A Year of E-Bikes!

I'm a big fan of electric bicycles (e-bikes), and I've had the opportunity to engage with e-bikes in a number of ways throughout my first year of consulting. I thought that it would be helpful to compile all of my e-bike content to date in one place, including articles, committee delegations, podcasts, and webinars.

Updates to Ontario's E-Bike Policy

The way Ontario defines and regulates e-bikes is changing, so there has been a lot of activity around e-bike policy this year.

I started by outlining my e-bike thoughts for the Ontario Good Roads Association's Milestones Magazine in an article that includes background on the policy context, and highlights from e-bike research taking place in Ontario and around the world. I also outline several policy recommendations for Ontario, including; 

  • Recognizing that different e-bikes have varying capacities, and regulating them accordingly;
  • Increasing access to e-bikes for families by removing Ontario's age requirement for passengers;
  • Harmonizing helmet laws with those for bicycles, and;
  • Improving access to e-cargo bikes by not relying on weight-based restrictions that tend to exclude them.
Read OGRA Article

When new definitions were proposed for Ontario as part of Bill 282 (also known as the MOMS Act), I delegated to the Standing Committee on General Government, and submitted feedback through the Environmental Registry process.

Although I was pleased that the Province was distinguishing between different types of e-bikes, harmonizing helmet laws, and addressing passenger age restrictions, I remain deeply concerned about the 55kg weight limit, and the made-in-Ontario e-bike types that had been developed. 

Read My Delegation

The MOMS Act, including the new e-bike definitions, received Royal Assent in June 2021, however, the definitions do not come into effect until corresponding regulations have been adopted.

As the Province works to develop e-bike regulations, I partnered with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust to host a webinar for Great Lakes Waterfront Trail partners about what these changes will mean for their communities. The webinar featured presentations from staff at the Ministry of Transportation and City of Toronto, and from e-bike enthusiast Jim Boate. The webinar was also an opportunity to share the results of a recent e-bike survey I conducted with the Trail. 

Watch the Webinar

E-Bike Adventures

Ottawa EBike and Flora bridge smaller

In addition to doing e-bike policy work, I got to ride e-bikes, and write about e-bike adventures around the world.

Starting close to home, I rented my very first e-bike and rode the Dundas Valley Loop. My dislike of cycling up hills had previously prevented me from riding any of the Great Lakes to Greenbelt Routes around Hamilton, but I smiled while climbing every hill on this 56km loop by e-bike.

Read Full Article

I also wrote about 12 e-adventures around the world, and highlighted 15 "cycling cities on the move" for the eBikes International online magazine (Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 editions). Although the pandemic has restricted travel, I certainly have a growing list of destinations to visit by e-bike, including the Rhine Cycle Route, Korean 4 Rivers Pathway and the Rum Runners Trail.

Fall 2020
Spring 2021

Additional E-Bike Projects

Screenshot of a map of the world with 15 points indicating the location of cycling rebate programs

A growing number of jurisdictions are offering rebate programs to assist with the purchase of bicycles. I've had the opportunity to track some of these programs as part of my various writing and research projects, and I thought that it might be useful to map them all in one place.

Using ArcGIS StoryMaps, I created a map that captures cycling rebate programs that are currently available around the world.

View Map

Last, but certainly not least, my first experience as a podcast guest was related to e-bikes! In January 2021, I was interviewed along with my colleague Darnel Harris about e-bikes for the Active Towns podcast.

Listen to Podcast

Thanks for reading! If you'd like to chat about e-bikes, or work together on an e-bike project, please reach out.

Jamie smiling while riding an electric bicycle on a trail in late Fall