel headtube of an escooter weighting 80kg it would feel the same as being hit with a 80kg/176lb steel baseball bat going 32km/h. If you've been hit by a wooden bat, which has a lower elastic modulus and weighs 2lbs before then you can have an idea of just how damaging this 176lb steel bat would be. Comparatively a 2lb pork chop(a scaled down 80kg person) hitting you at the same speed as the 2lb bat causes far less strain yet in both collisions the force is the same.

Personally i'd rather be hit by a car going 32km/h, at least some of cars have crumple hoods and the force of the collision is spread out over a larger area, which would result in less "strain" on my body. Oh and those plastic fairings... they won't offer any "crumple zone" protection for the child who accidental strays out in front of you - they'll just shatter.

There is a viable exchange of ideas going on here Ed. There has been a good banter from both sides. Its good you have made your decision. I am going to keep an open mind though and continue to hear the banter, Both sides seem to have valid points. They have existed other provinces successully for years. On the bicycle side of things they do not resemble a bicycle and that bothers cyclists, because of their look and apparent size and weight. It would be an interesting study to find out why other provinces have been more open to this style of e-bike. If everyone spent more time researching than vocalizing opionion we could have had this information by now. Opinions are fine.Everyone has one, but at the end of the day thats all they are, Some facts would be good. Good, bad or indifferent.

Well E-Biker, I would have preferred to address this point before you accused (all) cyclists and the TCU of "spewing" lies, but I guess your opinion (in your opinion) is the "truth".

The lack of ANY data on the operation of e-bikes on roads, bike lanes and bike paths is limited at best; so your point works both for you and against you.

To my knowledge, there is no data on snow mobile use on public roads and highways either, but that doesn't mean that we should allow them on these domains.

I respect that people will want to make points both for and against e-bikes, but try to keep from losing your composure in a public forum.

I was assured by a salesman that the batteries on E-Bikes will never shrink your balls, but I haven't seen any data to suggest that this is the case - so I'm just going to decide for myself.

Well if there is little or no data then why are the cyclists on this forum and the TCU stating E-Bikes are dangerous when there is no evidence to prove it. Yet in the rest of the world E-Bikes have been proven to be a safe viable form of transportation. Why is only Ontario and especially Toronto and the TCU the only place in the world trying to get this proven form of vehicle off of the roads. And before you say the TCU only wants them out of the bike lanes, where did the MTO get the idea to try and get them classified as LSMs, from the TCU of coarse. The TCU knows that if E-Bikes are classed as LSMs they will be killed off of the market the same way Mopeds were in the past. I know what the TCU and the more selfish cyclists are trying to do this so that they will no0t have to share the public paid biking infrastructure. But the reason E-Bikes were allowed in bike lanes was for the public who paid for the bike lanes would get more use of them then there is now. Remember Toronto is only a very small part of Ontario and Toronto and the TCU should not be trying to change all of Ontario's E-Bike laws without consulting all the rest of the cities and towns in Ontario with a none biased vote. And do not bring up the TCU's poll. It was childishly slanted against E-Bikes with unfair bias in every question and did not mean anything. The CBC poll was a real poll that was not biased and it should be used instead.

So if you need proof of the high safety record of E-Bikes ask most of Canadian provinces, most of the USA and all of the U.K. and England, then you will see how foolish you the TCU and Ontario will look in the eyes of the rest of the world. I am ashamed that my son and daughter will grow up knowing they live in a city that instead of embracing a newer form of transportation instead tries to ban it because the city is too scared to try something that is new but proven safe over the last six years. Plus Ontario listens to a small group of cyclists (that does not always follow the laws) and the TCU that is only interested in it's own selfish interests only and is not interested in what is good for anything outside of its small section of Toronto and the GTA but not the rest of Ontario.

E-Biker

Why is only Ontario and especially Toronto and the TCU the only place in the world trying to get this proven form of vehicle off of the roads.

I'd say the TCU just want eScooters out of bike-lanes, out of multi-use pathways, and a reclassification of escooter styled e-bikes into LSMs. This isn't the same as banning them from the roads.

The TCU knows that if E-Bikes are classed as LSMs they will be killed off of the market the same way Mopeds were in the past. I know what the TCU and the more selfish cyclists are trying to do this so that they will no0t have to share the public paid biking infrastructure.

Again, TCU hasn't taken a stance against e-bikes. Only the eScooters. You're free to pedal your real ebike, you know, the one that isn't a moped with a battery instead of gas tank and vestigial pedals.

So if you need proof of the high safety record of E-Bikes ask most of Canadian provinces, most of the USA and all of the U.K. and England, then you will see how foolish you the TCU and Ontario will look in the eyes of the rest of the world.

E-bikes, specifically the eScooters are a brand new development- they have no saftey record here. Sorry, but you can't compare apples(traffic records from denmark) to oranges(traffic records from china) and just assume everything else is equal. I don't see why eScooters should be any safer than a gas scooter - Though, you could use the gas scooter's safety record in Ontario.

I am ashamed that my son and daughter will grow up knowing they live in a city that instead of embracing a newer form of transportation instead tries to ban it because the city is too scared to try something that is new but proven safe over the last six years.

Again it hasn't been proven "safe"... haha who is saying it's been proven safe??

If you're not proud to live here, thats OK. When I hear about all these selfish escooter owners who don't follow the spirit of our rules and laws that govern out streets, who just reinterpret them and take advantage driving/parking their scooters where they like I feel a little ashamed for them also.

