Toronto Police paying more attention to e-bikes

Not a pedal bike, not a scooter and definitely not a motorcycle, e-bikes seem to be causing some confusion about how this new form of transportation should be regulated.

Currently in Toronto, here are some key rules for e-bikes:

  • You have to be 16 years old to drive one
  • You can’t ride in bike lanes
  • You have to wear a helmet

But unlike scooters, e-bikes don’t require a licence or insurance.

Unfortunately for e-bike riders, I don’t think a lot of people like them. For drivers, they are slow in their lanes (they can only go a max of 32 km/h). For cyclists, it’s frustrating when they end up in your bike lanes because it’s illegal and could be dangerous.

CBC featured an interesting video on e-bikes yesterday, showing that some are completely unaware about the rules of the road. Watch it here.

For the most part, I think e-bikes are stuck in this weird place, and both cyclists and drivers are frustrated by them.

If you ride an e-bike, I’d love to hear from you and learn more about your perspective.


My bike is falling apart…

My chain keeps coming off. My gears are loose. My back brake isn’t working. And my back tire is fraying.


My back tire has been wobbly for the last few weeks. But I’ve been ignoring the wobble until a fellow cyclist rode up beside me and told me I better get my tire looked at ASAP.

So I finally took it to MEC last night. Because my tires are so friggin’ fat on my cruiser, it’s going to cost a lot to get a new one.

Now as cool as my bike looks, my grandpa bought it from Canadian Tire … i.e. it was a Canadian Tire special. The cost to fix up this bike is almost the cost he would have paid to buy it new. So I’m torn here.

I think I have three options:

Fork out the money on this bike (since it’s pretty damn special)?

My Schwinn!

My Schwinn!

Fix up my old bike? (It breaks down often too, but always cheaper to fix)

My old bike!

My old bike!

Or invest in a brand new one (like an Electra!)?

Beautiful Electra

Beautiful Electra

Tough decisions … but I need to make one soon since my current bike is fairly unsafe.

Maybe I should keep my eye out for end of summer bike sales?!

I saw a cyclist get hit by a car today

Let me start by saying the cyclist is alive. Eventually I watched him stand up and slowly walk to the police cruiser.

But he was hurt badly. And he was making a painful noise I’ll never forget.

It happened at King & Niagara. The driver, who was probably in his late teens or early 20s, was turning left on King. The cyclist was going straight south on Niagara. When he was hit, he flipped (his legs up in the air) and landed on the ground. The driver pulled over and ran to the cyclist. So did many pedestrians and the police were there within 4 minutes after the accident happened.

The driver kept saying “I didn’t see him!”, “I didn’t see him!”. And I believe the kid who looked like he just passed his G2. He likely didn’t see him. He probably wasn’t looking for a cyclist.

The thing is, the cyclist was likely riding at a very fast speed. So if he was coming south on Niagara then the driver probably thought he had enough time to turn or didn’t even think to look up the street for the cyclist.

The cyclist was wearing a helmet. If he wasn’t, I can’t imagine what kind of state he would be in. I think he landed on his shoulder and I think he’ll be spending some time at the hospital tonight. I hope he’ll be OK.

I wonder when he’ll get back on his bike? And I wonder when the young kid will feel comfortable driving again?

I don’t blame either for this accident. To help prevent it … maybe the cyclist should have slowed down when driving through a busy intersection, and the driver should always be aware of cyclists.

To me, tonight wasn’t a case of the blame game. Instead lets figure out the best way to improve our city’s biking infrastructure.

Because we can do better. Much better.

Q&A with a frustrated driver

And that driver is my mom.

Every time I’m driving with my mom in the city, she expresses her frustration about cyclists. I decided to sit down with her this weekend to discuss her take on biking in the city. Here’s what she had to say.

Q: Do you hate all cyclists … other than me?
A: No! Absolutely not. I want to understand their choices when they do not obey the rules of the road. It’s frustrating when cyclists don’t obey the rules because I do. It’s the basic stuff like stopping at stop signs. It puts them in danger and I’m the one who has to live with it if I hit them.

Q: What bothers you the most about cyclists?
A: The unpredictability of them. What I mean by that is you don’t know if it’s someone who will obey the rules. So as soon as I see a cyclist, I don’t know if it’s someone who will cut me off, run a stop sign, etc., or not. And those cyclists who do not wear helmet – I just don’t understand that. So ultimately, I’m nervous with all cyclists.

Q: How many cyclists do you think obey the rules?
Sadly, I don’t even think it’s even 50/50. From my experience, it’s more like 30/70. 30% who obey and 70% who do not.

Q: Do you think car drivers want to share the road with cyclists?
Car drivers want to share the road but when cyclists cut in front of them, or drive in between the cars, it’s scary. From the drivers perspective, I’m the person who might hit you and that’s frightening. I don’t know if some cyclists get that – the impact it will have on someone who could hit you.

