Thunder Bay Police say uneducated cyclists are putting the public in danger by driving their electric bikes on the sidewalk.

Constable Bill Pollock said someone hit by an e-bike could be badly hurt or even die.

"Pedestrians don't wear any safety equipment. Not like our kids, now, with the skateboards or bmx bikes and what not. They're wearing elbow pads, helmets, various things to try and protect themselves," he said.

"Pedestrians, we just go out for a walk and don't expect to be struck by anything. Depending on where the pedestrian gets hit, it could cause a fatal injury ... It doesn't take very much for a person to hit their head and cause severe damage."

Pollock said many e-bikers don't know the rules of the road. New owners frequently call his department, asking where they can and cannot drive.

No testing for drivers

The general manager of North Country Cycle and Sport said he recently saw an e-biker on the sidewalk who "had a big box between his legs … [and] his dog on his lap."

Randy Neufeld said he thought it was dangerous "the dog's front paws [were] on the handlebars of the e-bike and [the driver] was actually on the sidewalk, not on the road where the e-bikes normally travel."

"Maybe this gentleman doesn't know he can't drive it on the sidewalk," Neufeld added.

"Maybe nobody's told him. There's no testing or regulatory anything on them, so nobody knows and they just do what they like."

Neufeld said he had to complete a series of tests before he could drive his motorcycle and suggested e-bikers should have to do the same.