E-Bikes have been proven safe around the world and that DOES matter. Just because a small number of cyclists and a so called union will not accept the truth should not be listened to in a provincial scale. Cyclists always use Copenhagen and other countries as evidence in topics on bicycles and you are saying E-Bikers cannot use other cities and countries as proof as well. How biased and unprofessional is that! If you just want to use TCU's coverage area (Toronto and the GTA only) then the E-Bikers have already won, because there is no instances of accidents from scooter style E-Bikes except for the cyclists and TCU false information compared to the hundreds of reported and real accidents involving bicycles every year. Let's see a vehicle with no proven accidents over a 3 year period verses a vehicle with a proven track record of hundreds of accidents every year, which one is safer on our roads and bike lanes statistically. Also which vehicle off the showroom floor has more built in safety features:

Bicycle

built in on the store floor
- built in reflectors
- light duty brakes
- may or may not have a light duty suspension system
- narrow tires

safety devices needed to be added after the sale
- bell or horn
- helmet (but adults do not need a safety helmet)
- front headlight
- cargo space in the form of bags or baskets
- fenders or mud guards

E-Bike scooter style

built in on the store floor

  • horn
  • signal lights
  • headlight
  • tail light
  • brake light
  • reflectors
  • heavy duty disk or drum brakes (motorcycle grade)
  • heavy duty suspension system (motorcycle grade)
  • wider tires
  • extra cargo space in the form of glove compartment, underseat weatherproof storage and a rear trunk
  • flexible ABS fairing system that acts as a crash crumple zone in a accident (motorcycle grade ABS)
  • keyed power switch for security reasons and safety when the E-Bike is parked
  • scooter style E-Bikes have a lower center of gravity making them more stable, predictable in handling and more maneuverable
  • rider is in a more upright setting position thus able to see around themselves easier and able to do shoulder checks better. And they are setting in a upright position so other users of the roads can see them better, better for the back and spine as well
  • built in fender or mud guards

safety devices needed to be added after the sale

  • bicycle or motorcycle helmet (required by law)

See the differences. And this is real world proven, Any E-Bike store has the proof setting on the showroom floor in actual hardware.

E-Biker

I mostly agree with what you've said, but there are two factors I can think of that change things slightly:

  1. Surface area: You've pointed out that the e-bike fairing would shatter, and that you'd be hit by the (probably) steel tubes inside, comparing them to baseball bats. Two things here: 1. the fairing would disperse some of the energy of the impact, and 2. a baseball bat probably has more surface area than the bicycle tubes, although I've never seen inside of an e-bike to compare.
  2. centre of mass: It's pretty unlikely that an e-bike would hit anyone in the head. They are fairly low, and would hit most people in the legs or lower torso. I also doubt that one would endo very easily.

It is scary to think of one hitting a child while travelling at top speed, but without crash testing it's difficult to say whether it is more dangerous than a car in a collision.

I used the wrong wording for sure. I didn't mean to send out the "fear" concept. What I was trying to do was communicate that one shouldn't take the e-scooters for granted as something as nimble as a fellow cyclist in the bike lane. Sure there's lots of lighter ones out there, but knowing there's heavy ones too is enough to change habits.

In other words, give them the same amount of respect as you would the car, motorcycle or gas scooter in terms of how that vehicle would react to a hinky situation (and how you would act in turn).

I may over-think it on the roads, but my OCD in this helps me sleep at night.

As for barreling down a hill at high speeds, no I admit I would not do that (not without scouting first anyway if it's a race). I am definitely scared of the potential potholes and debris. heh

That Dash I do agree with, thanks for clarifying it. Like you said if the scooter style E-Bike Riders give the cyclists the respect on the roads they deserve and the cyclists give the scooter style E-Bike riders the respect on the roads they deserve then there will be little problems and we would not have to argue like this and have the cyclists try and get us ruled off of the roads. In the rest of the world scooter style E-Bikes and cyclists get along fine, why can't Toronto, the TCU and the Toronto cyclists?

If cyclist change and try and get along with us scooter style E-Bike riders then we will try and help the cyclists get more and better cycling infrastructure. I know I would if the cyclists stopped trying to get the MTO to reclassify the scooter style E-Bikes into a license/insurance required classification that will kill the market. Until then I am going to fight against them and against their organization in any way I can.

E-Biker

The federal definiton is extremely clear as it was written in 2001, and should be left the way it is.
It would create mass confusion for retailers, customers, manufacturers and law enforcement if each province created their own laws on e-bikes. For example, if in BC e-bikes were allowed 32 km per hour, Alberta 35 km per hour but they couldn't weigh more than 120 pounds, Manitoba 20 Km per hour and oh yeah they can't weigh more than 110 pounds and you need a licence and insurance to drive one in Ontario and 20 Km per hour.
The provinces should just adopt the federal definition (as did all the other provinces) and avoid the confusion. Close your eyes and think 50 years into the future. There will be bicycles, electric bicycles, electric motorcycles and electric cars. Fight it all you want but it is the future and the future is friendly.

Thought it was a bicycle? Hahaha, nice double-speak.

Your eScooter includes for $2000-3000

  • horn(just like a motorcycle)
  • signal lights(just like a motorcycle)
  • headlight(just like a motorcycle)
  • tail light(just like a motorcycle)
  • brake light(just like a motorcycle)
  • reflectors(just like a motorcycle)
  • heavy duty disc or drum brakes (motorcycle grade) (just like a motorcycle)
  • heavy duty suspension system (motorcycle grade) (just like a motorcycle)
  • wider tires (just like a motorcycle)
  • extra cargo space in the form of glove compartment, underseat weatherproof storage and a rear trunk (just like a motorcycle)
  • flexible ABS fairing system that acts as a crash crumple zone in a accident (motorcycle grade ABS) not a real crumple zone, any detroit engineer is laughing by now
  • scooter style E-Bikes have a lower center of gravity making them more stable, predictable in handling and more maneuverable (untrue, the thing weighs 8 times more than a bike, it isn't more manuverable. The smaller wheels and increased load make it less stable than a bicycle with 700c)
  • rider is in a more upright setting position thus able to see around themselves easier and able to do shoulder checks better. And they are setting in a upright position so other users of the roads can see them better, better for the back and spine as well (lots of bicycles put you in an upright position)
  • built in fender or mud guards (can i get nice looking shot-peened aluminum ones? no? oh :( too bad)
  • 45kg toxic battery.

