E-Bikes on the Bike Paths in Cornwall Ontario. Yes or No? City Council Mulls – August 10, 2011

E-Bikes on the Bike Paths in Cornwall Ontario.   Yes or No?  City Council Mulls – August 10, 2011

Cornwall ON – City Council in Cornwall Ontario was a full house Monday night as delegations of citizens showed up to voice some of their concerns.  One of the groups are concerned about being able to drive their e-Bikes on the Bike paths of the City which are quite scenic running along the water.

Councilor O’Shaugnessy on E Bikes

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKmvzIhZiyA

Calvin McNamara and the t-shirt wearing e-bike pike path fans of Cornwall!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhyK9IbnmxM

Should E – Bikes be allowed on Cornwall Bike Paths?

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For now E-Bikes can still cruise the bike paths of Cornwall.   What do you think about e-bikes on Cornwall bike paths?  You can post your comment below.

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35 Comments on "E-Bikes on the Bike Paths in Cornwall Ontario. Yes or No? City Council Mulls – August 10, 2011"

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Lock
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Councilor O’Shaugnessy “nailed” it. What is needed is more safe infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. Canada and Ontario approved ebikes as an energy-efficient and enviro-friendly option in transportation. This is not an issue about seniors or folks with disabilities but about what sort of a world we want to leave our children and their children. Folks will misbehave on foot and they will misbehave on wheels and “scorchers” have been misbehaving on pedal bikes for over 100 years. Ebikes are just a whipping boy. Folks will say ebikes are “too big” although they are no wider or longer than many… Read more »
Nightbird
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At that city council meeting, there was supporter of the pride committee (they were in attendance for Council’s proclamation of pride weekend) who was obviously intoxicated. Not only did she reek of beer and make a profanity-laden spectacle of herself outside of City Hall, she arrived at the building riding an ebike. On the sidewalk, no less. I certainly hope the rules of the road and the laws regarding drunk driving apply to ebikes, too.

Lock
Guest

Nightbird>> I certainly hope the rules of the road and the laws regarding drunk driving apply to ebikes, too.

Yes, they do! “Power-assisted bicycles” aka ebikes are defined under the Ontario HTA as “bicycles” but the Canada Criminal Code has no such category. Under the CCC ebikes are motor-vehicles and all DUI sanctions apply to ebikes.
However, folks riding bicycles (pedal-only or power-assist) are mostly only a danger to themselves. Thank goodness that pride weekend supporter arrived by ebike and not by minivan.
Thanks

Reg
Guest

@Lock, In a previous article, the highway traffic act was quoted and the definition of a bicycle does not include e-bikes. They are included as a motorized vehicle.

I think one of the problems here is that the Waterfront Trail is commonly called “the bike path” and a lot of the e-bike riders believe they are entitled to the right of way. This trail is for everyone to use and enjoy and the e-bike riders should give the right of way to slower modes of transportation such as walkers and human powered bikes.

