Electric scooters in bike lanes? Write Public Works now!
Write members of Public Works & Infrastructure Committee before 4:30on Wednesday January 8th and request that they not allow electric scooters in bicycle lanes unless the law is clarified!
This Thursday, members of Public Works & Infrastructure Committee will consider a set of recommendations to change the rules around where e-bikes are permitted in Toronto.
- We’re supportive of e-bikes as an alternative to larger, less environmentally friendly motor vehicles, especially for people with impaired mobility.
- We welcome Recommendation 1 to allow power-assisted bicycles which weigh less than 40kg and require pedaling for propulsion (“pedelecs”) in multi-use trails, cycle tracks and bicycle lanes.
- But we’re concerned about Recommendation 2, which would allow electric scooters in all painted bicycle lanes across the City.
- We support the MTO and Transport Canada addressing Recommendation 4, to split the existing power-assisted bicycles vehicle category into e-scooter and pedelec type vehicles, before the City considers the recommendation to allow them to drive in bicycle lanes.
According to the current by-law power-assist bicycles can only be ridden in bicycle lanes in Toronto if they’re actually being pedalled. Recommendation 2 would change this to allow them to be powered by electric motor alone. E-bikes are regulated by the Province to a maximum speed of 32 km/hr and maximum weight of 265 lbs. We think that allowing electric scooters in bicycle lanes at this speed and weight will create a dangerous situation for cyclists.
We also know that there are e-bikes on the road with a higher maximum speed and weight. Changing the City's bike lane bylaws now without clarifying between the different types of e-bikes allows much faster moving electric vehicles into lanes that are supposed to protect vulnerable road users.
The province mandates power-assisted bicycles in Ontario and their broad definition includes light electric vehicles of all sorts of shapes and sizes. We support Recommendation 4 that City Council request the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Transport Canada to review the vehicle types currently being sold as power-assisted bicycles to ensure that they comply with the federal and provincial definition of power-assisted bicycle and to establish two categories of vehicles - those that resemble conventional bicycles (pedelecs) and electric motor scooters.
According to staff, “Further, the power output and maximum speed should be lowered, consistent with the European standard, so that the regulated maximum speed (25 km/hr) of a power-assisted bicycle is more comparable to the speed of an average cyclist.” (pg 10)
The City collected speed data in the College St bicycle lanes and found that 74% of cyclists were travelling between 18-25 km/hr. Regulating power-assist bicycles to 25 km/hr would help diminish the speed differential between the vehicle types.
This is very sensible. Bicycle trails, lanes and cycle tracks have been designed for bicycle traffic, and so putting larger, wider faster motor vehicles into the mix without any restrictions isn't a good fit.
Write members of Public Works and Infrastructure Committee and request that they support pedelec bicycles on multi-use trails, bicycle lanes and cycle tracks but not allow electric scooters in bicycle lanes unless the law is changed by the Province.
Members of Public Works and Infrastructure Committee:
“Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong” <email@example.com>, “Councillor Mark Grimes” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Councillor John Parker” <email@example.com>, “Councillor Mike Layton” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Councillor Janet Davis” <email@example.com>, “Councillor Michelle Berardinetti” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "PWIC" <email@example.com>
Remember to cc firstname.lastname@example.org. Include PW28.2 in your subject line.
Creativity matters. Include your personal story. And consider including your mailing address; it carries more weight. Please write by Wednesday January 8 at 4:30 pm.
Read the agenda item: PW28.2 - Electric Bikes - Proposed Policies and By-laws