There are eight provinces in Canada that allow electric bikes. In all the eight provinces, e-bikes are limited to 500 W output, and cannot go faster than 32 km/h (20 mph) on motor power alone on level ground.
Age restrictions vary in Canada. All require a standardized helmet. Some versions of e-bikes require drivers’ licenses in some provinces and have age restrictions.
Vehicle licenses and liability insurance are not required. Generally, they are considered vehicles (like motorcycles and pedal cycles), and are subject to the same rules as regular bicycles.
Bicycles assisted by a gasoline motor or other fuel are regulated differently from e-bikes. These are classified as motorcycles, regardless of the power output of the motor and maximum attainable speed.
Since 2000, E-bikes have been defined as a separate category which require no license to operate. E-bikes are currently defined as a two wheeled bicycle equipped with handlebars and operable pedals, an attached electric motor of 500W or less, and a maximum speed capability of 32 km/h from the motor over level ground.
Other requirements include a permanently affixed label from the manufacturer in a conspicuous location stating the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle. All e-bikes must use an electric motor for assisted propulsion.
An electric bicycle may be imported and exported freely within Canada without the same restrictions placed on auto-mobiles or a scooter. Under federal law, electric bicycles may be restricted from operation on some roads, lanes or paths by the local municipality.
In Alberta, motor output must not exceed 500 W (0.671 hp) and e-bikes cannot travel faster than 32 km/h (20 mph). Fully operable pedals are required. No driver’s license, vehicle insurance, or vehicle registration is required. Operators must be 12 years of age or older. All operators are required to wear a motorcycle helmet. A passenger is permitted only if the e-bike is equipped with a seat designated for that passenger.
An e-bike in British Columbia must have an electric motor of no more than 500 W; have fully operable pedals; not be capable of propelling the device at a speed greater than 32 km/hr [19.9 mph]. The engine must disengage when the operator stops pedaling, when an accelerator controller is released, OR when a brake is applied. A driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance are all not required. Rider must be 16 years old or more, and a bike helmet is compulsory.
This is one of the last provinces in Canada to move toward legalizing e-bikes for use on roads, even though they have been federally legal in Canada since early 2001. On October 4, 2006, the Minister of Transportation for Ontario announced the Pilot Project allowing e-bikes which meet the federal standards to operate on the road. E-bike riders must follow the rules and regulations of a regular bicycles, wear an approved bicycle helmet and be at least 16 years or older.
On October 5, 2009, the Government of Ontario brought in laws regulating electric bikes in the province. E-bikes, which can reach a speed of 32 kilometers per hour are allowed to share the road with cars, pedestrians and other traffic throughout the province.
The new rules limit the maximum weight of an e-bike to 120 kilograms, require a maximum braking distance of nine meters and prohibit any modifications to the bike’s motor that would create speeds greater than 32 kilometers per hour.
Also, riders must be at least 16 years of age, wear approved bicycle or motorcycle helmets and follow the same traffic laws as cyclists. Municipalities are also specifically permitted by the legislation to restrict where e-bikes may be used on their streets, bike lanes and trails, as well as restricting certain types of e-bike.
E-bikes are legal in Manitoba, as long as certain requirements are met. The bike must not be designed to have more than three wheels touching the ground, the motor must stop providing motive power if the bike exceeds 32km/hour for any reason, the motor must be smaller than 500W, it has to have functioning pedals, if it’s engaged by a throttle, the motor immediately stops providing the vehicle with motive power when the driver activates a brake, and if engaged by the driver applying muscle power to the pedals, the motor immediately stops providing the vehicle with motive power when the driver stops applying muscle power.
The bike must also have either a mechanism to turn the electric motor on and off that can be operated by the driver, and if the vehicle has a throttle, is separate from the throttle, or a mechanism that prevents the motor from engaging until the vehicle is traveling at 3 km/h or more. You must also be at least 14 years of age to operate an E-bike.
In New Brunswick, the electric bike must follow all federal guidelines however there are a few unique differences. Electric bicycles must not have an electric motor that is more powerful than 500 watts and cannot travel faster than 32.km/h. They also must have fully operable pedals which means the engine must disengage when the operator stops pedaling.
However, they are allowed to have an accelerator controller. The wheel rims of the electric bike must be larger than 22 cm and the seat must be at least 68 cm off the ground. Also, the driver must have a headlight if they operate it at night. All cyclist must use an approved helmet with chin strap properly adjusted and fastened under the chin, at all times while cycling on N.B. roads.
Bicycles must be equipped with an approved forward facing white color light and a rear-facing red reflector for night time use on roads. A rear-facing approved red color light may be used with the red reflector.
In Newfoundland, electric assist bike owners must follow all federal legislation. The e-bike motors cannot be more powerful than 500 watts and the e-bike’s top speed has to be maximum 32 km/h. Drivers must wear a helmet. They also must have fully operable pedals which means the engine must disengage when the operator stops pedaling. However, they are allowed to have an accelerator controller.
As with most other provinces, the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act defines a power-assisted bicycle as a bicycle with an electric motor with 500 watts or less and a maximum speed of 32km/h.
Electric bikes are permitted on trails or the road as long as you wear an approved bicycle helmet. They do not have to meet the conditions defined within the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations for a motorcycle, but they do have to comply with federal legislation that defines Power Assisted Bicycles.
Prince Edward Island
In Prince Edward Island, e-bikes are currently classified as “Motor Assisted Pedal Bicycles” and are treated similarly to mopeds. Because of their distinct classification, there are a lot of rules and regulations around them. For example, an e-bike must be registered and riders need a license. Drives also need to be at least sixteen years old and must wear a helmet.
In Quebec, electric bicycles do not have to meet the conditions defined by the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations but they do have to comply with federal regulations that define electric bicycles.
The Quebec Highway Safety Code defines a electric bicycle as a bicycle with an electric motor with a maximum power of 500 watts and a top speed of 32 km/h. They must also have a compliance label attached to identify the manufacturer.
Electric assist bikes are permitted on the road in Quebec. Riders have to be at least fourteen years old to ride an electric bicycle and if they’re under eighteen, they must have a moped or scooter license.
Electric bikes in Saskatchewan must have engines with 500 watt power or less, and must not exceed 32 km/h (20 mph). The electric bicycle does not require a license. Helmets are a must. It’s treated as a bicycle regarding the rules of the road.
Stickers identifying the electric bicycle’s compliance with the Federal classification may be required by some municipalities. Age restriction is 14 years of age or older. Must be driven in accordance with the rules of the road under The Traffic Safety Act normally applicable to a bicycle and cannot be operated in any area restricted by municipal bylaw.