The city of Toronto will now have a few different types of bicycles in its bike lanes, which have long been a favored mode of transportation for a number of Toronto citizens. In a recent vote by the Toronto city council, it was decided that e-bikes, or motorized bicycles would be allowed to use bike lanes and prohibited from driving in the streets.
This marks a shift from previous policy, which mandated that drivers of electric bikes share the road with motorists, a guideline that many electric cyclists opposed.
Many E-Bike Riders Support the Decision
Many of Toronto’s e-bike and electric scooter riders were happy with the city council’s decision to allow e-bikes into the bike lane because they believe that said lanes are a more appropriate method of travel than traditional street lanes, where e-bikes were formerly in traffic with motorists operating full sized vehicles.
A 2013 study in Toronto found that half of all e-bikers living in the city believed that the bike lane was the best option for their riding needs. Some riders of traditional bikes disagree that the decision is wise, and contend that since e-bikes are larger, heavier, and faster than traditional bikes, they belong in the regular traffic lane.
Toronto Not the First CIty to Adopt This Policy
Toronto’s recent legislation to allow e-bikes into bike lanes is not revolutionary when it comes to civic legislation around the use of electric bikes in the bike lanes. The Canadian cities of Ottawa and Mississauga already have guidelines in place that allow for e-bike usage.
In general, legislation around cycling and its various forms is a fairly commonly discussed issue because of the fact that cycling and outdoor activities play such a large part in the Canadian lifestyle. Canada, which is often noted for its strong environmental record and beautiful natural terrain, boasts a number of citizens who take advantage of the Canadian outdoors by cycling or riding to work or school.
E-Bikes Growing in Popularity
Electric bikes seem to be growing in popularity in Canada as well as across the continental United States and Europe, as many environmentally and financially conscious consumers search for ways in which they can cut fuel costs while reducing their environmental impact.
This is certainly good news for many major cities, who could ostensibly see their pollution levels and traffic reduced as more and more commuters switch to modes of transportation other than cars.
A Need to Reimagine Transportation Plans
The recent Toronto decision may have done more than just change the way in which e-bikers commute. It may have also shed light on what could continue to be a very important issue for city governments everywhere. As more citizens shift to alternative modes of transportation, planning may have to be done to accommodate for different types of riders.
Some of the traditional cyclists in Toronto, for example, are opposed to the introduction of electric bikes into their riding space, but there remains to be an alternative solution presented that gives cyclists of all types the options they need. Some planners have begun to look into the implementation of dual bike lanes, which would allow for e-bikes and more fast moving cyclists in one lane, and traditional bikes in another. This would allow for all cyclists to ride free of auto traffic, but may not be feasible without major re planning of city roads.
For now, the city government in Toronto hopes that it has reached a decision that will help all cyclists continue to ride and that will encourage more commuters and recreational riders to view the city from behind handlebars.