I appeal to the lawmakers of this province to review the licensing requirements for ebikes. Currently, the requirements are:
- No driver's licence is required
- No written test is required
- No vehicle registration or plate is required
- No motor vehicle liability insurance is required
Having been forced to share the road (and by that I mean bikes lanes) with ebikes, I'd say it's time for a review. I realize that what I am about to say will strike some as hypocritical. Or, what's worse is that I might end up appearing as ignorant as Jacob Richler.
If there's one thing I cannot stand it is those who argue that all cyclists are law-breakers and dangerous, and that's simply not true. I know that there are lots of law-abiding cyclists out there who stop at traffic lights and don't ride on sidewalks. And, of course, there are lots of responsible ebike riders, but many of my interactions have left me angry and feeling like I am in danger when riding my bicycle.
The aspect that most concerns me is having to share a bike lane with a motorized vehicle. According to the website referenced above, ebikes would seem to be welcome in bike lanes:
E-bikes are allowed to travel anywhere bicycles are permitted to travel. Any municipal by-law prohibiting bicycles from highways under their jurisdiction also apply to e-bikes. Municipalities may also pass by-laws specific to e-bikes that prohibit them from municipal roads, sidewalks, bike paths, bike trails, and bike lanes under their jurisdiction.And, indeed, the city of Toronto bike lane bylaws state the following: "According to City of Toronto bike lane bylaws, bicycles must be propelled by muscular power."(http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/). So, if you are driving an ebike, please GET OUT OF THE BIKE LANE! You are breaking the law.
I have been honked at, passed very closely at high speeds, and cursed at by ebike riders. Last year, I had an altercation with an ebiker who repeatedly honked at me, and then sped by so close that her useless pedals almost clipped me. I'm all for sharing the road, but bike lanes in Toronto are reserved for non-motorized vehicles.
Yesterday, on my cycle home, an ebike came screaming up beside me at what must have been the maximum 32 km/h. He cut in front of me and then drove up onto the sidewalk where he continued for about 50 to 75 feet before stopping. I worried that anyone exiting a store would have been hit.
I fail to see why these bikes are exempt from licensing laws. They are motorized. They travel at generally faster speeds that bikes. Someone will be hit and injured by one of these things in the future. That's a given.
Most of these things look like electric scooters, so even the name is perplexing. All riders ought to be required to take a safety course like those for motorcycles. I am opposed to the licensing of bicycles because they are non-polluting. Ebikes are polluting. The electricity most likely comes from coal or nuclear power, neither of which are green.