No Ebikes in the Park!

m_750xa.jpgAfter joea500c’s post about being charged for riding his Ebike on a trail I did some checking at city hall, specifically the parks dept and the municipal by-laws office.

Long long long story short: Here in Toronto you can’t operate a power-assistd Ebike in park or on a bike trail that runs through a park. Peddle-assit is okay, as long as the on/off switch is clearly in the off position.

Now – by my rough calculations, that means that more that 50% of Toronto’s bike routes which runs though park land is closed to Ebike riders.

So much for trial-riding on one of these military air-droppable electric bikes.

May 15 – Update
I received the following message from the Toronto Parks Board:

The Parks by-law considers the above vehicles to be a “Motorized Recreational Vehicle” and therefore are not allowed in City parklands, with the exception of electric wheel chairs for handicap and the elderly. I have also included the definition of a bicycle and a motorized recreational vehicle under the Parks by-law # 608.

BICYCLE – Includes a tricycle and unicycle but does not include a motor-assisted bicycle.

MOTORIZED RECREATIONAL VEHICLE – A snowmobile, go-cart, trail bike, mini bike, all-terrain vehicle, or similar vehicle, whatever the mode of power.

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30 Comments on “No Ebikes in the Park!”

  1. joea500c Says:

    Again……
    If your e-bike fits the criteria of the “E-bike” by definition and is covered under the Pilot Program then for three years the “Motorzed Assisted Bicycle” will be permitted on trails and paths where municipal by-laws permit bicycles.

  2. veloteq Says:

    The Pilot Program was only introduced in the Autumn of last year. The majority of municipal civil servants are not even aware of of its terms or implications. In the absence of specific local bylaws compliant with (and I stress compliant) the Provincial regulations, the Pilot Program and all if its terms prevail.

  3. joea500c Says:

    That’s what I understand.
    I think I am making head way here, I have been told not to pay the fine by officials. I will let you know Monday on what transpires.

  4. ebikerider Says:

    From the folk I spoke with, (and let ride my Ebike). There were very clear.

    No powered anything in the park, (unless it is a parks vehicle).

    In fact, it seems there’s an ebike rider that uses the Don trail on a regular basis. Whoever you are, stop….. they’re looking for you.

  5. joea500c Says:

    Then they are missinformed.

    The problem is that the Ministry and Municipality failed to communicate with each other. Just read the FAQ in the Pilot Program, it will tell you every thing you need to know. That is why we have purchased e-bike…to ride everywhere a regular bicyle can go, save the environment from gas emmissions and save money on fuel. If I was only restricted to only streets….then I would have went for my motorcycle license and purchased a gas “motor-vehicle”, but I didn’t.

    Keep in mind, if bicycles are not permited within a park then your e-bike is not allowed.

    Read the FAQ on the Pilot Program. You are allowed to go everywhere…………:-)

    Please use this as reference..It is what I am showing the Municipals…..

    http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/e-bike-faq.htm

    Good Luck and Ride Safe.

    Joe

  6. ebikerider Says:

    Take a look here Joe – its clear this city and the province are indeed talking.
    http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/cyclometer/2005_feb.htm

    Municipalities regulate what is legal on sidewalks and on bike paths. Look for more on that in a future issue of Cyclometer…

    Even Jim from Veloteq uses the term “in the absence….” and baby, in this town, it ain’t absent. Here in the big smoke, the T dot …. no motorized vehicles in da park, period.

  7. joea500c Says:

    Hey, Go ahead and “clearly have the ignition turn to the off position when in the park. that makes real sense….

  8. golectric Says:

    Hey fellow E-bikers
    The Pilot clearly states that anywhere a bike can go we can go. To me that means all bike paths and trails. This is where we are safe from the idiot impaitent drivers. We need to make sure we unite on this because it is our right as tax payers to use these public trails!!! The veloteq bikes apeal to a huge demographic that has no interest in riding a converted petal bike.

  9. joea500c Says:

    Thanks golectric.
    It is insane to believe that e-bikes are only allowed on bike trails on the roads and not on trails through parks. We are permitted on trails and paths where municipal by-laws permit bicycles. So… Enjoy what you have been missing, you now have 50% more trails to ride on.

