Toronto introduces policy to ban electric-assisted bikes

Written by Wendy Smith, CNN Toronto, Canada Contributors Chantal Antidounno W J and Randy Wilson and Grace Long, CNN • Updated 14th November 2018

A new bike ban policy adopted by Toronto Public Health has come under fire from city council, which is calling for a review of the strategy.

Toronto Public Health said last week it would “streamline” the policy around electric-assisted bicycles or “O2 bikes” to provide a “single zoning and scheduling tool for staff.” The city’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said at the time that the changes would apply to all regional cycling strategies, helping to improve public health, increase safe access to cycling and encourage the sharing of bikes among citizens.

The new policy will allow O2 bike rental companies and City of Toronto bikeshare programs to apply for a permit, whereby they will need to provide data about the quality and physicality of the equipment their bikes use, the maintenance they can perform and how they train staff. The companies will be required to pay $150 a year, plus GST, for a permit.

Current bylaws, which date back to 2012, are enforced by an on-site mechanic on parking enforcement teams, a measure defended by city officials.

Toronto, Canada, is a cycling mecca. In 2016, the city welcomed more than 5,000 cycle commuters on day trip alone, and more than 17,000 people per day. Here’s how the increase in cycling is impacting the city’s lifestyle and development.

According to numbers from the 2016 Census, the annual number of bike trips made to and from an O2 bike depository varies.

A CBD Route is considered the best, so that the rate of daily trips to and from the depository is the highest possible. Bikes also are allowed for as far away as 900 m from the depository.

between the depository and the hub, the most active is the EEDDER link. A trip takes roughly 40 min before the required pay-per-trip fees.

between the depository and the hub, the most active is the EEDDER link. A trip takes roughly 40 min before the required pay-per-trip fees. A TD Lightway route is described as being the most used, because there is less distance between the depository and the TD lightway hub.

According to its website, O2 Bike allows users to reserve or rent any model:

Some of the other popular rental types include the TPTO bike, which is designed for short trips by bicycles.

A RYOT bike, or Rapid Ride. It is designed for short cycling adventures, like stop-and-go trips within the city.

City of Toronto Go bicycle or Cycle-Go, which is designed for short journeys in the city.

Coffee bikes with a U-lock lock, which has a five-minute lock time to be set up.

A 100-minute bike lock time set up. A 50-minute bike lock time set up. A 35-minute bike lock time set up. A 30-minute bike lock time set up.

A 15-minute bike lock time set up. A 10-minute bike lock time set up. A 20-minute bike lock time set up.

Zero-hour discount bikes with a U-lock, with 5 minute time set up.

In a statement issued to CTV , Laura Jackson, deputy executive director for advocacy and community development at Toronto Public Health said that the current process had been cumbersome.

“We recognize that creating new ways to meet the demand for using bike sharing programs might be more beneficial to the sector, if it meant the requirement to get a permit would be less onerous for companies to handle.”

A review is now being held of the bike lift policy to determine how best to implement the O2 Bike program.

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