Staff recommends Ottawa green light E-Cargo Bikes for use on streets and bike lanes

OTTAWA — The city of Ottawa hopes a new e-cargo bike pilot project will encourage delivery companies to use bikes instead of vehicles in the downtown core, as well as create new transportation options for families and tourists.

The Transportation Committee will vote Wednesday on a recommendation to create a Cargo Power-Assisted Bicycles Pilot Project, allowing the use of e-cargo bikes for personal and commercial use.

Ottawa must create its own E-Cargo Bike Bylaw following recent changes to the Highway Traffic Act, reclassifying some existing e-bikes over 55 kilometres as e-cargo bikes. Municipalities have the authority to enact a bylaw permitting the use of e-cargo bikes.

Under the plan, Ottawa would create separate e-cargo bikes bylaws for personal and commercial uses.

All e-cargo bikes will be able to use roads, on-street bike lanes, cycle tracks and segregated bike lanes. Commercial e-cargo bikes will be prohibited from using Ottawa’s multi-use pathways, while all e-cargo bikes will be banned from sidewalks.

Existing bicycle parking facilities may be used by all e-cargo bikes.

A pubic survey found 91 per cent of respondents indicated support for the use of both personal and commercial e-cargo bikes.

REDUCING TRUCK TRAFFIC IN URBAN AREAS

City staff say as a result of increased online shopping and on-demand food delivery services, the city is seeing an increase in the number of delivery vehicles on the streets.

The report notes new operational concepts have been piloted in Europe, New York, Montreal and Toronto, using e-cargo bikes to decrease truck traffic in urban settings.

“Commercial e-cargo bikes can effectively replace delivery vans in urban areas, thus providing a greener and more efficient alternative to support the same delivery demand,” said staff, noting one e-cargo bike has been found to be capable of replacing one standard delivery truck and service an area within a three to five kilometre radius of a cycling logistics centre.

Under the E-Cargo Bike Pilot Project, commercial e-cargo bikes would be required to have the company name or logo on two opposing sides of the vehicle, as well as a four-digit identifier number.

The report for the Transportation Committee says staff expect approximately 25 commercial e-cargo bikes to be operating in the downtown core within the first two years of the pilot project.

Commercial e-cargo bike operators will be allowed to apply for a short-term parking permit to use loading zones and no parking zones for 15 minutes when actively engaged in delivery activities

“Commercial e-cargo bike delivery services through accommodative parking policies and permit procedures will assist in reducing heavy vehicle traffic, greenhouse gases and will contribute to making Ottawa’s streets safer,” says staff.

E-RICKSHAWS

City staff say the pilot project would open the door to the possibility for e-pedicab/e-rickshaw uses, creating an option for residents and tourists in popular areas.

The Licensing Bylaw would be amended to add e-rickshaws, and require that a licence be obtained to operate the vehicles where passengers are being transported.

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