Toronto City Council has approved a plan to allow for the continued use of cargo e-bikes. The update to the City of Toronto bylaws will also make way for a micromobility pilot for larger cargo e-bikes.
The council said in a statement that throughout the pandemic cargo e-bikes have supported businesses in meeting enormous demand for local deliveries, as well as provided a new cycling option for residents and families to get around the city.
Sustainable delivery option
Cargo e-bikes are popular among businesses and delivery agents because they are viewed as a safe, economically and environmentally sustainable alternative to delivery vehicles, and will play an important role in supporting Toronto’s economic recovery from Covid-19.
“More people than ever are shopping locally online and relying on quick and efficient delivery services to get their purchases in a timely fashion,” said mayor John Tory. “Cargo e-bikes represent a great opportunity for local businesses to meet that demand in a way that is environmentally responsible and helps reduce traffic congestion.”
In 2020, Toronto was one of the first municipalities in Ontario to approve bylaw amendments to allow for the expanded use of pedal-assisted cargo e-bikes weighing not more than 120kg on streets, bike lanes and cycle tracks in the city.
This made it possible for cars and delivery trucks to be replaced by cargo e-bikes when demand for deliveries first increased as a result of the pandemic.
In March 2021, the Province of Ontario introduced a new cargo e-bike regulation and pilot for Ontario municipalities. The provincial pilot requires that municipalities choose to opt-in and change their bylaws to allow for use of any cargo e-bike weighing over 55kg on public streets including bike lanes and cycle tracks.
As part of the provincial pilot, the City has an opportunity to potentially allow for larger cargo e-bikes weighing more than 120kg to be piloted. A pilot project with larger cargo e-bikes would allow the City to evaluate use and impacts of such e-bikes in Toronto.
Councillor Jennifer McKelvie, chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee said: “Continuing to allow cargo e-bikes on Toronto’s streets and cycling infrastructure can help reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, reduce traffic congestion, and enhance how goods are moved throughout the city.”