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Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to talk about an issue affecting everyone in Ontario: sustainable transportation.
Ontario has the safest roads in North America and our government is committed to maintaining and improving upon that record.
The McGuinty government also recognizes the importance of having a sustainable transportation system that will support the needs of today while protecting our natural environment for the future.
This means an infrastructure that supports more energy efficient forms of transportation. More alternatives to the single occupant vehicle. An infrastructure that promotes low emissions vehicles.
Power-assisted bicycles — more commonly known as electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are part of that vision.
Earlier today, I joined our government's safety partners in launching an exciting pilot to allow e-bikes, on Ontario roads, for the very first time in this province.
E-bikes work just like a regular bike, with an electric motor that goes up to 32 kilometres an hour. The motor can be used to help make riding easier.
Mr. Speaker, we're testing e-bikes because many people have told us they would like to have a safe, reliable alternative to travelling by car or standard bike. We have been told that e-bikes provide a good source of exercise for those who may need a power boost going up hills or for those who are recovering from, for example, knee surgery.
This pilot test will help ensure e-bikes can integrate safely with other road users, such as larger vehicles and pedestrians.
Under this pilot, e-bikes will be permitted to travel wherever bikes are allowed. Riders must wear a helmet and be at least 16 years old.
Mr. Speaker, our vision for a sustainable transportation system is to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce congestion on our roads. The benefits for riders include exercise, fuel efficiency, and reduced traffic congestion. If more people choose a healthier lifestyle, we all benefit.
E-bikes encourage people to leave their cars at home. Electric vehicles meet lower emission standards and help reduce pollution.
Through this pilot, we're giving people the opportunity to make healthy choices for our environment, and help us realize our vision of a sustainable transportation system.
This is an important and exciting day for Ontario. Ontarians now have more mobility choices that are environmentally friendly, and I know all members will join me in encouraging the safe use of these vehicles.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.