  10. ebikerider Says:

    Folk – cities and towns make up their own laws in addition to those enacted and enforced by the provincial and federal governments.

    In this city – like it or not – one may not operate a motorized (gas, electric, propane) anything on parks property.

    Insane? Perhaps.

    Even on our longest bike path, the Don Trail, it is clearly marked that bikes shouldn’t exceed 20Km/hr. For me, it’s faster, (and safer) to take the road.

  11. joea500c Says:

    Sorry about that Mat,

    I was not aware of the min speeds on the trail? That makes sense for Toronto. How do you find the other vehicles treat you on the road? I have noticed here that the cars slow down expecting to hear some sort of noise, but they give me a safe space distance. What is your normal operating speed? I usually keep the bike at about 28 Km/hour on flat ground until I come up to a hill.

  12. ebiker101 Says:

    hehehe…

    So they are onto me and my don trail adventures. Well, I’m not a big fan of making assumptions but I am assuming that the Government of Ontario, which stipulates what follows, supersedes municipal regulations.

    “Electric bicycles would be subject to the same municipal by-laws to which
    bicycles are subject (e.g., e-bikes would not be able to travel on sidewalks
    and roads where bicycles are prohibited by by-law; may travel on bike paths
    and park trails where by-laws permit bicycles).”

    http://ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2006/10/04/c4982.html?lmatch=ang_e.html

    I’ll spend the next few days trying to determine what the deal is. It’s quite disappointing for me to have read through this post as I purchased my bike with the sole intention of commuting down that trail (which according to the ontario government is cool). Cause for me to get over to eglinton and bayview from don mills would add at least 20 mins to my commute. This blows. And I’m careful, it’s not like I zip around corners and let loose when I’m going down a hill – I’m cautious. I understand, unlike a lot of pedestrians and regular bikers (who like to ride or walk side by side), that it’s a shared trail. And I won’t even get into the drivers of cars. They aren’t very good sharers either.

    Hopefully I have some good news when I next post but according to the responses ebikerider got I probably won’t. 😦

    Pretty curious to find out what happens with you Joea.

  13. ebikerider Says:

    I received this from the Parks Board Supervisors’ office:

    The Parks by-law considers the above vehicles to be a “Motorized Recreational Vehicle” and therefore are not allowed in City parklands, with the exception of electric wheel chairs for handicap and the elderly. I have also included the definition of a bicycle and a motorized recreational vehicle under the Parks by-law # 608.

    BICYCLE – Includes a tricycle and unicycle but does not include a motor-assisted bicycle.

    MOTORIZED RECREATIONAL VEHICLE – A snowmobile, go-cart, trail bike, mini bike, all-terrain vehicle, or similar vehicle, whatever the mode of power.

  14. joea500c Says:

    That sucks then doesn’t it, Why don’t I just go for my M license. Iam still waiting to hear from my city to see what they would like to do?

  15. joea500c Says:

    So I guess the Segway will not be able to go in the park!

  16. ebiker101 Says:

    It doesn’t matter how the parks by-law defines a bicycle. The Ontario government told us that for 3 years we can ride on park trails where municipal by law permits bicycles – that’s good enough for me.

  17. joea500c Says:

    Yepp to that.

  18. golectric Says:

    Ebiker101-Stick to your guns and don’t let the pions dictate what they don’t understand. You have every right to use that trail. It is not an option for the cities, they need to follow the pilot program and power assited bikes are not a MOTORIZED RECREATIONAL VEHICLE – A snowmobile, go-cart, trail bike, mini bike, all-terrain vehicle, or similar vehicle, whatever the mode of power. This is a new program. The MTO droped the ball in getting the word out. Even their own people are confused to the point of non action and take the easy route. Dam I wish I had a government job:)

  19. ebiker101 Says:

    Just got off the phone with Jeannie Lee who is supervising the pilot project and she says that the wording on the FAQ is not right and they are going to drop the “bicycle” from the end of the paragraph – So then it is up to the municipality to decide whether they permit it, which ebikerider has all but clearly proved they won’t.

