e bike toronto bike lane

E-bikes not allowed in Toronto bike lanes just yet

E-bikes won't be granted access to Toronto bike lanes just yet, after a recommendation before the City's public works committee was deferred this afternoon. The report in question makes a distinction between two type of electric bike -- smaller pedal-equipped versions vs. larger scooter-like models -- and recommends that the former be allowed everywhere that traditional bikes are allowed, including city bike paths and lanes. The latter would be banned from off-road and separated bike lanes/paths, but permitted to operate in lanes painted on-street.

The question of where e-bikes can safely operate has been hotly debated in Toronto since they've gained in popularity over the last few years, and it makes sense that the City make an effort to redefine what constitutes a bicycle in the municipal code to take account of these vehicles in a formal sense. The idea was to reach a compromise by distinguishing between lighter and heavier e-bikes, despite the fact that they are both capped at the same speed of 32kph.

Leading the charge to defer the motion was Councillor Mike Layton, who noted that there are still safety concerns related to the weight of e-bikes and their higher rate of average speed (most cyclists ride about 20kph). The committee agreed in voting 4-2 to defer the item. As such, no e-bike of any sort will be allowed in bike lanes or on bike paths for the foreseeable future.

What do you think of the decision? Where do e-bikes belong?

Photo by Roger Cullman.


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