February 23, 2014 (Toronto, ON) – Toronto City Council went against a committee recommendation on Feb. 20, voting to allow e-bikes in bike lanes, but not in separate bike paths reports The Star. In January, a committee recommended against the e-bikes, citing safety concerns for cyclists. Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works committee, were among those voting in favour of permitting e-scooters in the painted lanes. That vote passed 23-17.
Battery-powered (e-bike) scooters, which have become quite popular in recent years, can travel up to 32kmh. They resemble motor scooters in some ways, but are typically equipped with pedals and can also be powered manually.
Jared Kolb, executive director of advocacy group Cycle Toronto, opposed mixing bicycles and scooters. He notes that electric scooters can weigh up to 255 pounds – without counting the rider – versus a bicycle at only 20 pounds. He described the mix of e-bikes and regular bikes as “a danger.”
Minnan-Wong, who pushed council to reverse the committee decision, said cyclists should also consider the safety of e-scooter users, noting that these are often seniors and people with impaired mobility.
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