Lock
Guest
Hi Reg. There are many articles being written that confuse the terms “power-assisted bicycle” (ebikes) with “motor-assisted bicycle” (moped.) From the HTA: “bicycle” includes a tricycle, a unicycle and a power-assisted bicycle but does not include a motor-assisted bicycle; I agree with you 110% that pedestrians must always have right of way. Pointing out that ebikes have motors, while an obvious truth, is 20th-century thinking and myopic perspective. By Federal law and the Ontario HTA ebikes are regulated on our roads as “bicycles” because these vehicles operate like the pedal bike. Their motors are limited to 32kmh, although many folks… Read more »
Lock
Guest
When Transport Canada studied ebikes in 2000, in their report they noted that in one way ebikes may be safer than pedal bikes. This because the power-assist makes it “easier” for riders to slow down when required or prudent, knowing they can quickly and easily get back up to speed using the power-assist. Anyone on a pedal bike knows most of the effort goes into accelerations from stops, and so some pedal-only cyclists at least prefer not to stop at stop signs or slow down for the safety of others… There are long-time cyclists buying ebikes too. For health reasons… Read more »
Lock
Guest
“…20th-century thinking and myopic perspective.” Here is a recent “Letter to the Editors” posted on the Variety 104.5 radio web site: ******************************************** E-Bikes A Problem On Cornwall Bike Paths I have been riding the bike path for over 15 years and have never had a problem with people passing on my left. They sound bell/horn or say passing on your left. The new problem I have is these E-bikes (power assisted bikes). I have asked many bike shops if these E-bikes are a motorized vehicles and everyone has said yes. There is a sign in the park that says no… Read more »
John Lister
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I am in support of e-bikes using the recreational trails, but ALL users, including cyclists and pedestrians must use common sense, which sadly, is very uncommon. I’ve cycled on the path for a few years now, and whether it’s a pedestrian with 2 or 3 dogs on long leashes, or 2 e-bikes approaching side-by-side, there are often situations where I must come to a full stop and ‘excuse’ myself for being there, despite the fact that I have a bell on my bike and use it. I have had situations with other cyclists as well, often 2 or 3 abreast,… Read more »
Lock
Guest
John Lister>>Although it’s accurate to say an e-bike is as heavy as a bicycle laden with groceries etc. most of the cyclists are NOT carrying groceries, so there IS an issue with extra weight that will cause the paths to deteriorate faster. Hehe… Hi John. Yah, OK, I’ll admit my perspective comes from living in a car-free community for ten years plus seeing places in Europe where “working” bikes are regularly laden with groceries and kids etc and not just draped in spandex… And on the plus side, proper infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians is much cheaper to build and… Read more »
Mike Bedard
Guest
Hi everyone, I am not 100% familiar with E-Bikes; so I am hoping some people can clarify something for me. Are e-bikes not technically a motorized vehicle? According to one manufactures specs (www.optibike.com) these bikes will reach speeds of 35 – 55 km an hour. The fastest 100% electric moped, that I could find was approximately 55 km an hour and gas powered ranged up to 70 km an hour! Again, I am no expert and I could only go by wikipedia and on-line stores but still there doesn’t seem to be anything different from some of the e-bikes and… Read more »
flipper
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I think pound for pound, most e-bikers would do their poor little e-bikes, and pedestrians a favour but using their feet.

Lock
Guest
@mike Legal ebikes on roads in Canada are limited by design so that their motors cannot push the bike past 32kmh. This approximates the speed of a pedal bicycle (although many cyclists can pedal faster than this.) This makes the vehicle about as safe or as dangerous as a pedal bike for pedestrians and your daughter. Much, much safer at least than any minivan or SUV. I parked my car for the last time when my family doctor explained my two young daughters had lung problems because of urban air quality… So from my point of view any vehicle that… Read more »
Lock
Guest
flipper>>I think pound for pound, most e-bikers would do their poor little e-bikes, and pedestrians a favour but using their feet. Hehe… flipper, this sounds like you are advocating that all cars should have pedals as well, to improve pedestrian safety? There’s no question that an ebike that is easy to pedal has advantages. Many ebikes are designed this way and look like pedal bikes with motors added. Exercise is a built-in option, the battery will last longer and the rider nEVer has to worry about running out of a charge. But there is no evidence that a bike traveling… Read more »
Reg
Guest

@ Lock….You are comparing e-bikes to SUVs and minivans? SUVs and minivans don’t drive on the Waterfront Trail or bike paths and drivers of these vehicles know that pedestrians have the right of way. Licensed drivers at least have to pass a test to show that they understand their responsibilities.

