The Hawkesbury Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) regularly receives questions about the rules around the use of e-bikes.
The following outlines the rules and regulation about e-bike usage.
Since October 3, 2009, electric bikes (both those resembling conventional bicycles and those resembling motor scooters) have been permanently allowed on roads and highways in Ontario 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 applies to cyclists, with some exceptions.
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.
- 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 in good working order.
Similar to bicycles and mopeds, power-assisted bicycles are prohibited from use on certain provincially controlled 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 nine 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.
- The battery and motor, must be securely fastened to the bicycle to prevent them from moving while the bicycle is in motion.
- The federal requirements for e-bikes motor output and speed are 500W or not faster than 32 km/h. Any modifications made that would allow the e-bike to exceed these requirements are not permitted.
- Must meet the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle.
- 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.
- 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.
More information on operating an ebike in the Province of Ontario can be found at the Ministry of Transportation’s website.