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.

Cornwall & Seaway Valley Tourism

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

  1. Lock   August 11, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    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 pedal bikes such as cargo bikes and bikes with trailers and panniers. Folks will say they are “too heavy” although they are no heavier than a pedal bike laden with groceries, or a laden cargo bike or tandem bike etc.
    And they will say ebikes go “too fast” but ebike riders can obey the laws and show common courtesy the same as everyone else. They will say ebikes are “too quiet” when they are no quieter than a pedal bike.
    If there are ANY safety concerns on public pathways the simple (cheap, short-term) solution is to set a lower speed limit and police that.
    Banning or restricting ebikes anywhere that pedal bikes can go would be a travesty. Another example of how Canadians pay only lip service to concerns about energy waste and pollution…
    Thank you

  2. Nightbird   August 11, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    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.

  3. Lock   August 11, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    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

  4. Reg   August 11, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    @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.

  5. Lock   August 11, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    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 on pedal-only bicycles can pedal faster than his. While they have been legalized over concerns about our environment, in terms of safety they are some of the safest vehicles in our cities. On two wheels, without benefit of seat belt and air bag and crush zones, riders must be more circumspect about their personal safety, and this makes them safer for the rest of us as pedestrians and cyclists. No one on two wheels wants to collide with anyone else as their own safety is also at stake. Ebikes are a new paradigm in transportation for Canadians but they are already in common and accepted use in other parts of the world. As with most cities in North America, we are only handicapped by the lack of safe cycling infrastructure, our cities designed around the motorized carriage (automobile.) What we desperately need are politicians that are leaders with vision that will not pander to the naive concerns and fears of the Chicken Littles…
    Thank you

    ——————————————————————————–

    Councilor Oâ��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 pedal bikes such as cargo bikes and bikes with trailers and panniers. Folks will say they are “too heavy” although they are no heavier than a pedal bike laden with groceries, or a laden cargo bike or tandem bike etc. And they will say ebikes go “too fast” but ebike riders can obey the laws and show common courtesy the same as everyone else. They will say ebikes are “too quiet” when they are no quieter than a pedal bike. If there are ANY safety concerns on public pathways the simple (cheap, short-term) solution is to set a lower speed limit and police that. Banning or restricting ebikes anywhere that pedal bikes can go would be a travesty. Another example of how Canadians pay only lip service to concerns about energy waste and pollution… Thank you

  6. Lock   August 11, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    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 or to save the effort (perspiration) when commuting and dressed for work. They note that on the scooter-style ebikes that the car drivers seem to give them a wider berth than when they are on their pedal bikes, and they feel the ebike may be safer for them because of this.

    Many ebikers (especially the scooter-style) are also car owners. They are buying the ebikes to replace local car trips around town. EVery time they leave the car parked at home and take the bike, the streets get a little safer for the rest of us…

    So yes, the ebikes are bringing a whole new demographic to “cycling”. A lot of folks riding two wheels that would not otherwise consider a pedal-only bicycle. This will help increase pressures for more and safer cycling infrastructure, and there are plenty of studies that show as the percentage of vehicles on the road as bicycles increases, safety for cyclists and pedestrians improves.

    Thank you

  7. Lock   August 11, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    “…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 motorized vehicles are allowed on the paths. Also last week, two of these E-bikes came flying around the corner at full speed, very dangerous. They should be licensed.

    Derek Sheppard
    Cornwall
    *************************************************************
    I am reminded of my high school home room history teacher, who pointed out to his class one day that most folks “die” in their twenties…
    What he meant was, that most folks become “comfortable” in their lives, familiar with habit and less accepting of change. These are natural human “survival” techniques… willfull ignorance and self-deception.
    For the sake of the planet and our children and their children, we really need to throw out the 20th-century mind-sets…
    Thanks

  8. John Lister   August 11, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    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, and not moving when they see me approaching.

    Although there once was a stripe painted on the path, it is faded out in many places, to the point where nobody even realizes it’s there. Were it not for my rear-view mirror, I could have been in a collision when an e-bike came up from behind me at a high rate of speed, and made no effort to pass me. I had to scurry off of the path while the person passed.

