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Nearly five children are hit by people driving every day in Illinois while walking or biking within one block of a school.

Clarifying our position on proposed e-bike ordinance

Active Trans made a mistake the other day. We stated our support in the news media for a recently proposed Chicago e-bike ordinance, when in fact the ordinance contains a provision that we’re opposed to./

The ordinance includes several stipulations about e-bikes that we support:

  • Speeds can’t exceed 20 mph.
  • No one can operate them under the age of 16.
  • They can be used in the existing bike lanes in Chicago.

The problem we have with the proposed ordinance is that it also applies to bikes that are gas-powered.

This past November, 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack proposed a similar ordinance that did not apply to gas-powered bikes. Active Trans made the mistake of assuming that the new ordinance proposed by Waguespack and 1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno was the same as Waguespack’s earlier e-bike ordinance.

Gas-powered bikes do not belong in bike lanes because they can be noisy, they emit noxious fumes and they tend to be more powerful.

We like e-bikes because they are a cleaner alternative while providing assistance to individuals — like older people and people who are disabled — who need extra help getting around on a bicycle. In fact, we have been contacted by people with health problems who tell us that e-bikes have allowed them to continue to get around on bikes — an option they would otherwise not have.

Active Trans supports allowing people to ride e-bikes in bike lanes as long as the speeds they travel are close to the speeds of people using conventional bikes.

We have contacted Ald. Waguespack to voice our opposition to the provision for gas-powered bikes in the ordinance. Stay tuned. 

Photo courtesy of Wanderbikes.