It seems like the Wild West out there on our sidewalks sometimes, and before someone gets seriously injured or worse, we need to get our sidewalks in order. In conjunction with Share the Road and Bicycle Friendly Communities, the local bicycle and e-bike shops, the local cycling clubs, police and bylaw officers, I would like to develop and put into action a Safe Sidewalks Campaign. We need a city-wide effort to get bicycles and e-bikes
(Currently, the province recognizes e-bikes as “motorized bicycles that can look like conventional bicycles (pedelecs), scooters and limited-speed motorcycles.” This is a wide definition and does not acknowledge the variations in performance between all these different vehicles.)
off of the sidewalks and sharing the road safely. My plan would include, guidelines as to where mobility scooters should be, allow for children to be cycling on the sidewalk, and also would include free courses for cyclists and e-bike drivers, so that they are familiar with how to safely share the road. We have started a good network of paved pathways throughout the City but they are not interconnected and although we have some bike lanes, they too are not interconnected, so a comprehensive plan to connect the pathways and create a network of bike lanes throughout the City would also be an important part of the process to ensure safety for all types of traffic in Niagara Falls.
E-bikes present a real opportunity for cycling in Ontario, with several studies indicating that people are more likely to replace a car trip with an e-bike trip than they are to replace a car trip with a traditional bicycle. As we work to make our roads safer and more efficient at moving people, this is great news and could see more Ontarians out of cars and riding bikes.
The Province does grant municipalities the ability to regulate where e-bikes may travel on roads, paths and other property under their jurisdiction, and I feel we really need to address this here in Niagara Falls, for everyone’s safety.