Letter to the Editor – Earle Macpherson of Cornwall Ontario on Dogs and Pedestrians on the Bike Paths – July 20, 2011

To The Editors  And City councillors

My wife and I have recently purchased e-bikes (power-assisted bicycles). We have traveled the waterfront bike trails for many years and this year being no exception regarding the many people walking dogs without leashes,people walking two and three abreast,bikes riding two abreast taking both east and west lanes.

People using this path seem to be oblivious to the rules and regulations. This is a bike path is it not? My wife who beeped her horn at two individuals had to go around them with her three wheeled power assisted tricycle, lost control at the edge of the path and almost suffered serious injury because they would not move to single file, which would have been the courteous thing to do.

These bikes emit no emissions and make it possible for seniors and handicapped individuals to travel off  of the roads and highways in safety. I hear rumours that city council are drafting bylaws regarding these vehicles. The problem on the bike paths is not with the bikes but with the people walking on the wrong side of the path and failing to yield the right of way to bicycles, pets running loose etc.

Think long and hard councillors about rules that have an effect on seniors and the handicapped who are presently enjoying their outing on these trails.

Earle Macpherson  Cornwall,Ont 

JL Computers






  1. Well, Mr. Macpherson I do not agree that the paths should be open to the new Ebikes. I am deeply sorry but they do emit emissions you have to plug them in do you not ? think about where the power to charge them comes from !!

    They are hardly safe for the road let alone a Pedestrian/Bicycle path !

  2. Comon now, don’t be ridiculous. The people walking two and three dogs at a time also walking three abreast as mentioned in my letter are the problem.If I look at your logic I wouldn’t plug in my toaster or electric kettle. They are also thinking of banning electric handicapped wheelchairs,scooters etc. This is a bike path not a baby carriage or rollerblader path. It is supposed to be focused on bikes of all type two or three wheels whatever. Tell the many handicapped individuals they will not be permitted and see what their response to your opinion would be.

  3. You have it all wrong.. Yes I agree that the Bike Path should be enjoyed by all, But what you are saying is that You do not want pedestrians, Dog Walkers etc etc.. You want it reserved for Bikes.

    My comment to the Non Environmentally friendly E-Bikes was not to be taken like that, You have to plug them in they might as well have a 10hp gas motor on them !!

    How are you suggesting we police the bike path ?? to stop people from walking side by side ? I’m pretty sure I remember seeing signs saying motorized vehicles are not permitted… And I am also sure a Bike must yield the right of way to a pedestrian

  4. When you people on your electric scooters start watching out where you’re going, and quit hitting me in the heels in shopping malls and supermarket lineups, then I’d consider supporting you.

    And as Rob says, what are you doing on a bike path in a motorized vehicle anyway?

  5. To you two uninformed AKA ROB & The Watcher these are power assisted bicycles not motorized vehicles and I have done my homework as you two have not. The local police have advised me that these e-bikes are allowed on the bike paths as we speak,as for not allowing pedestrian traffic on the bike path Please don’t put words in my mouth. My statement was that the runners and walkers behaviour is not what it is supposed to be in some cases.Stepping to the side when bicycles etc are approaching is the proper procedure. I am sure we all can share the path if everyone acts appropriatly and respects the right of way which belongs to bicycles. Get yourselves informed by checking with the proper authorities and quit spreading hearsay.Enough said

  6. Is a power-assisted bicycle the same as an e-bike?
    Yes. An e-bike is considered a power-assisted bicycle as long as it meets all the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

    Do all e-bikes look like bicycles? E-bikes may resemble conventional bicycles, or resemble scooters and limited-speed motorcycles.

