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PHOTO CAPTION: pedals on this e-moped technically qualify it as a 'e-bike', but it clearly isn't a 'bicycle.'

Do Electric Scooters, Mopeds Belong In Bicycle Lanes?

Toronto is wrestling with what to do about electric-mopeds and scooters that technically qualify as 'e-bikes,' but can, with driver and rider weigh up to 650 lbs.

Published: 17-Jan-2014

Astrid Idlewild points us to an intriguing debate in Toronto that doesn't involve Rob Ford. After about a year and a half of deliberation, the city's Transportation Services division has emerged with a definition of a "bicycle."

The civic authority's original intent was to clarify which travelers belong in the bike lane, and which don't. Evidently that's not such an easy task. Obviously human-powered bicycles belong in the lanes, but Transportation Services has recommended that small electric-powered vehicles have a place there, too [PDF]. These include so-called "pedelecs" — otherwise known as electric bicycles — as well as e-scooters.

Electric bicycles certainly make sense in a bike lane. They're the same size as bikes, require similar rider behavior, and are just as susceptible to the safety hazards of neighboring car traffic. And Transportation Services seems to have limited the scope to "power-assisted" bikes — meaning those that require some degree of pedaling to get the motor going, which keeps the "human-powered" spirit of the bike lane in place.

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