Q: If there’s one thing you think would make a big difference, what would it be?
A: A respect and understanding between each other on the road.

Q: Would you ever consider riding your bike in the city?
A: Yes. And I would obey the rules of the road and wear a helmet!

Q. Would you ever consider riding on Queen St or Spadina?
A: Unlikely.

Q: Do you believe cyclists and car drivers could live in harmony?
A: Absolutely. It will just take a change in attitude on both parts.

My mom, her bike & the country roads - her favourite place to ride

My mom, her bike & the country roads – her favourite place to ride

So many bikes, so few bike posts

This is going to be a rant kind of post.

One of the most frustrating things about biking around the city is the very limited number of bike posts in some areas.

Last week I went to a concert at the Molson Amplitheatre. Now it was a Bob Dylan concert so I’m sure it draws a certain crowd, but I couldn’t believe how many bikes there were and how many bike racks there weren’t.

Here’s some *very poor quality* pictures I took, but to give you an idea of the number of bikes and what people were locking up to:

There were bikes locked to literally anything cyclists could find.

After wondering around and looking for a spot for quite a while, I ended up locking my bike to the railing by the water. I met a guy there who was also trying to lock his bike to the railing but sadly dropped his lock (with his helmet!) into the water. I helped him out by locking his bike up with mine. It actually turned out to be a crazy story because we started talking and found out he played for the same hockey team as my boyfriend! But that’s a whole other story…

All in all, it’s time for the Molson Amplitheatre to get more bike racks.

The esplanade is another area that could use some bike posts. There are literally no locking rings there and it’s such a busy area. People end up locking up to the restaurants’ patio fences. But it’s definitely not ideal for the restaurant or cyclists.

I recently found out that you can actually suggest to the city where you’d like to see new or more bicycle locking rings. Please direct bicycle locking ring requests to streetfurniture@toronto.caThis is great to know! There are quite a few locations downtown I would suggest have more locking rings, especially in areas where there are so many cyclists like Ossington and the Annex.

Are there areas in TO where you notice it’s nearly impossible to lock up?




Cyclists represent 40% of traffic

That is, on Harbord St. During peak hours.

So the city is going to do something about it. Awesome. Way to go city!

The City of Toronto is planning to upgrade Harbord St. with a ‘bi-directional cycle track design’. Meaning it could look something like this path in Vancouver:


Image courtesy of City of Toronto

But unlikely it will be that awesome.

Many big cities have bi-directional cycle paths already like New York, Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver. So we’re playing a little catch-up here but that’s just fine…

The bi-directional design will move both the east and west bound bike lanes to one side of the street. Therefore it will mean the removal of on-street parking on parts of Harbord – which I’m sure will be a pain for many.

But I’ll remain a bit selfish here and say I am thrilled about this plan. One step forward.

Last Thursday, the city organized a Public Drop-In Event to review the designs for the improved bike lane. It’s cool – they really are looking for the public’s opinion as they develop the bike lanes. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it, but, if you use Harbord, I encourage you to take a look at the current report online here.

The city hasn’t finalized the design yet. They want our input. On page 21 they show the different design considerations. What gets my fairly uninformed vote?

Montreal’s full curb separation design.

Of course I like the more expensive design which will require more construction. But this is an investment in the city’s future. And this looks the safest of all options.

Harbord already has painted separation so I can’t see how bi-directional painted separation makes it safer. To be honest, I’m usually a lot more scared of the way other cyclists ride so I don’t want one coming at me from the opposite direction without a separate from traffic. I foresee many more fights among cyclists.

The raised cycle track seems like I could easily fall off the edge… again I called this my uninformed decision so obviously look for your personal comments here.

I also came across this report on the many problems with bi-directional cycling paths. What works for Harbord is there are only a few major intersection, so turning isn’t as much of an issue. Read blog about their thoughts on uni-directional vs. bi-directional when it comes to Richmond and Adelaide.

Again my vote – Full Curb Separation. Make the investment, make it safe. Cyclists represent 40% of Harbord traffic during peak hours. And as they say in Field Of Dream, if you build it they will come. I guarantee if they put in a full curb separation bike lane – the cyclists will come!

The coolest thing is that the city wants to hear from you! So share your voice … email And please share your opinion with me too.

Why I think some biking parents are out of their minds

Something that has always bothered me are the number of parents who use bike trailers on busy downtown streets.

Is it just me or is this completely insane? While I’m sure those parents are good cyclists, I truly believe they’re putting their children at great risk.

With an average of 1,500 cyclist-vehicle collisions per year in Toronto, it’s fine to put yourself at this risk but why make your children so vulnerable? I really don’t think I even need to explain why I think it is so dangerous to use a child trailer on main streets.

Where do I think bike trailers belong?

  • biking in a park on a bike path
  • biking on country roads

Such as a scene like this – they look like good parents!

But please, if you are one of those parents that I believe are out of their minds, I want to hear from you! Let me know what I’m missing.

Also feel free to participate in the poll!