Letter to the Editor – Earle Macpherson Disappointed on E-Bikes in Cornwall Ontario Open House – Feb 23, 2012

Cornwall Ontario Mayor Robert "Bob" Kilger

Dear Editor
Disappointed in ebike open house


My wife and I attended an open house on Wednesday at the Benson Centre regarding power assisted/e-bikes on the Cornwall recreational path and were very disappointed in the format. Upon arrival we were asked to fill out a questionnaire and deposit our views in a box to be reviewed by the city managers in charge, so that they could report back to Council. The goal of this meeting which I assumed was being convened for the purpose of sharing views and information to achieve a common goal through verbal interaction. This open house in my opinion was ill conceived. Questions that anyone would ask did not have anyone there to answer them . Someone did not do their homework on this one.

Earle Macpherson – Cornwall Ontario

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Best Western Cornwall


  1. Cornwall’s cyclists live more dangerously than anyone else who uses the country’s roads. The risk of being seriously injured or killed is significantly higher than that of car and motorcycle drivers.
    Could it be that cyclists are to blame for their own misfortune?
    Many municipalities have done too little to improve safety for cyclists.
    Now things are getting dangerously crowded in many places.” Although the number of cyclists is constantly increasing and is almost twice as high as it was two decades ago, Cornwall are still “focused primarily on motorists.
    Cyclists crash into each other because bike paths haven’t been widened sufficiently, they are hit by turning trucks because intersections are confusing, or they crash into markers and lamp posts that should have been removed long ago.
    In Cornwall, there is simply a lack of knowledge “about the importance of safety-related infrastructure characteristics”. It isn’t just individual mistakes but also “design flaws” that influence the frequency and severity of accidents .Cornwall hasn’t managed to keep even their existing bike infrastructure in good shape. Cornwall concludes that about 60 percent of its bike paths are unsafe for cyclists. In some cases, tree roots have been growing into paths for years. The situation is similarly dramatic in Cornwall, where there are also many “horribly bumpy stretches” that often come to an abrupt end and confusing design. Besides, many of the road crossings are blocked by parked cars, with no decisive steps being taken to discourage this practice, officials say. There are two relatively new groups of cyclists that are taking up an especially large amount of space: parents with child transporters and cargo bikes, which are hard to maneuver, as stubborn as donkeys and hardly capable of quick maneuvering in an emergency. And then there are bikes with auxiliary motors, so-called E-bikes and Pedelecs. Even elderly cyclists can get these motorized bicycles up to speeds of 25 kilometers per hour (16 mph), which means that they need plenty of space to pass slower cyclists. “And where are we supposed to get that space?” By making pedestrian paths narrower? Cutting down trees?

  2. Thank you for that educational, if rather distasteful, interlude.

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