Most of the above items can be put on a $800 bike for well less than a total sum of $3000
that definatly includes racks, pannier bags, fenders, lights and larger tires.. you can buy two bikes for the price on an escooter.

If you're going to cite accident stats, please provide us some real numbers.. maybe from the TPS...
How many e-bikers are there compared to cyclists anyways???

Copenhagen is a great city to cycle in. Probably cuz they don't let motorcycles in their bike lanes.

There's a difference between "motorcycle grade steel frames" and "motorcycle frames." I have "air frame grade titanium" implants in my root canal but I don't have an F-18 in my jaw.

BTW "motorcycle grade steel" is lighter and stronger. (emphasis on the lighter), which seems to be a concern of a lot of people.

Can anyone show any police or insurance or hospital reports anywhere of collision results between an e-Scooter and a bicycle that was any different from two bicycles colliding? "Electric's" theoretical physics lessons are enthralling, but there needs to be some practical lab experience introduced into the mix.

The space station could theoretically fall into Toronto and kill us all but the practical possibility of that is about as likely as an eBiker trading in their machine for a 1962 Schwinn.

There seems to be some confusion here. Let me address one point.

Municipalities get to decide which conveyances are allowed in bike lanes. The Province gets to decide what vehicles get to travel on public roadways. (And in this province, almost all the bicycle lanes are part of the public roadway.) The Federal government gets to decide which vehicles -- including bicycles -- are safe to be sold in Canada.

If the city bans eScooters from bike lanes, that is purely a City Hall decision. The eScooters can still travel in the other lanes.

What the Province is considering is removing eScooters from the "bicycle" class of laws and putting them in the "Low Speed Motorcycle" class, (which the federal government explicitly opposes). eScooters are manufactured to the federal standards for Power Assisted Bicycles, which are different standards from the much more powerful gas scooters. Even the signal lights are placed differently!

If Ontario classifies eScooters as LSMs, the manufacturers will just stop selling eScooters here and concentrate on the other provinces and states where they are street legal. Nobody will make an LSM eScooter just for the Ontario market. So the reality is, eScooters will not be allowed on the roads, including the bike lanes.

For people who believe that eScooters have a place on the roadway but not in the bike lanes, you should be supporting the eBikers at Queen's Park (to have the eScooters allowed), but you should be fighting them at City Hall to keep them out of bike lanes.

By my reading of the recent TCU survey, about 95% of the respondents said they were okay with having eScooters on the roadway.

Killing the eScooter at the provincial level is the wrong way to go, and it's contrary to the way the rest of the country has already gone.

The Pedaller, I think everyone here agrees with that salesman you talked to. You have nothing to worry about.

Experiment #1

Throw a meatball at a ball of steel, make sure the meatball is about the same mass at your piece of steel.

My hypothesis: meatball deforms due to excessive strain, possibly exploding and ruining your spaghetti diner not to mention making a mess.

Expriment #1

Throw a steel ball at a steel ball.

My hypothesis: steel balls bounce off each other and go their seperate ways.

possible explanation: meatballs aren't as resilient to strain as steel balls.

hypothesis: for all intents are purposes human flesh is about the same as a meatball when colliding with steel objects.

Rocket science??

Motorcycle grade steel is stronger(harder to deform with your body) but as for lighter, 20-30% max for HSLA types, this isn't so exciting because the escooters real problem is mostly the heavy motor and battery attached behind said super-hard steel...

Shrinkage can only be caused by cycling in cold rain. LOL

As far as I'm concerned one federal law should apply period. I communicated that message to the MTO, specifying that they should conform to CCMTA best practices, capping the weight and power of ebikes at 50 KG and 500 watts respectively. (Presently, Ontario doesn't cap ebike weights.)

I went on to say that it's immaterial whether they have functional pedals or not as long as they're constrained to the above weight and power rating. The act of pedalling itself should not be a prerequisite for access to bicycle lanes (though some municipalities' may rule otherwise).

Further, I recommended to the MTO that (adult) operators of ebikes NOT be required to wear helmets -- just like mature cyclists, they can decide for themselves.

In short I believe that ALL entitlements currently enjoyed by cyclists be extended to ebikers (providing their vehicles conform to the above) .

Does that sound like someone who's fighting ebikes and, as you state, the future?

