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Electric unicycles are gaining momentum in popularity, but technically not allowed on Ottawa roads and trails

Electric unicycles are gaining momentum in popularity, but technically not allowed on Ottawa roads and trails

Even though we’m just used to seeing electric scooters around town, can electric bicycles be the next craze on the road?

Luc Cossette travels around the city on a unique set of wheels – or wheels, singular.

“When I just slipped and walked a few feet, I was like wow! The feeling is just nothing to compare,” Cossette tells CTV News Ottawa.

He rides an electric unicycle, which is completely powered by a battery. Cossette says that a larger one can drive around 50 km / h with a range of 50 to 70 kilometers, while a newer one will reach up to 100 km range.

Cossette has been running since 2019 and takes it everywhere, even in minus 20 C.

“All year round: summer, winter. I go to work on the electric unicycle. It’s my car, my everyday car,” he said.

Riding one, attracts a lot of attention. He says he has been stopped many times by curious spectators and takes it as an opportunity to explain his hobby.

While electric scooters are allowed in Ottawa, and can even be rented during a pilot project, “electric assisted unicycles” are different.

“In both federal and provincial legislation, motorcycles have been the subject of recent amendments. The provisions of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act were amended by Bill 282, the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021, to include a new definition of motor-assisted bicycles. not to be declared in force, sets new standards for three types of assisted bicycles, all of which require two or three wheels, ”said city attorney David White in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

“As such, assisted unicycles are not authorized to the public road law under the new regulations or under previous rules.”

Cossette says he has been stopped by officers four separate times, but because they were curious and he has never received a ticket.

“They’re just curious and asking about it. Every time I leave them, they’re like ‘Wow,’ and they’ve amazed.”

He adds that he always obeys traffic laws, including complying with speed limits on multiple-use roads, and he is dressed in full protective gear.

Konstantin Gamaiunov also enjoys riding his electric unicycle and says you need to be prepared to practice.

“I learned it in about three days, it’s pretty easy. If you can ride a bike, you can ride an electric unicycle, you can learn it pretty fast.”

Gamaiunov says the exercise is worth it.

“It gives you so much enjoyment, there’s nothing to compare, you fly – you have free hands, you have free hands and lots of maneuverability.”

If you are considering buying one, be prepared to wait. Youssof El-Katerji of Ottawa-based online retailer InMotion Canada says, “Every time we get some, they sell out really fast; so now we have a backorder.”

According to him, a smaller (and slower) unit starts at around $ 600, and prices go up to around $ 4,000 for a unit that can go as fast as 70 km / h.

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