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Electric Bicycles ("e-bikes")

Can be operated on roads in Ontario.

From October 3, 2006 to October 3, 2009, the province of Ontario conducted a three-year pilot program to test the safe integration of electric power-assisted bikes (e-bikes) on Ontario roads. Effective October 3, 2009, electric bikes (both those resembling conventional bicycles and those resembling motor scooters) are permanently allowed on roads and highways where conventional bicycles are currently permitted. They must follow the same rules of the road as set out in the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) that currently apply to cyclists, with some exceptions.ebike.jpg

In order to operate an e-bike:

  • Operators must be 16 years of age or older
  • All operators must wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet at all times

In addition: ?

  • No person who is the owner or is in possession or control of an e-bike shall permit a person who is under the age of 16 years to ride on, drive or operate the e-bike on a highway.
  • An e-bike must not be ridden on, driven or operated unless it is good working order.
  • Similar to bicycles and mopeds, power-assisted bicycles are prohibited from use on certain provincial controlled-access highways.
  • Any municipal by-law prohibiting bicycles from highways under their jurisdiction also apply to e-bikes. Municipalities may also pass by-laws specific to e-bikes that prohibit them from municipal roads, sidewalks, bike paths, bike trails, and bike lanes under their jurisdiction.

To operate an e-bike on Ontario roads, an e-bike must meet the following equipment requirements:

  •  
  • Have a maximum unladen weight of 120 kg (includes the weight of vehicle and battery).
  • Must be equipped with at least two independent braking systems that applies force to each wheel and is capable of bringing the e-bike, while being operated at a speed of 30 km/h, to a full stop within 9 metres from the point at which the brakes were applied.
  • Must have wheels with a minimum diameter and width of 350 mm and 35 mm respectively.
  • Must have all electrical terminals completely insulated or covered and, along with the battery and motor, must be securely fastened to the bicycle to prevent them from moving while the bicycle is in motion. ebike2.jpg
  • No modifications to the motor of an e-bike to permit it to exceed the federal requirements for motor output or speed for an e-bike (500W and a speed greater than 32 km/h) are allowed.
  • Must meet the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle (for the full definition, please see subsection 2(1) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which includes:
    •  
      • Has steering handlebars and is equipped with pedals;
      • Is designed to travel on not more than three wheels;
      • Has an electric motor that has a power output rating of 500W or less. (Note: the motor is electric, and is incapable of propelling the cycle at speed of 32 km/h or greater on level ground, without pedaling) and
      • Bears a permanently affixed label by the manufacturer stating in both official languages that the vehicle conforms to the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle (refer to image below).

Sample label:

THIS VEHICLE IS A POWER ASSISTED BICYCLE AND MEETS ALL THE REQUIREMENTS UNDER SECTION 2(1) OF THE CANADA MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY REGULATIONS.

CE VÉHICULE EST UNE BICYCLETTE ASSISTÉE ET RECONTRE LA NORME 2(1) DU RÈGLEMENT SUR LA SÉCURITÉ DES VÉHICULES AUTOMOBILES DU CANADA.

See also:


Frequently Asked Questions: Electric Bicycles ("e-bikes")