Mike Bedard
Guest
Hi Lock, Thank you for the answer but my qestion was “Why is an E-Bike safer than an Electric Moped?”. I am not really familiar with the units so I am not trying to take any sort of position but if Mopeds aren’t allowed then why should E-bikes? Both are motorized vehicles! When setting rules I am a big believer in the KISS principle of Keep It Simple Stupid! Just because one group wants to drive along the bike path and enjoy the water doesn’t make it right! The rule should be “NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES!” or else confusion can run… Read more »
Lock
Guest
Reg>>You are comparing e-bikes to SUVs and minivans? Hi Reg.Yes, I am comparing ebikes to cars on the roads. Just a theory I have that most folks would feel more comfortable being run down by a bike instead of a car. 🙂 On trails, I would expect ebike riders to be as courteous or as ignorant as anybuddy else on wheels. I haven’t seen an argument yet for banning ebikes that cannot also be applied to pedal-only bicycles… Discouraging the use of ebikes by banning and restricting would be a travesty. Ft.Collins CO just agreed to permit ebikes on their… Read more »
Lock
Guest
Hi Mike “Motor-assisted bicycles” aka mopeds can have an electric motor or a 50cc gas engine. I own a moped that has a 48cc gas engine rated at 2.6bhp… In electrical terms one horsepower is 746 watts, so a moped might be two or more horsepower, but legally is limited to 50kmh top speed. “Power-assisted bicycles” are electric only (no gas engine) and their motor power is limited to 500 watts (about 2/3 of one HP.) And they are limited to a top speed of only 32kmh. Of course, if a park pathway has a speed limit of 20kph then… Read more »
Mike Bedard
Guest
Hi Lock, The advantages of e-bikes and their impact on the environment is awesome! If the bikes are regulated and governed to only reach up to 32 km an hour than I will assume that they are, in general terms, fairly safe! However, again I must ask “Why is an E-Bike safer than an Electric Moped?”. So far, all I have been told is that they are better than any gas powered vehicle! I understand that point of view and agree with you 100% but in my opinion, so far, unless new information is provided there seems to be relatively… Read more »
Lock
Guest
Hi Mike I think there are two kinds of “safety”. The safety of the rider and the safety of EVerybuddy else around them. And I believe the safety of others has to come first. I tend to agree with the old maxim that it is speed that kills, much more so than the size of the vehicle. I like to fall back on my high school physics classes, where we were taught that kinetic energy is calculated as 1/2 mass times (velocity SQUARED). Speed is the reason why a .22 caliber bullet weighing only three grams is so dangerous. So… Read more »
Lock
Guest
BTW Mike… While we’re on the subject of physics 🙂 The power needed to cut through the air CUBES as a function of velocity. In other words it takes a LOT more power (electric vehicles measure their “gas mileage” as watt-hours per km) to go faster. This is one lesson that novice ebike riders learn early on. The simpliest way to extend your range per charge is to just slow down. And at lower amp draws, most battery chemistries benefit such that the life of the pack is extended. So the physics and chemistry of electric vehicles actually has built… Read more »
Lock
Guest
EVerybuddy is so serious here… anyone know any ebike jokes? Here’s one. Ebiker pulls into a gas station… “Better fill `er up. Give me ten cents please…” `Course, ebikers don’t buy their energy from Big Oil… most of `em buy from Fortis et al but the cost is about the same. Many ebike batteries are 48 volt and maybe 20 Amp-hours in size. Some bigger and many smaller. And it’s not a good idea to run `em flat especially lead-acid, so for many ebikers a “fillup” is only about 768 watt-hours. If bought as gasoline about one-third of one cup…… Read more »
Reg
Guest

OK now that we all have a nice warm fuzzy feeling about the environmental advantage of ebikes, what do we do about those ebikers that feel entitled to the entire trail. I suggest that ebikers should be licensed just the same as a motorcyclists. At least they would have to pass a test that makes sure they know the rules of the road, or in this case, trail.

Lock
Guest

Reg>>what do we do about those ebikers that feel entitled to the entire trail

Hi Reg
What do we do about those pedestrians and cyclists that feel entitled to the entire trail? I suggest that pedestrians and cyclists should be licensed. At least they would have to pass a test that makes sure they know the rules of the road, or in this case, trail.

Hehe…
Actually the Trail rules seem pretty simple:
http://www.cornwall.ca/en/recreation/RecPathSafety.asp

Why not just post them at access points and at intervals along the path?

