E-bikes are Banned on the Martin Goodman Trail.

Update:  see previous posts – September 5, 2011 Bike Trails Through Two Hydro Corridors and Leaside Rail Corridor,  August 11, 2011 Bicycle Safety Called for by Ontario Medical Association, August 9, 2011 Police/T.T.C Target Drivers/Pedestrians/Cyclists at T.T.C Stops from Aug.8 – 14, 2011, August 5, 2011 Results of Bicycle/Pedestrian Blitz on August 3 & 4, 2011, August 2, 2011 – Bicycle/Driver/Pedestrian Blitz on Danforth Ave from Victoria Park to Broadview Ave on August 3 & 4/11, July 30, 2011 Pedestrian Injured by Cyclist Calls for Regulated Cycling in Toronto, July 28, 2011 Bicycle Helmets Lead to Fewer Head Injuries for Cyclist’s Who Wear Them, July 17, 2011 Cyclists Ignore the Signs at Kew Gardens, July 13, 2011 Toronto Bicycle Lanes Eliminated, July 9, 2011 Cyclists Continue Riding the Wrong Way on a One-Way Street (Huron Street), July 8, 2011 Toronto Police to Ticket Cyclists and Motor Vehicles Ignoring Cyclist’s Space, July 7, 2011 Careless Driving Causing Death?, May 4, 2011 Police Charge Parent of Young Cyclist Not Wearing His Bicycle Helmet, May 2, 2011 Cyclist on Powered-Assisted Bicycle Charged with Not Wearing a Helmet and Impaired Driving, March 9, 2011 Cyclist Launches 20 Million Lawsuit against Cycling Club & Association, January 27, 2011 Time to Update the Cycling Laws in Toronto & Ontario?, January 8, 2011 Toronto is Ready to Invest in the Safety of Cyclists,December 22, 2010   Toronto’s First Count of Downtown Cyclists (Sept. 2010) , November 8, 2010 Week Long Pedestrian Safety Campaign/Blitz, October 10, 2010 Bike Boxes , September 16, 2010 Private Member’s Bill requires a minimum of one metre paved shoulder be added whenever designated provincial highways are repaved to reduce accidents/fatalities , August 26, 2010 Police Lay 400 Charges Against Cyclists/Pedestrians , May 19, 2010 Motorists Must Stay 3,4 or 5 Feet Away from Bicyclists , March 29, 2010 Toronto’s Zero-Tolerance Bicycle Blitz , November 16, 2009 Most Dangerous Intersections for Pedestrians – Toronto (2008) , October 12, 2009 Idaho Stop Law , September 7, 2009 Toronto Police Bicycle Safety Blitz , March 21, 2009,  Bicycle Accidents Toronto, Reported in 2008 , December 20, 2008 City of Toronto Considering Installing “Rumble Strips”

A sign was recently erected on the Martin Goodman Trial prohibiting e-bikes - picture by David Cooper/Toronto Star

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A sign that went up quietly last week prohibits electric bikes from using the Martin Goodman Trail.

There are limits on an e-bikes electric motor size (500 W) and they cannot be capable to travelling more than 32 km/h and must have functional foot pedals.

Operators of e-bikes must be at least 16 and wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet at all times.

E-bikes should also have a bilingual Transport Canada sticker stating it’s in compliance with Canada motor vehicle safety regulations.

Perched at the entrance near Bathurst St. and Queens Quay W., the sign is raising the ire of electric bike (or e-bike) users.

The ban is “inconsistent” with the shift to greener ways of travel, said Lock Hughes, treasurer of the Toronto Electric Riders Association, which represents users of electric two-wheelers.

He added that the ban on “motor power assisted bikes” is vague and can refer to anything from an e-bike to a scooter or Segway, which are all different sizes and speeds. E-bikes generally resemble conventional bicycles but with a small motor.

A city bylaw restricts the use of bike paths to bicycles, defined as vehicles operating solely on “muscular power,” Lukasz Pawlowski of Transportation Services said, adding staff are in discussions to rework the term.

“Right now, the definition of a bike is very strict so there’s no exceptions made for a bike like an e-bike,” he said.

When the bylaw came into place several years ago, people weren’t using electric two-wheelers, Pawlowski said. “It requires a more nuanced approach.”

Provincially, e-bikes are governed by the same rules as conventional bicycles. However, cities can pass bylaws limiting their use on bike paths and trails under their jurisdiction.                                                                                                                                                   

On Tuesday, a dozen cyclists rode past the Martin Goodman Trail sign without noticing it. They all said they’ve seen e-bikes and other motorized vehicles on the trail.

Andrew Le, who takes the trail about four times a week, said he’s happy with the ban. He’s had a few “close calls” with e-bikes.

“They’re faster so there’s just more weaving through traffic,” he said. “If you get hit by one, it’s no fun.”

Cameron Fitzgerald has “no problem” with e-bikes, which he has trouble distinguishing from conventional bikes.

For him, the city should focus on regulating bigger vehicles, like scooters, which can move at higher speeds.

“They look like a motorcycle to me,” he said. “They just don’t fit on the trail.”

Stephen Oldfield said he’s seen plenty of unsafe bicycle operation, but doesn’t want to target one group of trail users.

“The problem’s with the operator, not the vehicle.”



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