    Effective October 3, 2009, conventional style and scooter-style e-bikes that meet the definition of a power-assisted bicycle, as described above, are permitted on roads and highways where conventional bicycles are currently allowed. They must follow the same rules of the road as set out in the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) that currently apply to cyclists, with some exceptions (see sections on Safety and Equipment Requirements, and Operating Requirements below

  7. Ok Earle, Your E-bike falls into a Grey area of the Bylaw.

    Power Assisted, Moped call it what you want, when you are on the Bike Path are you peddling or using the Battery assist ?? Because if you are it becomes a Motorized Vehicle. The city police might not know or care but be rest assured as they gain in popularity they will more then likely become regulated. In my opinion and I am entitled to that, They should not be allowed on the Bike Path. As should you be required to have a M class Licence to drive them on the Road.

    Let us not confuse the issue here. I am not putting words in your mouth thats not what I am doing, Thats the point I get reading your letter !!

  8. What part of not motorized do you not understand.Sorry to advise but you are wrong again. Check with the police Rob they do care and they do know. I have pedals on my bike which will drive the vehicle if I choose to do so. These are mandatory on the unit. Once Again they do not fall under the category of a motorized vehicle by law,please get this through your thick head.

  9. @Earle
    When you start respecting my rights as a pedestrian, I’ll be more inclined to respect yours.

    More than once someone in an electric vehicle has come creeping up silently from behind and expected me to give way. Sorry, buddy, doesn’t work that way.

    Maybe you personally are courteous to other users of sidewalks, bike paths, etc., but far too many of your electric buddies are not. And having said that, there are far too many pedestrians who could learn to use a little common sense and courtesy also, so the fault is not solely with electric vehicle users.

    As for your wife, I am genuinely sorry she had an accident and almost got hurt. On the other hand, perhaps you should ask yourself, in all fairness, if she is really capable of handling a motorized vehicle, no matter how small.

  10. So then Earl with what you posted… You Also must yield the right of way to a pedestrian !! Sorry but you just lost your argument

  11. Sorry not so on a bike path .check it out

  12. Here is the info obtained from the Cornwall Police service regarding this issue.Makes great sense to me.
    When bicyclists, rollerbladers, joggers, walkers and tricycle riders all share the same path, the general rule is that the slowest person keeps to the right. This allows the rollerbladers and cyclists to pass without causing alarm. Conflict usually arises when a group of people is walking together, taking up most of the walkway and making it impossible for others to pass, or when someone is wearing headphones and is oblivious to other users. Unfortunately, when people don’t observe basic courtesies on shared pathways, everyone becomes frustrated.Obviously, the rule should be to use caution on shared pathways, whether you are walking or riding – and instead of taking for granted that you have the right of way, show consideration for others

  13. If this has to do with the Highway Traffic Act, then it is the same as following the rules of the road. Just on a bike path. Unfortunately, on the road, if you hit even a pedestrian crossing the street (even if they are jay-walking), you are at fault. You must wait for your chance to pass, and of course you should observe the proper speed limit. Rob, he does not have to yield any right to a pedestrian, he just has to follow the same rules as the road. Wait for no oncoming traffic, then pass the pedestrian, same as they were a vehicle. Just don’t hit the pedestrian otherwise that’s a different story.

  14. Damn pesky pedestrians, they should take them all off the roads and walkways. All they do is slow things down and get in the way. The government should force everyone to drive and get off their feet and on their asses.

  15. Bike Paths are like Skidoo Trails……..don’t walk on them or you could suffer some damage, The Paths are for bicycles and were NOT put there for pedestrians.

  16. I ride a bike on the bike I walk the dog on the bike path I was one of the first to own an ebike I believe a little respect goes a long way. I personally found that Ebike was far too fast for the bike path gave it away to one of my friends who uses it on the road on a regular basis I consider myself to have screamingly fast reaction time and I did not think it was safe for me to drive my ebike on the bike path. This is because there are many sharp turns and blind spots where I could easily Injure a pedestrian a small animal or even myself we all know that there are speed limits to these devices and a good majority of them have been modified to make them far faster than legally allowed I believe that people responsibly using these vehicles should be allowed on the right path may be a licensing for use on the bike path be introduced and that license be revoked for those acting irresponsible I also believe that pedestrians and dog walkers be held responsible for the way they use the bike path and this is from a person who hates over regulation but must admit that safety should come first before somebody’s two-year-old gets squished like a bug

  17. Speed is not the issue here.Respect for all concerned shoud be the main concern for people sharing this path. I have had rollerbladers pass us on our bicycles and some of the mountain bikes and 10 gears or more bikes are capable of very high rates of speed. They could also cause very serious injury if they come in contact with walkers or joggers. The name of the game is respect and comon courtesie for others.

