To: Public Works and Infrastructure Committee Toronto:
Re: PW28.2 Electric Bikes – Proposed Policies and By-Laws
Dear City Councillors:
Thank you for considering this difficult but important issue. I am a senior (soon to be 73) who still uses a normal human powered bicycle for some of my transportation needs in Toronto.
1. Firstly, I am in support of the sale and use of e-bikes in Toronto because they represent a much more efficient use of less polluting energy for the movement of people compared with the wasteful use of multi-tonned automobiles which are most often carrying one person. E-bikes also make great transportation for the elderly and impaired.
2. I welcome recommendation #1 to allow power-assisted bicycles which weigh less than 40 kg and require pedalling for propulsion (called pedelecs) in multi-use trails, cycle tracks and bicycle lanes.
3. a) However I am very concerned with Recommendation #2, which would allow electric scooters which weigh far more than 40 kg, (up to 120 kg plus rider) in all painted bicycle lanes across the City. To me this would be like allowing cyclists to ride on sidewalks with pedestrians – (staff is proposing that no-one over age 14 be allowed to ride on sidewalks). 120 kg e-bikes (plus rider) travelling at 32 km/h in single lanes with bicycles travelling at 18 km/hr is a recipe for confusion, anger, injury and death!
3. b) The solution should be to lower speed limits on City streets and roads so that e-vehicles of all types can be accommodated on streets and roads, not artificially dump e-bikes into single lanes intended for human powered bicycles. Cyclists are provided very little space on our roads as it is and this proposal is just oppressive to cyclists. E-bikes are really low powered scooter/motorcycles and should be licenced as such by the Province as I believe you agree (if the useless pedals are removed they are considered illegal as e-bikes).
4. I do 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 (as is done in Europe), before the City considers the recommendation to allow them to drive in bicycle lanes. E-scooters should be licenced to operate on the road with other powered vehicles, not allowed into bicycle lanes.