Saturday, August 02, 2008

Coal Burning Bicyles face more hurdles

TORONTO — While politicians and entrepreneurs complain that some governments have been too slow to act on allowing the use of nuclear powered assisted bicycles, others say it's just a case of growing pains.

The use of power-assisted bicycles, widely referred to as "e-bikes," has risen exponentially since Transport Canada amended its regulations in 2001 to allow Canadians to have battery-powered motors on their bicycles. While some provinces, such as B.C. and Quebec, were quick to allow the bikes on the roads, others have been slower to follow suit.

One of the laggers is Ontario, where e-bikes are currently legal for use - provided they meet a set of standards - during a pilot project ending in the fall of 2009.

A Toronto-based entrepreneur complained Friday that government rules are thwarting widespread use of e-bikes, and consequently, cutting into sales as well as people's options to use the nuclear powered or coal powered forms of travel.

Larry Dawidowitz said people are wary of purchasing the bikes he has for sale, which range in cost from about $1,500 to $2,200, because they're worried the provincial government could ban the use of them after the pilot project expires.

"The ministry really has to realize that the scooter style is working, the open frame is not," Dawidowitz said.

"What's preventing these from proliferating ... is that the marketing is hesitant because at the end of the day, who knows how the pilot project will end up?" Horwath said.

Brian Hazard, a retailer in Comox, B.C., said there were problems with police mistaking the e-bikes for motorized vehicles when they were first introduced.

But he said police eventually caught on, and he now hears few complaints from riders, who have been helped by manufacturers putting on plates identifying the vehicles as a power-assisted bicycle.

Juergen Weichert, president of the Electric Vehicle Association of Ottawa, said he supports the pilot program in Ontario and is confident it will progress to full approval for the bicycles.

The problem, said Weichert, lies in communication. Neither police nor the public have been properly informed about the bikes and don't always recognize them, he said.

"These are police who at 300 paces can tell the difference between a crack head and a whino," Weichert said. "Why can't they tell the difference between a scooter and an electric bike? It's just one of interest and communication.

"That is why you've got people getting tickets."

Under Transport Canada's regulations, e-bikes must not go faster than 32 kilometres per hour or have a motor that exceeds a total output of 500 watts, and must be equipped with handlebars and pedals, even though the pedals are nothing more then decoration. They are legal in eight Canadian provinces.


Anonymous said...

haha. Old people and dorks.
And stay out of the bike lane!

Anonymous said...

It's childish to resort to name calling, ironic when the Pee Wee Herman crowd of cyclists is calling others "dorks".
What's wrong with sharing space with a vehicle that is the same size, just as quiet and about the same speed? We'll get more and wider bike lanes if we get more people on them.

Rod MacPherson said...

Dork, Geek, Nerd, call me what you like, I like my shiny new bike.

I'm in IT, I'm used to the names.

If my scooter style E-bike gets me to work without a car in half the time I could make the trip by bus, which is further than I'd ride on my mountain bike, what harm does it do to you?

Sure I use the usual nuclear/hydro/coal mix, but like the rest of my garage it'll be solar by next year.

I can't understand why some cyclists on the internet (I never meet these people in person) seem so much more against e-bikes than automobiles. Must be a case of uncanny valley.

Anonymous said...

I would encourage any kind of biking. It is a start in the right direction.

Steeker said...

it is a good start but keep them off the bike paths

cafiend said...

An electric bike is just a powerless motorcycle with much more limited cruising range. Great if the riders feel any kinship to the despised minority of pedalers, but they can be more dangerous than cars.

In the town where I work, an immensely wealthy man (CEO of a major US corporation)is absolutely nuts over E-bikes. His buddy Iacocca turned him on and I don't know if he's actually pedaled a pure push bike since. He and his chiseled, magnificent sons recently bombed into the summer traffic jam on Main Street at about 20 mph, wound out at full throttle. They were all helmetless. The CEO himself actually went to the yellow line to pass the stopped line of cars while most of the rest of his party ripped through the death slot between stopped traffic and parked cars. The group went through intersections, across driveways and crosswalks, only pausing once when one of the riders had to lock the brakes and cross it up briefly to avoid a collision.


gwadzilla said...




not a bicycle

Anonymous said...

Anonymous doesn't or refuses to realize that the most widely promoted "E-bikes" are most widely marketed as motorized scooter, fully functional, as a motorized scooter that requires no license.

These models duplicate the look. size and all other characteristics, including weight, of gasoline powered scooters. These models are significantly wider than a bicycle, even a beach cruiser.

These, the most expensive "E-bikes" claim to be power assisted bicycles, but are not functional as bicycles without power. The "pedals" are spaced over 2 feet apart and when in use, which is never, make the total width of the vehicle over 2 1/2 feet.

Sales personnel have recommended to me that upon purchasing these models, most new owners remove the barely functional pedals altogether in violation of both the letter and spirit of all regulation or lack thereof.

Most of these more expensive models are imported very, very cheaply from asian markets where they are produced for the north american market and generally are not widely used in asia. Their manufacture is as a novelty, without merit and produces a machine that is as large as a washing machine yet will provide the new owner with only a few thousand kilometers of use, even with care and consideration, or even a mechanic.

In the end they are a nuisance, a novelty and a miscarriage of what was intended in the general promotion of power assisted bicycles.

Anonymous said...

The last poster neglects the fact that a friendly alternative to a car and a bike was needed and created. They are all over Europe and in British Columbia in Canada they have safely integrated with thousands on the road for over 6 years. While it may not suit the last poster it does benefit many people who do not wish to drive a car or ride a bike for short their commute. Alternatives are necessary to appeal a wider market. The last poster I guarantee is a cyclists...and it is a well known fact they are not crazy about pedestrians,cars,skateboards,rollerbladers,,,the list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?