Luke...I stand corrected and my apologies. I of course do not wish them to be limited to 50 kg because that opens up a whole new can of worms against other bikes as well. A cyclist carrying two kids in the back or cargo would also have to be included. My bike weighs 132 pounds with the battery (battery 42 pounds). My bike weighs in at 82 pounds, and with my battery, which could be considered cargo weighs a combine 132 pounds. I grew up riding around on a moped which could do 55 km per hour and no licence was needed becuase of that speed. 32 really isn't that fast. I use to cycle faster than that. Once again it is only Ontario that has an issue and that is bothersome. I do not consider myself to be a danger to anyone at that speed and like a cyclist my only threat is the automobile. I feel very comfortable commuting my 13 km to work everyday and my low centre of gravity I feel very stable. 3 years now and not even close to an incident. We need the Federal Definition across Canada and that does not include a weight restriction. They will be made lighter in the future to help increase range, so the worry that manufacturers want to make them heavier should not be a concern. If left alone within 3 years they will all be under 50kg. To stunt growth at this point would be a mistake and one that only exists here.

like a cyclist my only threat is the automobile.(e-biker)

Uh. Maybe if I had 130 pounds of dead weight to absorb a impact I wouldn't worry about other e-bikes to. But unlike e-bikers we are afraid of a collision with a heavy e-bike/motorcycles who do often use our lanes. It probably wont happen anytime soon with so few people actually biking/e-bikeing compared to how many people drive but when we start hitting 10%-15% of the municipal population cycling/e-biking and crowding becomes a issue in the b-lanes... well we will see who wins in the battle of the bumper-bikes.

I do not believe for a moment you are afraid of ebikers, because you wouldn't be cycling in traffic to begin with if you were. I am going to assume you wear a helmet though, because if you are afraid of us, you must be petrified of cars. It is no wonder Ontario decided to do a pilot and not just legislate them through even after witnessing their success for 3 years. They want to protect all the people in Ontario who are afraid. The cowboys out west aren't afraid. The Quebecers, nothing scares them. The East Coasteners, they love these things. Just here in Ontario. What the hell is going on here?
What happened to all the real men in Ontario? Did they all move to Alberta?
Are you afraid of playing hockey too,or baseball or riding your bike very fast too. how about skateboarding or skiing? They can all be very dangerous sports. It was not long ago mopeds did not require licences and could go 45 and 50 km per hour. Nobody was afraid. I ride mine along sheppard and I guarantee you if a cyclist sees me he is not afraid. We see you, we havent hit you yet. Why is it young cyclists think they are so skilled and we are not. Most of us have cycled longer than youve been born and now we want to cruise along a bike path between 20 - 30 km per hour just like a cyclist on paths we paid for, but people are afraid? A province filled with fairies. No wonder the government wants to protect you...you ask them to.

Leave it to veloteq to ignore my position and blow things out of proportion where emotion overrides logic.

A province full of fairies? That is just low.

Im not debating with someone that compares biking to skiing, try watching some star-trek and study the vulcans.
It may sound silly but you can learn alot from them veloteq, they are skilled in presenting a reasoned and sound argument which you are not.

Sorry Pedal Power, But I am more like Kirk protecting my starship than a Vulcan. For 3 years I have been riding my bike to work on the nice days and not driving my truck. The comes along a one year old cycling union and starts whining about ebikes and in the name of safety tries to have them banned when every other Federation Planet has adopted them "makes me crazy". If Ontario does that, myself and thousands others will simply pop back in their car or truck. That is insane, and a cycling union wishes this? I understand they dont want people to call them bicycles. Who cares, but the paths and the bike lanes are THE ONLY PLACE they can go. If a path is congested, okay ban them. But to wish for a provincial ban with thousands of kilometres of under used paths and roads capable of transporting people to work and back is maddening to me. My apologies again, but I love my bike and I enjoy my ride to work and I know so many that do. Most of them are nowhere near YB face or space. So if I occasionally lose it, it is because I find it illogical...

Veloteq Rider

...and even Spock, once every seven years "loses it". LOL

Veloteq Rider

Veloteq, sorry that you've "lost it", but your temporary insanity helps illustrate the point I have been trying to make.

Let's not ban eScooters from Ontario (Provincial regs), let's allow them and then figure out where they should and shouldn't be permitted to drive (Municipal regs).

Can all the sentient species at least agree on THAT?

Can you link some evidence to the Provincial regulations that will crush e-bikes in Ontario Velo? I did a quick interweb check on it and came up empty handed, all I found was that the 3 year trial period for the current e-bike regulations is about to expire... nothing on them being banned from anywhere. You may be getting confused with the municipal (Toronto) push for them to be banned from Bikelanes/Trails.

I did find this from now mag about the end of the 3 year prov. trial...
Here is something I agree'd with:

No wonder other bike lane users aren’t exactly fans. It’s not just that e-bikes are space hogs, but they’re also very quiet. Users think of that as an advantage, but when an e-bike comes up beside cyclists, it can scare the shit out of them.

“Couriers hate us,” admits Friedlander,

As a future bike courier (I start Tuesday this week) I am not looking forward to wrangling with anything other than bikes in my lane. I've been having turf wars with gas powered motorcycles / scooters lately w/o having a large e-scooter cork directly where I want to weave through traffic.

The now article was actually in favour of e-bikes (despite my quote) but covered both sides of the debate.

Here is the article:
http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=168765

EDIT:
It seems velo that you are complaining about the possibility of a restriction on your e-bikes. Instead of whining like it has already happened maybe you should organise some support from your fellow e-bikers to voice your opinion on the subject... much like the top of this thread is asking you to do.

Oh I liked this quote to:

But careful. “I gained weight as soon as I started riding my e-bike,” confesses Friedlander. “I just wasn’t putting out the same energy.”

And here is one for the e-bikers, so I don't get hit by digital-rotten vegies for being a biased pedal enthusiast.

the e-bike uses no fossil fuel, exactly the green reason the province is all over it, and can go as fast as 30 km/h. Just plug it in for three to eight hours to recharge it and get, depending on the model, a 30 to 50 km ride.

And the ride is smooth.

“It’s like cruisin’ on a couch,” says I.T. systems analyst Jason Friedlander,

E-bikers will like that last one.

electric... without studying things, isn't everything else conjecture?

Hehe... lots of science here... not much common sense ("common sense", one of my favourite oxymorons... and who snuck "moron" into the word oxymoron anyway?)

