E-Bikes in Bike Lanes? Don't Legalize It!

Electric Bikes Don't Belong on Bike PathsBack in June, I shared my thoughts about e-bikes in bike lanes. I thought it was a bad idea. I still do.

A newly released city staff report recommends that the city make it legal for e-bikes to ride in most bike lanes.

This is a very bad idea. If you're not pedalling your bike, you don't belong in the bike lane. I fully understand the allure of e-bikes as an alternative to a car or motorcycle, they don't require a license or insurance and are a far greener mode of transportation, but for a cyclist in a bike lane they're downright dangerous.

If you're not pedalling, you belong on the street with cars, not on a bike lane with cyclists.

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My initial feelings were to agree with you, but then I read the report.

The report only recommends that e-scooters (the ones that resemble motor scooters) be allowed in the bike lanes on roads because "it is feasible for e-scooter riders to pass slower cyclists by using the adjacent traffic lane". This isn't much different from one cyclist going twice the speed of another moving into the traffic lane to pass the slower cyclist.

The rest of the report bans the e-scooters from using multi-use trails (like the one on lakeshore, I assume) cycle tracks, and sidewalks.

I'm fine with this reommendation.

January 6, 2014 @ 10:31 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I see it as different because e-bikes are much heavier and colliding with one would be far more dangerous for a cyclist.

January 6, 2014 @ 10:34 AM


This city needs designated e-bike lanes NOW, dammit. When are we going to get real about transit.

January 6, 2014 @ 10:55 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


All the e-bikes would disappear overnight if they had to have insurance and/or a license/permit.

For the record, I'm pro e-bike, just not in bike lanes. The war on bikes has to end in this city.

January 6, 2014 @ 10:57 AM


I agree to a point. The problem with e-bikes is that they are a death trap. They are in no-mans land (too fast for a bike lane and too slow for the road). The only reasons to get an e-bike are that they are cheaper than a real scooter, and you don't need licensing or special testing.
As a frequent cyclist, I would be OK with e-bikes sharing painted bike lanes on roads (such as those on Royal York or Davenport)...but NOT on paths such as Martin Goodman or even Sherbourne.
Then, you could place reasonable restrictions on speed limits etc and enforce them...which would be a step up from the current non-system.

January 6, 2014 @ 12:23 PM


They're DUI-bikes, not e-bikes.

January 6, 2014 @ 2:17 PM

4x4 Time

Just curious, if e-Bikes are motorized, why are they not required to be licensed with insurance?

January 7, 2014 @ 9:58 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@4x4 Time

Great question.

January 7, 2014 @ 9:58 AM


@4x4 Time/TOMike,

e-bikes don't have to be licensed as their speed is regulated and the size of the effective/equivalent motor/engine is less than that which requires licensing. For example, motorized bikes (motorcycles, scooters, etc) that are under 50cc are not required to be licensed.

I'm torn on the ebikes on bike paths issue. WRT to accidents, its going to be pedestrian vs ebike, which arguably is statistically better than a pedestrian vs 150lb male going 45km/h on any bike.
However, the purest in me thinks motorized vehicles shouldn't be on a human powered trail.


January 7, 2014 @ 12:27 PM

Mike from Lowville

Anything with a motor or engine that travels on a road needs to be and should be insured...period! I remember saving up $650.00 one summer to buy a new 1969 Honda Mini Trail hoping to ride on the road. The thing almost did 30 mph top speed but, the M.T.C. said I needed a motorcycle permit, I needed a motorcycle licence and insurance. As a sixteen year old I could not fund that. So what is the difference now? Anything with a motor or engine needs to be insured at the least!

January 7, 2014 @ 6:02 PM

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