Province Approves 5 Year Cargo E-bike Trial

March 09, 2021, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer


The Province of Ontario is rolling out a cargo e-bike pilot programme. It will run from March 2021 to March 2026 and allows municipalities to choose how and where the cargo e-bikes can be used. For those who aren’t sure of what a cargo e-bike is think about the Dickie Dee ice cream bikes but with an electric assist motor to help propel the bike. Another version would be a tricycle with an enclosed cargo box on the back.


These bikes are being permitted to allow delivery or transport of larger items like packages and boxes on a cycling platform. This will allow businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and hopefully can result in lower delivery van and truck congestion in downtown cores. These cycles could also be used for personal purposes


According to the provincial website, the pilot programme will set out requirements for:

  • Helmets
  • Minimum operator age
  • Maximum size and speed

The municipalities which choose to allow these cargo e-bikes will be responsible to determine:

  • On what roadways, bike paths, parks or trails they will be allowed on
  • Where and how they may park
  • Whether insurance will be required and the type and coverage requirements
  • Establishing a public feedback system that will allow for monitoring and reporting of use
  • Municipalities must report all reported collisions involving cargo e-bikes to the province


After the pilot period, the province will gather and evaluate the information to determine if cargo e-bikes will be allowed to operate permanently province-wide. Municipalities will be required to pass by-laws to permit the use of the vehicles and establish municipal requirements for the operation.


Cargo e-bikes participating in the pilot programme must:

  • Be a traditional bike design
  • Have an electric motor with a maximum output of 1000 watts and a top speed of 32 km/h
  • Be equipped with traditional pedals to allow for manual propulsion
  • Have a cargo platform or basket to carry parcels, cargo or goods
  • They must have a steering handlebar
  • They may be no wider than 1.3 m, no longer than 4 m, and no higher than 2.2 m
  • They must have wheels between 35 mm- 350 mm
  • They must have 2 or 3 wheels, brakes, a horn or bell, a white headlight and red rear light
  • They must have reflective tape on the sides
  • They may NOT fully enclose the occupant


Drivers of the e-bikes must be:

  • 16 years of age
  • May only carry a passenger if there is a seat designed to carry one and must be manufactured as part of the vehicle
  • Helmets must be worn
  • Drivers may not be intoxicated while operating an e-bike
  • They must be operated in the bike lane or right most side of the road
  • The load must be safe
  • The Highway Traffic Act will apply to the operation of e-bikes.


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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 at 1-519-742-7774.

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