As a pedestrian I have been knocked over twice already by car bimbos driving their 20th-century motorized carriages... Fortunate both times that I ended up on the hood instead of underneath...

Please the Gawds may the next vehicle be only two wheeled... gas or electric or pedalled, I don't care.

When you strip away the seat belts and air bags and crush zones, it makes for a FAR safer vehicle, (for everyone else around.) Because of the basic human need of self-preservation. Lets get back to basics!
tks
lOk

"Most scooter style e-bikes range from 132 pounds to 176 pounds."

Interesting to note that about 80% of the rest of the ebike world ride bikes that weigh less than 100lbs... Why is that do you think?
cheers
lOk

"Scooter Style E-bikes range in price from $500.00 to $3000.00 and there are many different manufacturers of different bikes with different frames underneath."

Actually, if you buy by the container FOB China I have never seen an ebike priced at more than $500 each... I assume the diff. (up to $3000???) is mostly marketing/hype. Having said this, the $500 price includes lead-acid batts, and no self-respecting ebiker these daze would settle for lead. Throw another $500 bux in there and step up to LiFePO4... if you look at life-cycle costs, it's a no-brainer...
tks
loC

Toronto parks comprise 12% (one-eight) of the City land area. Banning ebikes from Parks is a serious impedement to ebike introduction. BTW, Toronto Parks maintain acres of parkland paved as free parking lots designed to encourage ppl to drive their motorized carriages through the city and into our parks...
Tks
loCk

I hope that when you or someone you love are run down by a motorized vehicle it is a two-wheeler and not four.

I have spent the last three years doing just that. Promoting e-bikes and defending them to certain people who are not aware of their success in other cities or provinces. To hear complaints like "too quiet" is amazing. Perhaps all bicycles should go back to baseball card and clothespin. LOL When I see comments like " I gained weight as soon as I started riding my e-bike" people want to blame an e-bike. Lets blame video games at the same time. I know many people who are in great shape that ride e-bikes and i am one of them. I know alot of obese people who ride bicycles, perhaps trying to lose weight. That is fantastic. Would never knock a bicycle.
E-bikes are supposed to replace cars, not bicycles. If someone is cycling....Great! If someone is taking the car to the corner store to get a jug of milk or a loaf of bread, not so great. I used to drive to work, now I e-bke. My excercise is not cycling. Join the rowing club for that or the gym or play tennis. Cycling is great, don't get me wrong but it is hardly a full body workout.
I have never tried to deter a cyclist from cycling. Alot of cyclists have cars and a bike. I have a bicycle, a car and an e-bike and each one has another purpose. When gas hit $1.40 a litre last year I rode my e-bike to work for three months and saved myself at least $600.00 in gas and he environmental benefits were the plus. And as usual, the complaints are from downtown Toronto, when 99% of the scooter style e-bikers are no where near the rat race.
Ontario is huge...Toronto is Congested....

"...we are afraid..."
True, most folks are more afraid of life than they are of death. Concerns about ebikes are all based in fear and conjecture. A sweeping ban on ebikes in bicycle lanes ignores most of the ebike world where the vehicles weigh no more than a pedal bike laden with groceries...
tks
lOCk

I think that most of the people who object to ebikes have not yet grasped the whole picture yet.
I think they are a seriously necessary part of our future and if they deter a motorist not to drive even if for a short trip, they have served their purpose. People objected to the microwave oven because they didn't understand it.
The same hipocrites now use them everyday. Thats people. Opinions are like a** holes, everyones got one.

You ignore my response and post 0 evidence just your own opinion. You are depressing me man.

Sigh, velo.

PPP, here is why Velo and other ebikers/escooterists are suspicious of MTO. They seem to be going out of their way to find and validate negatives even where there aren't any.

http://onteba.blogspot.com/2009/06/mto-distributing-errone...

TY RC. Finnaly some real documentation. It seems from this link that the MTO is infact biased but even though the poster demonized the MTO the MTO still had some valid points:

The slide show clearly put the onus on the eBike community to demonstrate to Queen's Park bureaucrats why this widely-accepted and adopted modern technology should be on Ontario's streets.

Oooh so sorry to make you work the system like cyclists have been doing for decades!
Bicycles have been accepted longer than cars have existed but we still have to fight for every inch of progress made, is it so much to ask that e-bikers do the same?

Yea the MTO seemed overly biased though. Thanks for providing evidence which velo had no intention or ability of providing.

back soon...friend passed away so dealing with it.

EVCO submission to MTO on Power Assisted Bicycles - July 9, 2009
Submission of the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa (EVCO), July 9, 2009
In response to Ontario Regulatory Registry, Ministry of Transportation 09-MTO006 posted June 18,
2009 and Ontario Environmental Registry, EBR Registry Number 010-6943 "The Future of Electric