    On a side note; our Veloteqs, according to her, are an unexpected and undesired move by the manufacturers to take advantage of the pilot project. It’s not so good when the supervisor of the pilot project doesn’t want to consider your bike to be a power assisted bicycle.

    I’ll try a couple of road routes, but it seems most likely that I have recently acquired a toy and not a viable commuting vehicle.

  20. philipmcd Says:

    “Just got off the phone with Jeannie Lee who is supervising the pilot project and she says that the wording on the FAQ is not right and they are going to drop the “bicycle” from the end of the paragraph – So then it is up to the municipality to decide whether they permit it, which ebikerider has all but clearly proved they won’t.”

    If this is the case then the future of e-bikes in Ontario is bleak. I find it somewhat disturbing that they would change their FAQ after so many have already purchased an expensive item based, in part, on it. It’s so darned frustrating. It just seems that Toronto can’t get its act together on anything.

    “On a side note; our Veloteqs, according to her, are an unexpected and undesired move by the manufacturers to take advantage of the pilot project. It’s not so good when the supervisor of the pilot project doesn’t want to consider your bike to be a power assisted bicycle.”

    It should not have been unexpected given that other places have embraced them. One of the reasons I purchased a Malta and not a Veloteq was that I had this feeling that driving along the bike path from the Beaches on a Veloteq would have led to too many hassles. By the sounds of it, even my power assisted bike will just lead to grief.

    “but it seems most likely that I have recently acquired a toy and not a viable commuting vehicle.”

    Expensive toy. I hope what I have read here is not the case but at this time I just feel like selling my “toy”. I can’t make it to work without going via the Martin Goodman trail which is run by Parks and Recreation (unless I risk my life on Queen Street and a Vespa would then have been a safer choice). I don’t know what to say. Perhaps there is something in the water that leads to the types running the show in this city/province.

    Sigh…philip

  21. veloteq Says:

    Form follows function. A simple axiom. The function of an ebike is to furnish a method of transportation, devoid of pollution, which will enable the rider to travel relatively long distances without fatigue. Veloteq enables the rider to do this using a form factor which offers greater riding comfort and much higher visibility, i.e., safety, than at step-through style bike while staying within the speed constraints and motor power required to achieve and maintain them, as required by law. I find it difficult to accept that the MTO people in charge of research for the Pilot Project feel that the appearance of our products was an “unexpected development” and resent the implication that we are somehow taking advantage of the Pilot Project. Those in charge of the research had ample opportunity to communicate with the regulating agencies of other provinces as well as the federal DOT. We know that the federal DOT would have referred them back to the standards described in Subsection 2 (1) of the MVSA. hd they done so, they would realize that the Veloteq ebikes meet all of the required criteria in those other jursidictions.

  22. billf Says:

    I was wondering if joea500c got off from his charge, or was he forced to go to court. The MTO bulletin is pretty clear in stating that electric bikes can go where bicycles are permitted.

    The cities get thier powers to write and enforce by-laws from the Ontario Government through the Municipal Act. Any by-law charge, a Provincial Offence Ticket or Summons to Appear, is heard in Provincial Offence Court. It would be awful hard for a Justice of the Peace to convict a person with a copy of the MTO bulletin in hand. I would imagine a provincial directive would supercede the municipal by-law or at least muddy the waters in a Judge’s mind deciding if an offence had been commited.

    This does not mean a City like Toronto could not go out and get thier parks by-law amended to exempt thier municipal parks from the MTO pilot project. I just do not understand why a Miller led City hall(NDP, Green, Left…whatever you want to label them) would want to stand in the way of this project, unless there is a big public outcry against the EVIL e-bikes in Toronto that I am unaware of.

    Long story short, unless your City has updated thier by-laws, fight any ticket you get. If I get ticket out here in Mississauga in the parks I am definitely fighting it, and I am going to squeal like crazy to my Councillor and MPP.

