News / Halifax

Pedal power only as council bans motorized bicycles on Halifax parks and trails

The basic rule is if you have to pedal, you are OK.

An electric bicycle.

Staff / Getty

An electric bicycle.

Motorized bikes that don’t rely on pedal power won't be allowed on HRM's parks and trails.

Halifax Regional Council passed a motion Tuesday to amend a municipal parks bylaw by adopting a definition for bikes from the province’s motor vehicle act.

“What we are suggesting is that electric assist bicycles will be allowed. The easy way to distinguish between electric assist and electric bicycle is with electric assist you have to pedal,” explained HRM parks manager Ray Walsh.

“It doesn’t have a throttle so you can’t run it solely on electric power.”

The motion came about in July, 2016 after former Coun. Linda Mosher told council she was receiving complaints about motorized vehicles and motorized bikes traveling on the Chain of Lakes Trail.

At the time, councillors asked the report to consider municipal parks bylaw amendments to distinguish between different types of motorized bicycles.

“They're loud, they’re noisy and most of them are two-stroke engines so there’s some pollution as well,” Walsh told councillors on Tuesday.

“It kind of takes away from the serenity and overall general quietness of the park while you’re there.”

During Tuesday’s discussion, Coun. Waye Mason said the combination of speed and mass of electric bicycles could also be dangerous.

“The technology is advancing where we’re going to see very large vehicles moving quickly where potentially the combination of that vehicle hitting a pedestrian at 20, 30 km/h could be quite damaging,” he said.

Walsh told council the amendment would be “part of a larger parks bylaw preview.”

“As of right now we like the electric assist option for transportation and just general physical activity in the parks and those trails,” he said.

Walsh said they plan to clearly establish what will, and won’t, be allowed in HRM parks and on its trails. That will include everything from electric and motorized bikes to hover boards and segways.

Those with mobility issues who rely on devices like motorized scooters won’t be impacted.

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