Bicycles (“e-bikes”) in Ontario", Ministry of Transportation

The Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa (EVCO) is committed to the use of Power Assisted Bicycles in
Ontario.
EVCO recommends that the Ministry of Transport for Ontario NOT add any further regulatory
restrictions to the operation of Power Assisted Bicycles as currently defined by Ontario
legislation and Federal definition.
Power Assisted Bicycles (PABs or e-bikes) have been legal in Canada since the Federal definitions for
PABs were introduced in 2001 by Transport Canada. The Canada-wide definition for PABs is clear,
unambiguous and well developed. It was the result of extensive testing, user feedback and industry
consultation. So far it has stood the test of time and is widely adopted across most jurisdictions in
Canada.
PABs offer a safe, low-impact and environmentally friendly transportation alternative to Ontario
residents. They are a low-cost mode of transportation with negligible environmental impact in
operation. Jurisdictions across Canada report safe operation of PABs. Slow speeds limited to 32km/h of
motor assist are equivalent to typical bicycle speeds. As a result the safety record for these bicycles has
been excellent.
PABs offer increased mobility to bike riders of all ages and abilities. Considering the excellent eightyear
track record in Canada and thousands of satisfied users, it is clear that PABs are here to stay.
Ontario was the only province to lag behind in recognizing PABs. In 2006, a full five years after the
PAB definition was developed, Ontario consented to "testing" these bikes.
In 2006 after two thorough rounds of stakeholder consultation, Ontario began a "pilot test" of these
vehicles which were already proven in operation across Canada. For an additional three years Ontario
manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers were left waiting while operators safely rode ebikes
in other provinces. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) promised to collect data on
their operation and safety during the three-year pilot test. To date the "pilot test" is almost over and the
MTO reports that they have collected no data. Despite promises of a thorough review, MTO staff
reports no knowledge of numbers of e-bikes on the roads of Ontario and have collected no safety
information.
As of April 2009 the PABs are now recognized in Ontario legislation - a full eight years after approval
in Canada. Now MTO proposes to add additional regulatory requirements for equipment and operation
of PABs on top of the legislative definition, despite the lack of any information or data showing this is
1
EVCO submission to MTO on Power Assisted Bicycles - July 9, 2009
necessary.
EVCO is of the opinion that any further regulatory restrictions would further damage this fledgling
Ontario industry and would adversely affect the lives of Ontario residents by reducing or eliminating
their access to and ability to ride these quiet, low-impact vehicles for daily transportation needs.
So far the Canada-wide (Federal) PAB definition has stood the test of time. Provinces across the
country have harmonized operating requirements around the federal definition. Power Assisted
Bicycles have an excellent track record in Ontario, Canada, North America and world-wide. There has
been no information developed in Ontario in the three years of the pilot project (or in the past eight
years of legal operation in Canada) indicating that any further regulatory restrictions are required.
Indeed the MTO has collected no adverse reports or safety data indicating safety problems with PABs
from any other jurisdictions.
In the total absence of any adverse safety concerns shown EVCO is of the opinion that no new
regulations are required at this time.
Should new data become available, or new regulations related to PABs be proposed, EVCO would be
pleased to provide additional comments and input. EVCO has a significant amount of user experience
with PABs and would be pleased to share this information with the MTO or any other interested
parties.
Further comments on specific items in the MTO proposal are attached.
(Signed)
Juergen Weichert
President, Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa
www.evco.ca
2
EVCO submission to MTO on Power Assisted Bicycles - July 9, 2009
Comments on specific areas of concern identified by MTO
Scope and intent of "pilot test"
The intent of the pilot project was to test the safe operation of PABs on Ontario roads. MTO states that
some "styles" of electric bike or PAB do not meet this intent. This is a circular argument that is without
merit. The intent was to test PABs thus every PAB that meets the definition is part of the original intent
of the pilot test.
To state that there was no awareness that PABs come in different styles while those styles of PAB have
been openly available for sale across Canada for many years is misleading at best.
Every electric bike that the MTO identified in the discussion document was a PAB and thus is eligible
under the pilot project. To state otherwise is simply wrong. If a bike is a PAB (meets federal or Ontario
definition) then it is allowed and has equal standing with all other PABs, despite appearances. The only
definition of PAB that is relevant is that of specific performance and technical description (maximum
speed and power, equipment, safety requirements) as specified in the federal or Ontario PAB
definition.
Safety concerns
MTO has stated that some stakeholders have "certain safety concerns". Many of the "concerns" have
really been questions that have not been adequately investigated or addressed by Ministry staff. Many
have been related to the operation of PABs on off-road pathways which is outside of the domain of the
MTO. Other concerns had more to do with semantics ("Do we call a PAB a bicycle or something
else?") while others had more to do with style than safety. MTO has made little or no attempt to
objectively measure and document the few legitimate safety concerns.
A few of these are discussed below along with an analysis of the "style" question.
Style
There is a concern that some PABs are of a style that is "not what we intended". PABs come in many
different shapes and colours. Some even have plastic bodywork designed to alter their look for
consumer acceptance. These styles develop from year to year much as is the practice in the auto
industry.
A vibrant PAB industry should be expected to have bikes that change style over time. In addition,
technological developments virtually ensure continual improvements in all components of bike design.
Some are improvements in safety, handling, comfort and efficiency. Others are changes in appearance.
All of these changes are within the natural evolution of the vehicle (within the current rigid PAB
definition) and should be expected and embraced.
To try to regulate style or features is pointless, damaging to the industry, deprives consumers of choice
3
EVCO submission to MTO on Power Assisted Bicycles - July 9, 2009
and does not necessarily add to road safety.
Weight
There is currently no limit to the weight of bicycles in Ontario. In fact the empty vehicle weight has
very little bearing on the total operating weight since rider and cargo loads are highly variable and are
the major proportion of weight on any bicycle or PAB.
Weight in itself has little effect on safety. The common arguments are those of collisions with
pedestrians and/or infrastructure. So far there have been few if any reported incidents of PABs striking
pedestrians and no reports of damage to infrastructure by PABs. In all cases, impact by a PAB of any
weight has far less potential for risk to vulnerable road users than an impact by a full size (currently
legal and capable of high speeds) car or truck.
Speed of the vehicle has a much higher effect on braking performance than weight due to the effects on
carried kinetic energy. PABs are limited to 32km/hr under motor power and are rarely operated above
this speed. Conventional bicycles are not limited in speed and are thus capable of travel at 40km/h or
higher when operated by a trained cyclist or a rider going down hill. It is entirely possible for a heavy
rider on a conventional bicycle to carry higher kinetic energy than a rider on a PAB.
Concerns about weight are really concerns about stopping distance. These concerns are best met by
standards for braking.
Braking
The empty weight of a lightweight vehicle like a bike has little effect on braking performance. The total
loaded weight of a vehicle combined with its speed has to be considered.
Currently the braking performance standards for bicycles are virtually non-existent. Only one rear
brake is required on "regular" bicycles and no objective (specific, measurable, enforceable) braking
performance is specified.
Present Ontario legislation already has more stringent standards for braking for PABs than for bicycles.
Front and rear brakes are required. Stopping distance is specified from a given speed. Most PABs
currently available have vastly superior brakes compared to the current requirements for bicycles.
Given the current superior braking standards for PABs no additional changes to braking performance or
weight limits are required. Excellent safety records for PABs and lack of any evidence to the contrary
dictates that no changes or additional regulations should be made.
Dimensions
Any discussion of the "safety" of PABs due to size is totally misleading and irrelevant. A quick trip to
any bike shop immediately shows that most PABs are virtually identical in length to conventional bikes
and are indeed much shorter than any tandem bike, recumbent bike or bicycle with trailer combination.
4
EVCO submission to MTO on Power Assisted Bicycles - July 9, 2009
Width of a PAB is equally irrelevant. The maximum width of most bicycles is the width of the
handlebars or of the shoulders or elbows of the rider. PABs are no different in width than any other
bicycle. Other bike vehicles that are wider than PABS and are currently safely operated on Ontario
roads include three-wheeled bicycles (trikes), child trailers, and any bicycle equipped with a mirror.
Bicyclists are advised by MTO and bicycle safety training organizations to travel no closer than 1m to
the side of the road or curb. Safe driving practice further dictates a 1m minimum safety envelope on
each side of any vehicle. Motor vehicle operators and driving instructors/students are familiar with the
concept of a "safety zone" around the vehicle. In this regard any bicycle that is 2m long and 1m wide
should be considered to take a space on the road total to its size plus 1m in each direction. Thus any
"standard" bike is 3m wide and 4m long. A few centimetres extra for a slightly bigger bike makes little
difference in the total dimension of this vehicle and safety zone.
Age
Initial pilot test discussions indicated a desire for a low age limit (if at all) for PAB riders. People of all
ages can learn to ride a bike safely. There is a strong argument to be made to allow riders 14yrs or
younger to have access to bicycles with electric assist. A young person learning to operate a vehicle on
the roads is much safer learning road skills on a small, light vehicle like a bicycle or PAB before
moving on to a full motor vehicle at age 16. Several years of road experience before learning to drive a
car will only serve to make young drivers more aware and safe on the roads.
The minimum age of 16 for the pilot test was selected by the MTO despite stakeholder input. So far
during the pilot test MTO has not obtained any data or operational evidence that the minimum age of
16 is appropriate. In fact there is no evidence at all to indicate that any age limit is required. In the
absence of any evidence requiring a minimum age to operate any bicycle this restriction should be
eliminated.
Wheel size and stability
Wheel size is not indicative of bike stability. Bicycle stability and handling characteristics depend on
many inter-related factors that are part of good bike design. Many high-quality bikes are available that
have small wheels and excellent handling and stability characteristics. These include folding bikes,
recumbent bikes, BMX bikes, trikes and electric bikes. There is no reason to regulate wheel size for
PABs.
5