    Bill

  23. philipmcd Says:

    There was an article on e-bikes in yesterday’s Toronto Star. It brought up the issue of riders being hassled by both police and cyclists. It also made it clear that legally e-bikes could go wherever bikes could. The e-bike looked like a Veloteq and the rider interviewed for the article commuted from the Toronto Beaches (where I live) to work via bike paths.
    The author of the article is the environmental reporter for the Star. Previous articles in the Toronto Star on e-bikes played a part in the government legalizing them.

    philip

  24. lockhughes Says:

    Here’s a message I wrote in 2004 that may be of interest (the leading message from “Warren Hoselton”? He’s a Toronto Parks Supervisor, and the real source of the problem at Toronto Parks…):

    From: Warren Hoselton
    To: Collins, Bob; Jaffer, Rafik; Sims, Gary
    Date: 8/26/2004 3:05 PM
    Subject: scooters, etc.
    CC: Dann, James; Island Staff

    Hi Guys,
    We happened upon these two scooters yesterday.

    They said than they brought them through the Ferry Docks and onto the
    Ferry – no problems. I am not sure that I believed them – I think
    they might have been trying to smooth things by saying that they were
    fine with the ferry staff (they could have been boaters from the
    Hanlan’s wall as well – who know’s!

    These guys can go 50 km/h ! Although they are electric and
    environmentally friendly they can pose a real hazard.

    I realize there are different types of scooters / E Bikes etc but my
    bottom line has been if it has a throttled motor then it is not
    allowed.

    Perhaps we could post a picture of these scooters just as a reminder
    to be diligent in keeping them off the Island.

    Thx
    W

    ******** END of email from Warren Hoselton (Supervisor of the
    Toronto Islands Park for Parks & Recreation Toronto.)***********

    The email/memo as posted at the Ferry Docks includes a photo of two
    classic “Boreem” or “Dolphin”-style escoots that the Chinese have
    been making for years in Yongkang, complete with seats and cargo
    carriers.

    The photo appears to have been taken on the Island, with a City
    minivan stopped alonside the two scoots standing on their kickstands
    alongside the road.

    Unless those scooters had been heavily modified, there is no way they
    could approach speeds of 50 km/p!!! That aside, many folks on
    bicycles can reach speeds that exceed the posted speed limits around
    parts of the Island.

    I am of course affected by this “edict” personally, as I live on the
    Islands. Without my scooter I have lost my vehicle that I use to
    commute to work and do grocery shopping with, etc… my “daily
    driver”.

    But in a larger view I can see this same restriction (perspective?)
    being imposed across the Toronto Parks system.

    My thoughts presently are to reply in the form of a newspaper article
    about the situation and my experience with little electric two-
    wheelers in Toronto. Environmental aspects, energy costs, etc, etc.

    So this is a call for any feedback from anyone here that may wish to
    contribute thoughts and ideas to incorporate into a newspaper
    article. I have of course lots of material to draw on (Christians
    good efforts for example,) but I would like to come up with a couple
    of versions (shorter and longer) that might have a shot at being
    published in the Globe or Star or Now/Eye et al.

    Rather than anyone post to this yahoo group, could any replies please
    be sent to me personally (lockhughes_at_yahoo.com) and I will
    incorporate whatever I can in a draft I will publish here soon for
    comments?

    Thanks

    Lock
    human-electric hybrid pedestrian
    Alive, and Kickin’,in the T-Dot

  25. lockhughes Says:

    On March 8, 2005 Brenda Librecz, General Manager, Parks and Recreation,
    Culture and Tourism Toronto, wrote to Councillor Mihevc: “…
    these vehicles are restricted to roadways or parking areas in city
    parks, or other areas as authorized by permit. We haven’t stopped
    their use; just kept them off pedestrian paths and walkways.”

    tks

    Lock

  26. philipmcd Says:

    Lock,

    The examples you have given are all from before the e-bike pilot project and I am finding it unclear as to how they relate to the current situation. The pilot project specifically says that e-bikes are not to be treated as motorized vehicles and they can go wherever bikes go. I realize that there can be conflicts between city and provincial laws but surely these are generally due to outdated laws which take time to be put in sync. Are you saying that Brenda Librecz and Warren Hoselton are refusing to sync city policy with the provincial law?

    At the end of the 3 years the authorities can evaluate what they want to do. In the meantime I guess it will take a court case to sort it all out. It doesn’t exactly place Toronto in a good light.