Lock

Eric
Guest
Yes these are scenic paths, so have a maximum speed. Anyone that needs to go faster than take the roads. Have a bright line painted down the middle with arrows every once in a while for east west traffic. Cornwall has an aux. Police program, give them a bit of bite with bylaw training and set them loose on the paths. A few tickets would slow down the few offenders. Perhaps a group could start a path protection group and take turns biking even. Looks like the Ebike people already have shirts….. Rules and laws are only good if they… Read more »
Lock
Guest
Eric>>Yes these are scenic paths, so have a maximum speed. Hi Eric What’s strange is that the link above describes itself as “rules” but doesn’t reference an related by-law. Nor does the City post anything like a City Parks or Trails By-law online. Doesn’t Cornwall have such a by-law? Those “rules” read like (common sense) suggestions only. The bit about “Travel at a safe speed” sounds very odd and may be unenforceable. Most Ontario cities have Parks by-laws that set speed limits at 20 or 25kmh where bikes are permitted. So if there is a speed limit, why not say… Read more »
Chris Lipscombe
Guest
A “legal” e-bike in Ontario is not capable of travelling over 32 km/h with the motor assisting the cyclist. The cyclist can travel faster, but the bike’s motor can not assist them above that speed. I can easily go faster on my bicycle than 32 km/h without a motor. So “speed” should not be an issue. An ebike technically is really no faster than a normal bicycle. My ebike is not one of those ones that look like a scooter. It is a bicycle with a battery, hub motor and controller (Bionx). Most people would not even recognize it as… Read more »
Mike Bedard
Guest
Hi Lock, Like I said, I agree that it is a wise and eco-friendly product! However, if an E-Bike weighs the same and travels at the same speed as an Electric Moped than it is NOT safer! Actually, the potential to go faster and increase the speed is only of concern on the e-bike and not the Electric Moped! You have not proven that they are safer, than the alternative product (Electric Moped), that IS banned from the bike path! I guess my point is whats good for the goose has to be good for the gander! If we approve… Read more »
Eric
Guest
Speed most certainly is an issue. These paths are not completly straight which removes the safety of line of sight and lowers reaction time. I said nothing about Policing ebike’s, only there should be a maximum speed, which I think should be 20KMH because you are mixing people lost in their own thoughts, dogs, children, pedal bikes and the odd bird depending where you are. The Ottawa paths, NCC I guess, have posted signs of 20, reminders to share the path and use a bell when approching from behind. Do city council or staff read these boards? Looks like a… Read more »
Lock
Guest
Mike>>You have not proven that they are safer, than the alternative product (Electric Moped), that IS banned from the bike path! Hi Mike… No, I am suggesting they are no more dangerous than the alternative product (pedal bicycle) 😉 There is NO EVIDENCE that they are any more dangerous than the pedal bicycle. And there is empirical evidence from other jurisdictions where they are already in common use that they are perfectly safe. Can you spot the electric bikes and motor scooters in this video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_o3chL8phA Canada and Ontario have made a decision to “do the right thing” and create… Read more »
Chris Lipscombe
Guest
Mike … FYI … my e-bike bicycle is about 15 lbs heavier than my bike would be without the motor and battery. The e-bike scooter is a little heavier than my e-bike, but no where near the weight of a gas powered scooter. My neighbour has one, so I tried lifting it. E-bike scooters look bulkier and heavier, but weight is an issue with todays battery technology, so keeping the weight down is important. As for speed, I can do 20 km/h on both my e-bike and my regular bike, and I can do 40 km/h on both my e-bike… Read more »
Chris Lipscombe
Guest

@Lock,

Great Video.

Familyguy123
Guest
it seems the concern is safety and speed on the bike path…for safety everyone is responsible a person walking/jogging or riding a bicycle/e-bike…as for speed well there is a thing call speed bumps, this debate has been going on for years and will never end, the only difference now is that e-bikes are thrown in, the walkers/joggers will not be happy until the bicycles and now e-bikes are not allowed on the bike path, the other concern is bicycles/e-bikes on the bike path by the childrens play area (not the best place to put one), just restrict them from using… Read more »
blair
Guest

With the traffic congestion,pollution,enviromental impact of gas and oil,you would think government at all levels would jump at the chance to help aleviate these problems.

Jason Billings
Guest
Everyone has at some point or another encountered a bicycle or pedestrian and has had to wait/yield to them. This has happened for years, even before ebikes were on our streets. We all have to wait for red lights, bicycles, pedestrians and I have also experienced frustration during my commute. After riding an e-bike for a short period of time I have established further that we all need to exercise patience and respect towards each other during our travels. If (30 seconds) of “detainment” causes a person to have such anger and frustration so easily, it’s quite possible that person… Read more »
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