  18. Barbarian gave his e-bike away because it was to fast.Give me a break! Ten speed bikes and mountain bikes are capable of speeds in excess of 30 KMS an hour if they choose to do so. The operators of these vehicles should respect others safety and drive appropriatly on these paths. I dont think I will be giving away my van anytime soon because it has a speedometer that registers 200K’s

  19. Another part of the Highway Traffic Act, is you are responsible for your vehicle and all that is in front of you. Earle, no offense, but if one cannot control their vehicle, even with obvious obstacles coming up in front of them, then they should not be driving. It’s that simple. Its a top down scheme. First off, pedestrians are not in a vehicle, they are walking. One being on a vehicle, can turn that vehicle into a weapon. If you are driving down the road for example, and a kid comes running out chasing a ball between cars, who is at fault? Answer me that please.

    Point is, that one must be in control of their vehicle at all times. If one is lucky enough to own a vehicle, then they must pay heed to what is in front of them at all times. They must maintain a speed that allows them to control their vehicle at all times.

    I get where you’re coming from Earle, people need to show more courtesy and you are correct, there are lanes in the bike paths that are there for a reason. But regardless of that reason, if one is on an e-bike and cannot wait to pass, or cannot control their vehicle, whether to their own detriment or to someone else’s, then plain and simple, they should not be driving that vehicle.

    The answer to my question above is simple enough, the driver of the vehicle is at fault, because no matter what, they have to maintain control of their vehicle and if they hit that kid with the ball, too bad, they should have been aware of that possibility happening. Same goes on the road, you are responsible for what is in front of you. People in front of you, are not responsible for what is going on behind them, no matter how much you hit that horn. If you hit my car from behind with your car, you are at fault, not I. If I hit you from behind, I am at fault. If I shoot up behind you and cannot control my vehicle and go off the road or hit a light standard or something, then I don’t deserve to drive and I would get nailed with careless driving or worse. If you were sounding your horn and hit my car from behind, does that save you? No.

    So, to all, be courteous, if you can safely do so. But to those on the e-bikes, remember, you are on a powered vehicle, the same laws apply to them as to cars. You also cannot drive them on sidewalks as many of you seem to think you can. Hit something in front of you, you are at fault. There is no excuse for impatience either, you need to wait for people to move out of the way. If you cannot maintain control of the vehicle that you are driving, you shouldn’t be on that vehicle. It is your duty to slow down until it is safe to pass!

  20. You are so off base Grimalot it boggles the mind. Please take the time to read the rules of a shared bike path posted previously.For your information if you look at the signage on most of the areas of the trails they show bicycles only,no dogs. Drivers are not at fault when some bonehead jumps out in front of a bicycle or a moving vehicle without warning. Control of a vehicle is necessary but not when some moron acts like an idiot. Maybe people with your attitude is part of the reason there are so many problems on these paths.

  21. P.S Call The Cornwall police service Grimalot and see what they think of your Comments. Your in for a suprise

  22. I would imagine on this topic or when it comes to driving on a road, they would find them calm, rational, and full of common sense. I don’t need to call police to verify these details.

  23. Earle, the information you need is found here, I don’t check with community police, I check with the MTO.


    You should take a look at section 25:

    Fail to yield to pedestrian

    140(1)(a) of the HTA

    $ 85.00 set fine

    $ 5.00 court fee

    $ 20.00 victim impact

    $ 110.00 total.

    I’d hate to see what the set fine would be for hitting a pedestrian with what is considered a motor vehicle.

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