Hi 3P

TCU spokesperson YB recently sent an open letter saying that eBikes should be legislated as motorcycles. That essentially "bans" them because they are not a motorcycle, and are not intended to be a motorcycle. To be forced always to ride it in the car lane when they are not built to go 40-60 km/h means no one would buy one.

There is no legal "ban" on building your own pickup truck but Transport Canada requires you to pay for $25,000 worth of testing every time you make a modification to it such as changing the slope of the windows or the shape of the signal lights. Ford just factors that into its manufacturing costs and passes it on to consumers, but wannabe small car companies can't keep paying that cash so in essence they are banned.

Independent phone companies were not legally banned but were practically banned until the federal government ordered Bell to rent them the transmission lines and poles.

A "ban" doesn't need to be a legal prohibition; a ban can be created by making something so impossible as to be impractical. Ask all those street vendors selling food that's not a hot dog... oh wait, they're banned because the city only allows 6 of them to exist.

Call me old fashioned, but I drive a car. I drive my kids to baseball, to the movies and for sleep over at friends. I drive my family down south once a year and to the zoo. I drive to my wifes parents home and to my parents home once every couple of weeks. I just finished taking my two sons to pick up two of their friends and dropped them off at a friends surprise birthday party. One day all you cyclist will grow up and will have families, and your bicycle will mean less and less to you every day. If you don't realize this yet, then you have alot more growing up to do.

Will your kids and wife ever grow up and start depending on themselves to get around instead of asking daddy to drive them everywhere? No offense, but if your kids are old enough to take the bus or bike in traffic while still relying on you, I think you've spoiled them royally and they're becoming very lazy people.

I suppose you're hoping for some congratulations on being an adult. We will all eventually realize that real adults drive cars; real adults take out huge loans to afford the only lifestyle worth living: the suburban house with its monthly mortgage payments; lawn that needs tons of herbicide and fertilizer to keep just perfect; the SUV to get to work, the corner store, the grocery store, the kids soccer practice, the cottage and church.

Anyone who doesn't fit this model is obviously either too young to have children or a social reject.

Bravo. You found us out. Please do enjoy owing your future to the bank on our behalf.

