e-bike - Google News

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Welcome to OntEBA, The Ontario eBike Alliance. We are a group of everyday people promoting the adoption and use of low-speed "Power-Assisted Bicycles" as defined under federal law.

In case you were wondering what a PAB is, it's a new type of transportation that takes one of the greatest inventions of the 18th century, the bicycle, and makes it modern.

At OntEBA, we use the terms "eBike" and "PABs" interchangeably. "eScooter" is a term used to described eBikes that look somewhat like a gasoline-powered scooter. The resemblance is, however, only skin deep.

A forward-thinking government (no that's not an oxymoron) described PABs as "a new means of transportation that is attractive, safe, and environment-friendly." We agree, and have even adopted those words as our motto.

What eBikes are

Some eBikes may look like gasoline-powered Low Speed Motorcycles: a.k.a Mopeds or Scooters. Others look like unpowered bicycles but have an electric motor attached to the front tire. All are strictly regulated by federal definition and provincial highways law:
  • The motors cannot propel them faster than 32 km/h, about the same speed as a fit bicyclist can muster, and slower than a speedy bicyclist. Obviously much slower than a motorcycle, scooter or automobile.
  • Riders must wear protective helmets. Bicyclists, on the other hand, are not even required to wear a hat.
  • Drivers of PABs must be at least 16 years old.
  • eBikes must be manufactured with signal lights, horns and operable pedals. Standard bicyles leave these safety features up to the rider to provide.
  • eBikes do not require a special operator's license, registration plate or vehicle insurance, just the same as bicycles.
  • PABs are required to follow the rules and laws of the road, just the same as bicycles. They are prohibited from going anywhere a bicyle cannot go, such as sidewalks.
What eBikes are not

eBikes are not toys. They are modern transportation for grown-ups, ideal for both urban and suburban living and commuting.

The federal government believes that eBikes "will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the environment and the economy," according to the federal legislation that defines them.

PABs are not motorcycles, although some of them do resemble scooters. One critic said 'if it looks like a duck, it must be a duck.' However, we respond: "Just because you put a three-piece suit on a duck doesn't make it an MPP." The speed that an eBike motor can propel the bike is required to be electronically capped at 32 km/h. Federal law states: "The power and speed limits set out here are similar to those of a bicycle and not those of a motorcycle," so the clear intent of lawmakers and people who have studied the issue is that eBikes be thought of as similar to a bicycle.

Rider safety has been taken into consideration by both the federal and provincial levels of government, which has rightly classified them as a new kind of bicycle. Although Ontario hasn't fully articulated its regulation of eBikes, the federal government has. "Continuing to subject power-assisted bicycles to the safety standards for limited-speed motorcycles would, to all intents and purposes, have prevented this type of vehicle from being marketed in Canada, which would have deprived Canadians of a safe and non-polluting alternative mode of transportation."

eBikes are not bicycles. eBikes are not motorcycles. They are what they are, as the government says: "a new means of transportation that is attractive, safe, and environment-friendly... The anticipated effects on the environment will be positive because this type of vehicle is powered by a non-polluting source of energy and its use should help to alleviate urban traffic congestion."

Debate and discussion

Others might not like it that people in the know have made studies and careful consideration about where eBikes fit into Canadian and Ontario transportation plans, and have come to educated opinions and conclusions.

But at OntEBA we're happy to get on with the 21st century and celebrate new thinking and new technologies. So let's start re-inventing the wheel!


Anonymous said...

Well said! Equal but different, that's how I view eBikes and traditional bicycles.

Anonymous said...

Great Job! E-bikes are probably one of the most important additions to our roads since the bicycle. Anyone who thinks otherwise, must be a cyclist. Both styles offer a great alternative to driving.

Beo said...

Charles Jonah-Jademark Technologies
E-bike and E-scooter wholesaler.

Great informational blog, I was very impressed to see so much information. I would like to add that our company and the CBC have gotten NNC approval for Ebikes or PAB to ride the Ottawa Area Bike Trails povided we travel the 20km/hr speed limit.

Keep up the good work, and you have Our support in Ottawa
Charles Jonah