No motorized vehicles — including electric bicycles — are allowed on pathways in Ottawa and Gatineau maintained by the National Capital Commission.
NCC spokeswoman Anne Desrosiers clarified the rule on Thursday after a CBC story about the use of larger, moped-like e-bikes on bike paths in Ottawa, which the City of Ottawa may consider banning on its pathways.
However, most of the off-road paths shared by cyclists and pedestrians in the region — more than 170 kilometres of them — are managed and maintained by the NCC, not the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau.
Desrosiers said even riders of small e-bikes very similar to regular bicycles on the NCC pathways will be stopped and warned to get off by NCC staff if they are caught. However, she said people using the pedals of such smaller e-bikes instead of the motor might not attract attention, even though any vehicle with a motor is technically not allowed.
Charles Jonah, who works for Jademark, an Ottawa company that started selling moped-style e-bikes about a year ago said he thinks the NCC policy is closed-minded.
Regular cyclists often pose a bigger hazard to other path users, Jonah argues, who went riding along an NCC pathway on his e-bike with a friend just Wednesday night.
"We were fully lit up going down at 20 kilometres (an hour). Yet there was bicycles passing us with no lights on."
He said he relies on the trails to go to and from work.
For now, riders of all kinds of electric bicycles are still allowed on all pathways and bike lanes managed by the City of Ottawa.