File Under Duh: Electric Bicycles Shouldn’t Ride on Sidewalk

Biking Toronto summarized a Toronto Sun article with the following snippet:

Pedestrian and cycling advocates want the city to put the brakes on where e-bikes can park and ride.

“They could seriously injure or kill a pedestrian if they hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk,” says Dylan Reid, co-chairman of the Toronto Pedestrian Committee.

“E-bikes are a good thing, it’s just that they really shouldn’t be on the sidewalk,” he said yesterday.

City council’s public works and infrastructure committee will consider a recommendation from the pedestrian committee today to ban e-bike parking on city sidewalks.

Electric bicycles were approved by the Ontario government only last week following a three year pilot project.  E-bikes there can only have a maximum weight of 120 kg (264 lbs! That’s a freakin’ moped) and must follow the same rules as bicycles, but currently they are allowed on sidewalks.

Comments

canadian52 - 10/07/09 - 6:31pm

Well the good thing is that people are allowed to ride them on the road. It just isn’t safe for them to be on sidewalks. My blog also covers this topic. http://transportationlaw.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/transportation-news/

Walter Tower - 10/08/09 - 3:18am

What kind of physics allows a parked ebike to run someone over? The argument that parked ebikes on sidewalks are dangerous is absurd. I think everyone agrees that any bicycle, power assisted, pedal or scooter style do not belong riding on the sidewalks, a fact that many regular cyclists seem to ignore. Any accidents and indeed fatalities in Toronto seem to involve regular bicycles. People seem to ignore that these ebikes have existed in British Columbia for 6 years without major incident.

Ebikes are legislated to run at pedal bike speeds, and are generally underpowered. My ebike is 350 watts and my toaster is 1000 watts. It is no wider at the handlebars than a regular unassisted bicycle. The reason they weight more is that presently sealed lead acid batteries are used for economical reasons, and they require a heavier frame to carry the extra 40 lbs of batteries. As lithium batteries become cheaper, the ebikes can be made lighter too. So which weighs more, a 150 lb woman on a 150 lb ebike or a 250 lb man on a 50 lb unassisted bicycle?

Editor - 10/08/09 - 6:56pm

My guess is they figured people would drive them onto the sidewalks to get to the parking area…

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