    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. I say this because of the deplorable state of many areas of the path, where the pavement is missing, or great potholes exist. Years ago, money was spent to spray-paint orange around these obstacles, but no repairs were undertaken. Additional use of the path by heavier vehicles WILL make a difference, as the paths were designed for lighter bikes and pedestrians.

    So I say yes to e-bikes, but would like to see some kind of licensing in effect for cyclists and e-bikes, as far as rules of the road, common courtesy, etc. If that is too impractical, then perhaps a government published ‘guide’ for cyclists and e-bike users that would provide some education regarding the use of such vehicles. Yesterday on Brookdale Ave, I had to swerve into the center lane when I encountered an e-bike in the curb lane, but on the wrong side of the road. It was being driven by an older gentleman who perhaps thought that was the correct place to be, as pedestrians are to face oncoming traffic. Cornwall has many bike paths, many of which do NOT connect. I’d like to see an initiative in place to connect them, so that cyclists and e-bikers could make their way around without the need to enter traffic as much. Also upgrades to the paths themselves would be nice, perhaps widening them and certainly repairing them.

  9. Lock   August 11, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    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 maintain than roadways for cars. If folks in Cornwall have the will there is a way…

    Licensing for car drivers does not stop misbehaviour. I am more a fan of training and education and sharing the road. Same thing on pathways, except cars are not welcome. ;->
    Tks

  10. Mike Bedard   August 11, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    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 a moped!

    If the major difference is simply look than why are these bikes deemed safer than a moped? I have only concern and answer I would like answered “If an E-Bike is the same speed as an electric Moped and (or approximately the same) than how is it safer for pedestrians and especially children such as my 2 year old daughter?”

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  11. flipper   August 11, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    I think pound for pound, most e-bikers would do their poor little e-bikes, and pedestrians a favour but using their feet.

  12. Lock   August 12, 2011 at 6:43 AM

    @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 doesn’t have a tailpipe is much safer for EVerybuddy.

  13. Lock   August 12, 2011 at 7:15 AM

    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 at 20-30kmh is any more dangerous to others if it is using a tiny electric motor rather than pedals…And ebike motors are pretty tiny. Legally restricted to only 500 watts (about two-thirds of one horsepower.) Most home hair dryers use much more power than this…
    Thanks

  14. Reg   August 12, 2011 at 8:33 AM

    @ 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.

  15. Mike Bedard   August 12, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    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 rampant and enjoyment of the bikepath will decrease!

    This could be a scenario where council must show that they have a backbone and stand up for the rest of the community………….but if anyone can prove that the E-bikes are safer than other motorized vehicles than it could be worth looking into………..so far from what I have been told and from what I can find the only confusing thing is that some models of E-Bikes look like bicycles! However, if the bicycle is assisted by a motor than it is a motorized vehicle and is more dangerous than a bike without!

    The bike path is a family oriented tourist attraction! We must proceed with caution because once the door is open it will just be a matter of time before Electric Mopeds will have to be allowed on the path! Also, I hate seeing tax dollars spent on something that could be decided by anyone of sound mind! I hope we don’t hire a consultant for this matter because boy would that add the icing to the cake and make me wonder “Why do have council; if we need other people to tell us what to do?”

  16. Lock   August 12, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    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 trails. The National Capital Commission in Ottawa is about to. Victoria BC now permits ebikes on their trails. In fact Vancouver changed their by-laws three years ago to require electrical outlets at bike racks. How backward does Cornwall wish to appear?

  17. Lock   August 12, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    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 that is the limit for everybuddy.

    Ebikes are unique as the only vehicles with a motor that are regulated under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act as bicycles. It’s because they are unlike all other motor vehicles. Their motor power is tiny. Their top speed is limited to pedal-bike speeds and of course like any cyclist riders do not travel everywhere at maximum speed but must slow down when required or prudent. They are quiet like pedal-bikes and leave no tailpipe exhaust smell behind them. Like sailboats they leave a clean wake… Old laws written to restrict “motorized” vehicles were written with the noise and stink and high power of gasoline engines in mind.

    The Government of Canada and the Provinces and many places around the world are encouraging the use of ebikes out of concerns about energy waste and pollution and road congestion. To me these concerns far outweigh idle speculation about how bicycles with motors (already in common use elsewhere) might be dangerous.
    Thanks

  18. Mike Bedard   August 12, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    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 no difference between an electric moped and an e-bike other than the fact that you could potentially go faster on an e-bike by pedalling! Therefore, making it NOT as safe as an electric moped!