Why would someone with the name "anti-troll" fall so for such a blatant troll? Anyone who takes time to come to a cycling forum to argue that cars are better than bikes is obviously just looking to stir up trouble, and is not going to be convinced by your arguments. Don't waste your time, people.

Well done EVCO! Well written. It is a shame it had to come down to defending this option of transportation in Ontario. It certainly did not help having the Toronto Cycling Union object to their presence on the bike lanes. One would have thought they would have embraced the concept. It is also surprising that the MTO decided to adopt a pilot program to begin with, when the track record across Canada and many other countries in the world have been nothing short of a success. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, and hopefully Ontario sees through this narrow minded behaviour and adopts the federal definition as did the rest of Canada. I am a cyclist as well, but I am very aware of these models on the road and have never had an issue with any of them. I would consider an e-bike as another option to my car, once the final decision has been made. Good luck to all of us on this one.

"It's a clear contravention as to what should qualify as an e-bike ... it should mainly be powered by pedalling," said Bambrick.

Obviously MS. Bambrick is not up on the Federal Definition that included power on demand along with power assisted bicycles. In other words, pedaling is optional Yvonne, so no such "contravention" existed. The aging population I am sure would disagree with what you "think". It is nice that you are young enough and healthy enough to pedal your way to work.
For those wishing perhaps longer commutes to work or to the store without arriving all hot and sweaty, it is interesting that a cycling union concerned with the environment would be less vocal if the same riders just resorted back to their automobiles. Your recent "back pedaling" that the TCU does not want e-bikes banned, just the scooter style because of the plastic fairings is also interesting.

[Editors: Removed identifying criticism of Yvonne. Personnal attacks are not tolerated. Perhaps you should keep in mind that Yvonne is speaking on behalf of the Toronto Cyclists Union and thus you could focus your criticism on all the card-carrying members.]

Evan C,

Try to make your point without making personnal attacks, it reduces your argument.

It should be noted that Yvonne is doing a great job with so many issues with the TCU. While I 100% disagree with her views on scooter style e-bikes, I still keep a firm stance that together we would have a much larger voice on the issue of cleaner, safer and more paths. Every so often I take a peak at Annie D's response to this issue and realize there is hope.It is impossible for all to agree on any issue. Take the bike helmet law for example. I for one, never refer to my scooter style e-bike as a "bicycle" but as a scooter style e-bike. Their limited speed requires them to ride in a slow moving lane or path, not with mainstream traffic. It is only certain riders of bicycles and e-bikes that should be "reprimanded" not the bike itself. I have no issue with the helmet law on e-bikes. Scooter style are an unbelievably fun way for customers to get back and forth to work without polluting and inexpensively and without having the need to pedal. One more scooter style e-bike equals one less car on that particular day going in the same direction, helping reduce congestion, not adding to it.

john park said "I've never seen anyone actually pedaling the e-bike (scooter version)."

To parapahrase you, JP, I've never seen a bicyclist obey all the traffic safety laws like signalling turns and stops, or stopping at signs/red lights.

so to mind mind, they're all lawbreakers and shouldn't be on the roads... if we're meant to make rules based on our own anecdotal experiences.

Lock, if you read the survey's written comments, about 80 per cent of the respondents did say ebikes/escooters belong on the road. Yvonne didn't publicise that bit.

Andrew D you got your precise wish. 'Electric' knows a little about physics.

Sorry, been away and didn't see your thank you. I think you've hit a nail on the head here... bicyclists have fought long and hard for recognition on the roadways and now that they are almost up that cultural hill, along come these e-bikes.

As an e-biker I'm grateful for the roadway successes achieved by your long and arduous political fight. But unfortunately for you, the fight took so long that the world has evolved and a new species is popping up.

Remember that poor guy who kept opening his store on Sunday when it was illegal and kept getting fined... eventually the province changed the law and now anyone can open Sundays... but that poor guy went bankrupt fighting the court cases all those years. The world evolved around him but we are all now taking advantage of his permanent contribution.

Bicyclists have had a rough go, especially in Toronto... but it's not my fault that you might not be able to celebrate your success in the spotlight without me there too. Keep the anger focused where it belongs: on City Hall.

From the tiny part of Ontario that "is not" Toronto.
Please forgive my humble entrance into your discussions regarding rights and freedoms, but it seems to me that a small lobby of GTA cyclists( lets call them the Rockers!) who have fought tooth and nail to secure some public space for all cyclists on the mean streets now feel threatened by another group (we'll call the Mods!) who they fear will co-opt their hard-won bicycle lanes. Here's a quote from wikipedia " The rockers considered mods to be weedy, effeminate snobs, and mods saw rockers as out of touch, oafish and grubby"...sound familiar?
Someone brought up the infrastructure point, which in my opinion is well taken, however the intention of the existing bicycle lanes is to accommodate low speed, human powered cycles. Don't get me wrong, e-bikes(open frame or scooter type) are definitely a progressive and sorely-needed technology.

Ethics and subsequent legislation always follows technological innovation. In this case we have the benefit of years of world-wide experience and the input from a local cycling club (the TCU) whose concerns may be extended. Perhaps a sensible compromise would be to keep the mods off of the rockers turf, at least in TO. Municipal guidelines can be developed and as usually happens, in cookie-cutter fashion, other municipalities can raid the jar at will.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are a variety of concerns and issues, only some of which have been covered here. The larger issue of electrical-assist bicycles being given exemption of portions of the HTA, seems a moot point given the experience of the past and across the world. The local issues concerning traffic speeds, types of roads, weather conditions and urban space vary widely across this province. Lets let local issues stay local.
Ken Bell
Chatham-Kent