An interesting observation on Toronto’s Martin Goodman Trail was posted to IbikeTO on August 12th, 2011.

Noticed this morning a sign on the Martin Goodman trail, facing west (i.e. for eastbound riders) just west of the HMCS York crossing: “Motor-assisted bicycles prohibited”.

I have to admit I agree with this for the MGT – which is known as a recreation rather than commuter route. HOWEVER, I’ve noted that in places like Copenhagen they’ve allowed things like electric scooters and vehicles for the mobility challenged on bike tracks. So in theory I don’t actually mind sharing with e-bikes and the like on the bike lanes on commuter routes.

What I did find offensive this summer was the number of e-bike riders who not only took up bike lane space, but then violated every traffic rule known to pedestrian and driver alike. So they  look like a cyclist (superficially) and then make us look bad.

I’ve had similar problems with Motorbikes that lane-split with the bike lanes – or worse – bypass traffic using the bike lane.

Cyclists are note lightweight vehicles. They’re enhanced pedestrians. Doubt it? Just look at the weight difference. 180lbs of rider plus 20-30lbs of bike is only 200-210 lbs. They also tend not to reach speeds greater than 20-25kph on the road. Motorcycles step up to 5-800 lbs before taking the rider into account and travel well in excess of 20kph. There’s an order of magnitude there that excludes motorcycles from bike lane use. It also demonstrates the sheer inequality between cyclists and other forms of mechanized road use.

Having said all that, I want to return to the e-bike problem. We need a clear rule on what kind of vehicles these are, and where they can be ridden.

Restrictions on “Motor-Assisted Bicycles” aka e-bikes | I Bike Toronto.