Is it an E-bike or a Motorcycle? Appearances matter

March 16, 2021, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

The provinces have been clear about the legislation of e-bikes. Ontario permits them and B.C. does too. In Ontario the rules are clear. E-Bikes:

  • Must weigh a total of no more than 120 kg
  • Must have operators at least 16 years of age
  • Helmets must be work by drivers and passengers
  • Electrical terminals have to be covered
  • They must have two prescribed braking systems
  • They have minimum and maximum wheel widths
  • They MUST have pedals
  • They must have a maximum speed of 32 km/h

E-bikes have been evolving from a basic bicycle looking vehicle with a motor hung off the frame to slick almost moped or motorcycle appearances. These motorcycle like e-bikes are now coming under increasing scrutiny in British Columbia where the Court of Appeal upheld the B.C. Supreme Court ruling that the e-bikes which look and function more like mopeds or scooters don’t meet the province’s criteria for an e-bike and therefore fall under the requirements of mopeds and scooters. As such drivers require insurance and a driver’s licence.

In this specific instance the e-bike is a Motorino SMr. Although it conforms to most of the restrictions of an e-bike (size, speed etc.) it does not have reasonable pedals. It is designed to operate almost -exclusively as a low-powered motor bike or ‘impractical bicycle’.

The owner of the e-scooter in question indicated that he had tried to apply for insurance through the ICBC but was not able to obtain any. He was charged in 2018 for operation of his e-bike without a driver’s licence and insurance. He had purchased the e-bike as an affordable environmentally friendly way to commute. He has never had a driver’s licence.

As a result of the ruling the ICBC has updated their website to show the following image and updated wording.

Critics maintain that B.C.’s legislation is out of date and that it does not address the many new electric mobility devices on the market including the e-bikes, electric ride on scooters and electric skateboards. They are pushing for revisions to the legislation to keep the roadways and sidewalks safe for everyone.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an e-bike you may be entitled to benefits. Call our personal experienced personal injury lawyers for your free initial consultation.

Posted under Accident Benefit News, Automobile Accident Benefits, Bicycle Accidents

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About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

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