    This whole issue (and the fiasco of the electric car situation in Ontario) is just so frustrating. I guess one just has to accept that we live in a very “conservative” province that is not capable of rapid change.

    philip

  27. lockhughes Says:

    Hello Philip

    Yah, I’m frustrated, but not so willing to accept

    For two years I rode a power-assist vehicle through Toronto parks, and then one day I was banned.

    The (Toronto Islands) Park Supervisor (Warren Hassletime) saw a couple of vehicles like mine in “his” park, and posted an email to Parks staff declaring them dangerous because they can go 50kph… a mistake at best, and a lie at worst.

    Hassletime believes that traffic in “his” park should be muscle-powered only.

    Parks maintains that they do not have different rules for different parks, so the Hassletime ban extends across the whole parks system.

    Toronto parks comprise 1/8 of the land area of the City.

    Perhaps folks have forgotten that Toronto has (had?) an Environmental Plan:
    http://www.toronto.ca/council/etfepfin.pdf

    It reads in part:
    A system of linked greenspace follows the framework of the city’s river valleys, ravines and waterfront. It supports a mosaic of different kinds of plant communities ranging from woodlands to wet meadows. These extensive natural areas support vibrant communities of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates and provide corridors for the movement of wildlife and people.

    “…CORRIDORS for the movement of wildlife AND PEOPLE.”

    If power-assist is banned in all Toronto Parks, this sets up a barrier to power-assist across the whole city.

    Part of “my problem” is that my vehicle has no pedals. I kick, just like the good Baron (Karl von Drais.)

    So the vehicle “stands out”, compared to a bike with pedals.

    In the same way, a Veloteq product (that meets the letter of the law because it has pedals etc) is a “stand out”.

    In the same way that Veloteq riders are being hassled by Toronto police, they will be hassled by Parks employees.

    You can try this yourself.

    Just present yourself at the ferrydocks with your power-assist kick bike or Veloteq pedal vehicle and you will be refused admission.

    Toronto Parks will have us safe in “their” parks while the last dying leaf falls from the last dying tree.

    This is a City Department that maintains acres of parkland as free parking (paved parking lots), designed to encourage folks to drive their 20th-century autos through the City and into OUR parks.

    Here is a fun bit of history for you…

    When Transport Canada first decided to test power-assist bikes, they asked the Provinces to participate, and Ontario refused to permit these vehicles on Ontario streets. So the testing in Ontario was done in TORONTO PARKS.

    And, BTW, I was introduced to the Minister (Cansfield) a few months ago, and she explained to me that the acceptance of power-assist is a “pilot” in name only. The Province declared it a “pilot” because they were afraid of a backlash from I-don’t-know-who.

    Parks is using the Bylaw proscription against “motorized recreational vehicles” to ban some vehicles, when of course my vehicle isn’t for recreation at all – I use it to commute to work.

    tks

    Lock

  28. izip304 Says:

    Anyone want to do something about the Parks bylaw – such as attempting to change it?

  29. anqele Says:

    A most distressing turn of events.

    My super said I can not have my ebike in my apartment. This is after he has seen me come in and out of my building with this ebike since last year. Have not been riding it during the really cold snowy winter weather but other than during the impossible to ride weather my ebike has been seen by the super and all the tenants for ten months.

    Bicycles are allowed to be taken to the tenant’s apartments. I have searched to find something I can give the landlord of my highrise that says I am legally allowed to continue bringing my ebike into my apartment but to no avail.

    I argued that the besement garage is where every motor vehicle I had car/minivan were broken into and vandalized. Also even if there was not a fear of damage done to my ebike it is impossible to stay for hours while my ebike charges.

    The super said he saw another person with an ebike in our building so they go in the garage. With the enviornment and gas issues why are we penalized for our electric transport? My poor bike would not last a night in that undergraound garage, which has zero security!

    Any suggestions?

    Angele

  30. rodmacpherson Says:

    angele,

    Tell your super you’ll store teh bike in the garage if he’ll buy a shed to put up in your designated space and run power to it so you can lock your bike up and charge it.


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