Thunder Bay's engineering division is reviewing bylaws that dictate what is and isn't allowed on sidewalks and recreation trails.

Existing regulations don't cover many kinds of transportation that are new to the market, including scooters and skateboards.

Active Transportation Co-ordinator Adam Krupper says the city wants to promote these new forms of transportation, but not at the cost of pedestrian or rider safety.

E-bike

Thunder Bay bylaws already allow e-bikes on recreation trails and in bike lanes, but not on sidewalks. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

“We want to encourage the more efficient modes of transportation that decrease the cost of maintaining roads, but we also have to make sure that everybody is safe,” he said.

Raynald Marchand, a spokesman for for the Canada Safety Council in Ottawa, says more and more cities are grappling with this issue. He says it’s important for to get municipal regulations right the first time.

“For example, here in Ottawa, where originally the Capital Commission had said the e-bikes and electric bikes can't be on the bicycle paths, and then it was changed and said 'yes they can,' and it created confusion,” Marchand said.

Krupper said the city’s engineering division is talking to other municipalities in Ontario and across Canada to find out how they’ve addressed the issue. It’s also consulting with police and businesses that sell electric vehicles.

“You certainly don't want to be modifying the bylaw every time a new vehicle comes out,” Krupper said.