    P.S. – Thank you for the professional view points! Far to often people become rude and offensive just because you are asking a question that they don’t like to answer! Every product and idea most have pros and cons and when discussing them it is nice to see a intelligent point of view rather than a verbal assalt!

  19. Lock   August 12, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    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 if I were King of Cornwall you might not like me very much as my first order of business would be to impose a 15kmh speed limit on the bike pathways! I understand we humans (some of us) have a “need for speed” but to me speed seems counter to the nature of the whole parks experience.

    The air and waters that flow through our urban parks come from the cities that surround them. And so much of our air pollution and water pollution comes from transportation. Canadian parks should be supporting the use of electric vehicles, and the most affordable electric transportation today is electric bicycles.

    Electric cars are not going to help our congested roads. They aren’t going to make our roads any safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The first North American to suffer death by auto was run over by an electric car (Henry Bliss, New York City, 1899.)

    A lot of the concerns expressed here mention speeding – that electric bikes might go too fast. This is already a problem with some car drivers and some cyclists, but I do not hear anyone advocating that cars or bikes should be banned. There are laws against speeding. They just need to be enforced.

    And we need to separate heavy high speed traffic (trucks and cars) from slow speed light traffic like pedal bikes and ebikes and pedestrians. It’s the only permanent solution. Many more folks would take to two wheels if they felt our streets were safer. In the 20th-century North Americans “lost their way” and built their cities around the automobile. If you look at countries in Europe that nEVer lost their bike culture, the infrastructure is there and many more folks are on two wheels. It’s common to see pedal bikes and heavy cargo bikes and electric bicycles and motor scooters and motorcycles all sharing the same biking infrastructure.

    It’s sad that Canadians cannot respect our fellow travellers in the same way.

    Cheers

  20. Lock   August 12, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    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 in limits that encourage folks to take it easy!

    And most folks riding ebikes will tell you that they don’t use the power-assist to go faster. Instead, to go farther then they might on a pedal-only bicycle. So adding power-assist to the Victorian pedal bike makes a bike more practical for more people and for longer trips. Folks that advocate for the pedal bike can be very passionate and vocal, but the sad truth is, less than 2% of Canadians say that the pedal bike is their primary form of transportation. Ebikes are about to change this dramatically. I see the price of gas in Cornwall is up again today.
    ;->
    Lock

  21. Lock   August 12, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    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…

    As an ebiker, riding better electrically, it’s nice not having to visit gas stations. They smell funny. Studies show incidences of childhood leukemias increase significantly around gas stations. One day I hope Canadians will learn to love their children more than they love their cars…
    Thanks

  22. Reg   August 12, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    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.

  23. Lock   August 13, 2011 at 12:26 AM

    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

  24. Eric   August 13, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    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 are fair, needed and enforced!

  25. Lock   August 13, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    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 so in those rules?
    Tks

  26. Chris Lipscombe   August 13, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    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 in ebike. The scooter style ebike is probably safer than my bicycle because it has more visable signal lights and louder horn.

    On paved bicycle trails, with or without motor, I rarely go 32 km/h. I travel at around 25 km/h. I appreciate being able to use the bicycle trails as much as possible because too many motor vehicle drivers in Ontario do not respect the fact the bicycles have rights on the road as well. I have a wife and child, and I have had too many close calls with drivers racing past me so they can make a right turn in front of me, causing me to take evasive action, or passing me with only inches to spare.

    The debate should not be policing ebikes on bicycle paths, no ebike rider wants to hit a pedistrian, no pedestrian wants to cut off an ebike (or regular bicycle). I find the bicycle paths a lot more safer and “polite” or “cooperative” between ebikes, bikes, and pedestrians (not to say that there is not room for improvement) than the road. When I come up behind a group of pedestrians taking the whole path, I usually just call out, “Good morning, coming up on your left” and I have never had anybody refuse to give me room to go by.

    The debate should be having the police look for more motor vehicle drivers being a danger to cyclists on the roads. I am not saying to stop and charge idiot cyclists who can not obey the rules of the road, but keep an eye on automobile drivers not respecting cyclists, stop and speak with them about the rules of the road and cyclist rights, and charge them if necessary.

