With the onset of the milder weather, many residents will be looking at alternate means of transportation for both exercise and commuting purposes.
In recent years, the use of electronic bicycles, or e-bikes, has become more common across our region. E-bikes are motorized bicycles that can look like conventional bicycles, scooters or limited-speed motorcycles. Its important for riders to know the rules surrounding these vehicles before heading out.
In order to operate an e-bike, you don't need a driver's licence, vehicle permit or licence plate, but you must be at least 16-years-old, wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet and keep your e-bike in good working order. You also need to follow the same rules of the road as regular cyclists.
You can ride your e-bike on most roads and highways where conventional bikes are permitted, with some exceptions. You cannot ride your e-bike on 400 series highways, sidewalks, bike paths, bike trails or bike lanes where bicycles or e-bikes are prohibited.
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 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 nine 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.
For more information about e-bikes please visit the Ministry of Transportation website.
Two styles of e-bikes (JPG file, 93.1K bytes)