20 new electric Bixi bikes buzzing on Montreal streets

Click to play video: 'Electric Bixis hit Montreal streets'
Electric Bixis hit Montreal streets
WATCH: Bike-sharing Bixi has a new way for Montrealers to get around the city. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, electric bikes are now available for riders to use as part of a pilot project – Aug 15, 2018

Bixi riders will notice a bright blue bike on racks around the city starting Wednesday.

The bike sharing service has launched a new pilot project that puts 20 new electric-assisted bikes on Montreal streets.

The bikes can reach speeds of up to 25 kilometres an hour, Bixi Montreal general manager Christian Vermette said.

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The electric assistance automatically activates when the user starts pedaling.

With the help of an integrated battery, riders will be able to cover a span of 60 kilometres.

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READ MORE: Laval launches electric bike rental service

There are certain restrictions to using the electric bikes. Riders must be at least 18 years old or hold a valid motorized scooter or Class 6D licence.

Helmets will also be mandatory for riders who use the new bikes under the highway safety code.

“This will be the responsibility of the user to bring their own helmet,” Vermette said.

Bixi will not be supplying users with helmets for the pilot project, said Vermette, adding that there are other cities who have similar services and do not rent helmets.

Avid Bixi users like Alexandre Boldizar say mandatory helmets will prevent people from using the service.

“The minute you make helmets mandatory [that] destroys the entire structure of Bixi,” Boldizar said.

“[It] ruins the freedom to hop on, hop off. It messes it up.”

Riders caught riding the new bikes without a helmet face fines of up to $100.

READ MORE: Montreal starts electric bike pilot project

Lisette Dupuis has been riding a Bixi for the last three summers to and from work. Unlike many Bixi users, Dupuis sports a white helmet.

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Dupuis says she does it for safety reasons. “I know what I’m doing, but I don’t know what the person in the car or the pedestrian is thinking,” Dupuis said.

The pilot project hopes to assess the popularity of electric bikes with Montreal Bixi users.

Bixi hopes to implement the bikes on a larger scale in the coming years, Vermette said.

The pilot project will run until Nov. 15, when the bikes will be removed from service.

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