Riding Impaired on an E-Bike? You Can be Charged.

September 18, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

OPP in Elliot Lake made an interesting arrest last weekend. CTV Northern Ontario reported that the OPP spotted an e-bike with two people on it, and that it was weaving down the road. When the police turned on their lights to pull the bike over the e-bike rider flipped them the finger. You can imagine that didn't end well for the bike riders. The OPP pulled them over and issued the 32-year-old driver an impaired driving charge.

E-bikes falls under the Criminal Code of Canada's definition of a motor vehicle, so drunk riders can be charged with impaired driving charges. The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario, however, doesn't classify the e-bike as a motor vehicle. Because e-bikes have pedals, they're considered bicycles.

Information from the MTO regarding e-bikes:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What safety requirements are in place for e-bikes?

To operate an e-bike on Ontario's public roads, the following vehicle safety and operator requirements are in place :

  • 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 or diameter cannot be less than 35mm/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.

Posted under Accident Benefit News, Bicycle Accidents, Car Accidents, Drunk Driving Accidents

View All Posts

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 www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.

Practice Areas

  1. Car accidents
  2. Motorcycle accidents
  3. Automobile accident benefits
  4. Catastrophic injury
  5. Brain injury
  6. Paraplegia and Quadriplegia
  7. Spinal cord injury
  8. Drunk driving accidents
  9. Concussion syndrome
  1. Wrongful death
  2. Bicycle accidents
  3. Disability insurance claims
  4. Slip and fall injury
  5. Fractures or broken bone injury
  6. Pedestrian accidents
  7. Chronic pain
  8. Truck accidents
  9. Amputation and disfigurement

Personal Injury Blog

May 21, 2019
Five Ways to Support a Survivor of Traumatic Brain Injury
May 21, 2019
Study shows that 30% of the accidents causing cerebral palsy in babies is linked to the administration of medications
May 20, 2019
What Surveillance Evidence Needs to Be Disclosed to Applicant? - 18-004555 RD v Wawanesa Insurance, 2019 CanLII 22203 (ON LAT)
May 20, 2019
Applicant fails to make case for post 104 week benefit - 17-004072 GT v. The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group, 2019 CanLII 18337 (ON LAT)
May 17, 2019
Limitation Period Extended for Applicant on Technical Grounds - 17-007716 SW v Pafco Insurance, 2019 CanLII 18324 (ON LAT)
May 16, 2019
Even Light Rain Increases Risk of Deadly Car Crash

More Personal Injury Articles » 
Review our services

Connect with us

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Youtube Google