E-bikes are bikes with an electronic motor assist. Their battery is powered by pedaling and then the power is used to assist the cyclist giving them a boost. They also allow riders to get to places farther away from home more quickly which makes them appealing.
It’s important to know that e-bikes are regulated. Make sure that if you are buying one you are aware of the rules and that you follow them. If you are in an accident with another vehicle you should contact a lawyer as you may be eligible for compensation. At Deutschmann Personal Injury and Disabliity Law we have experience in these kinds of cases.
- E-bikes must not weigh more than 120 kg (includes the weight of bike and battery).
- All operators and passengers must be at least 16 years of age.
- All operators and passengers must wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmets.
- All electrical terminals must be completely covered.
- Two independent braking systems consistent with requirements for motorcycles and motor-assisted bicycles (mopeds) 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.
- The minimum wheel width is 35mm.
- The minimum wheel diameter is 350mm.
- No modifications to the motor to allow it to exceed a power output greater than 500W and a speed greater than 32 km/h.
The battery and motor must be securely fastened to the vehicle to prevent them from moving while the e-bike is operating.
Q2: Can I remove the pedals from my e-bike?
No. If you remove the pedals from your e-bike, it is no longer considered to be an e-bike because it does not conform with the Highway Traffic Act definition of a power-assisted bicycle. Removing the pedals makes it an illegal vehicle. You could be ticketed for operating a motor vehicle without registration and insurance.
Q3: Can I modify my e-bike so it can go faster than 32 km/h?
No. Modifying your e-bike to increase its speed beyond 32 km/h will no longer qualify it as an e-bike.
Q4: My e-bike weighs more than 120 kg. Can I ride it in Ontario?
Currently, only e-bikes weighing 120 kg and under are allowed on Ontario's public roads as e-bikes. A weight greater than 120 kg will no longer qualify as an e-bike. You may then face moped or limited-speed motorcycle licensing, registration and insurance requirements.
Q5: Can I operate an e-bike if my driver's licence has been suspended?
It depends on the particular circumstances that led to your licence suspension. If your licence is suspended because of a conviction that has resulted in a driving prohibition under the Criminal Code of Canada, you cannot legally operate an e-bike.
If your driver's licence has been suspended under other circumstances, you should discuss your situation with a licensed legal practitioner before deciding to operate an e-bike.
Q6: Can I carry passengers on my e-bike?
You can carry passengers on your e-bike if it was designed for more than one person. Passengers are not allowed on a bicycle designed for one person.
You should check the manufacturer's information to see if your e-bike was designed to carry passengers.
E-bike passengers must be at least 16 years old.
Q7: What are the penalties for riding an e-bike while drunk?
Drinking and driving a motor vehicle is a Criminal Code offence and charges are laid under the Criminal Code of Canada. Under the Criminal Code, the definition of a "motor vehicle" includes an e-bike, and anyone operating an e-bike intoxicated could be charged for impaired driving. If convicted, the offender would be subject to the Criminal Code penalties, including a fine or jail time, and a driving prohibition.
Under the Highway Traffic Act, an e-bike is not classified as a motor vehicle, so penalties for impaired driving under the Act would not apply.
Q8: Can municipalities pass by-laws prohibiting e-bikes?
Yes. Municipalities have the ability to prohibit where e-bikes may travel on roads, paths, trails and other property under their jurisdiction.