There’s electric bikes and there’s electric bikes: Why one kind of them is making me grouchy

I have a new pet peeve as a cyclist and it’s a switch from hating on cars and inconsiderate drivers. My new least favorite vehicle is the e-bike. I especially hate them on the bike path. The other day I saw one on the bike path towing another bike (the regular sort) with a rope between them across the path. I wasn’t thrilled when I wanted to pass and couldn’t because of the rope barrier.

To be clear, these aren’t your European electric assist bikes. Regular bikes with e-assist seem like a terrific idea. I had a friend in Canberra whose father got e-assist so he could keep riding into his 70s and still cope with the hills. I have another friend, in Germany, who commutes by bike and hates arriving sweaty and e-assist made that possible. But in these cases they’re riding regular bikes and most of the time aren’t using the motor.

The ones I hate are like bloated overgrown scooters on steroids with vestigial pedals. As far as I can tell no one actually uses the pedals. They’re just there to make the thing legally a bike. As the ad for e-bikes at a shop near my house says “Ride with no license, no insurance, and no registration.” Great. I know they are better for the environment than cars and for that I’m thankful.

Here’s the Ontario governments FAQ about e-bikes.

What do you think of them?

Against: No pedals? Get out of my bike lane

For: Please, stop hating on e-bikes

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