Toronto, Canada — Electric bikes are at the centre of a bylaw controversy in Toronto. E-bikes are becoming more numerous on the roads, and that is posing some problems.
Toronto’s public works committee is being asked to close a loophole that allows electric bikes on sidewalks, after having received complaints.
The co-chair of the pedestrian committee, Dylan Reid, says the e-bikes have smaller wheels than regular bikes, and that lets them get around a bylaw intended for children that allows bicycles with less than a 24-inch wheel on sidewalks.
“So what we’re asking for is the city to simply clarify the situation and say that anything electrically powered or motorized can’t travel on the sidewalks,” said Reid.
Pedestrian complaints aren’t all, though.
Yvonne Bambrick of the Toronto Cyclists Union wants the city to go further and ban e-bikes from bike lanes and paths. “I believe that any type of motorized vehicle whether it’s an electric motor or a gas motor belongs with other motorized vehicles in the main part of our streets,” she said.
At the root of the cyclists’ concern is Ontario’s new Road Safety Act. According to the law, e-bikes are allowed everywhere that regular bikes can go — bike lanes, bike trails, even bike stands and lockers.
Bambrick says she’s not against e-bikes, it’s just a matter of safety.
E-bike riders protest that e-bikes are here to stay, so just get used to them.