  27. Mike Bedard   August 13, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    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 the E-bikes it must come with a set of rules that can be easily enforced! To set rules that can not be enforced is just plainly a waste of time! However, If the decision is that NO motorized vehicles or any vehicle fitted with a motor is prohibited on the bike path then fair is fair; no exceptions! But if motorized vehicles are allowed then any motorized vehicle allowed under certain conditions and not just e-bikes! We don’t want to be having council do this for every single type of vehicle that comes on to the market!

    Here’s an idea! If the e-bikes are great for transportation and for those with accessibility issues! Which I don’t believe an e-bike classifies as a suitable personal assistance device! Then why don’t we allow the e-bikes on the bike path everywhere except in Lamoureux Park! Is that not a somewhat suitable comprimise? You will have many more people in Lamoureux Park and with the splash pad and other family oriented buildings still accessible by road; then it may get a lot more community support!

    Just an idea but it may be as simple as that and then again it could be as simple as “NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES ON THE BIKE PATH!”

  28. Eric   August 14, 2011 at 6:09 AM

    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 bylaw needs to written, man, I hate saying more rules are needed!

  29. Lock   August 14, 2011 at 8:08 AM

    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 a category of tiny electric vehicles which are unique in our history of transportation in that they are regulated like the pedal bicycle on our roads. Deeming vehicles as safe or unsafe solely on the basis of whether they are motorized or not may be overly simplistic if Canadians wish to take EVen baby steps in recognizing that 20th-century perspectives are killing us and the planet that sustains us.

    I agree with Eric. That Cornwall trails only need speed limits (and that rules suck.) If it were I, it would only be 15kmh. Again, it is our Parks (what’s left of our natural world) that stand the most to gain from cleaner air and waters, and for our parks to stand instead as barriers to electric bicycles would be a travesty.

    Thanks
    Lock

  30. Chris Lipscombe   August 14, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    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 and my regular bike. Does not mean that I travel 40 km/h all the time when it is not appropriate or safe. The vehicle does not matter. It is how the driver operates the vehicle.

    A group of us went on a photowalk this morning along the multiuse pathways in London this morning. Two e-bike scooters past us during our photowalk during the walk, neither one was an issue or a danger. The people and the cyclist coexisted on the path in harmony! On the other hand, a regular cyclist on a racing bike (non motorized) wearing spandex blast past us like an idiot.

  31. admin   August 14, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I think most people get that courtesy makes life better and easier for all. It’s those special ones that mess it up for others and of course any complaint to the powers that be means that they have to respond and that’s where you get issues like this one. Common sense should not have to be legislated. Of course try walking in a department store nowadays? People blocking aisles, not getting that you drive on the right; little stuff like that.

    We need to be more courteous and remember that the world doesn’t revolve around us, but with us….

  32. Chris Lipscombe   August 14, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    @Lock,

    Great Video.

  33. Familyguy123   September 2, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    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 that part of the bike path (or fence it along the path), the path does split off and go along the river, if city council would just use common sence and not just cater to the loudest voice, I also read articles saying that city council should take a stand and show some back-bone about the e-bikes, if they ban the bicycle/e-bike from the bike path then they should lower the speed limit on the roads within the city and put bicycle lanes on all roads, as the only place left for bicycles/e-bikes is the roads

  34. blair   September 2, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    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.

  35. Jason Billings   June 26, 2015 at 7:05 PM

    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 might be experiencing Road Rage and should proceed with measures to rectify this psychological illness.

    It is detrimental for the safety of all Commuters to instill the proper behaviour and attitudes toward each other. This will make the roads a safer and happier place for EVERYONE.

    Pedestrians are here to stay, waiting in traffic is here to stay. Bicycles/E-bikes are here to stay.

    Everyone NEEDS to commute on a daily basis and have access to various and diverse areas of our city. Everyone does NOT NEED to experience actual anger over something that has existed since BEFORE automobiles were even invented yet.

    Learn to share the road. Be safe. Leave for your commute 5 minutes earlier everyday and you won’t be in such a hurry or so concerned about that “30 seconds”.

    Sincerly: Someone welcoming the 19th century back to the 21st century, with disk brakes.

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