Tuesday, May 7, 2013

E-BIKES are Becoming Popular but Some Laws DO Apply

(DUFFERIN COUNTY, ON) E-Bikes are becoming a popular mode of transportation in the Huntsville area. These are power assisted bicycles that were brought into Canada around 2004. They are environmentally friendly, they promote fitness they are cheap to buy and they take up little space. They come in two varieties, one looks like a traditional bicycle with an electric motor built into the rear hub or mounted near the hub on the non-drive side of the frame. This one the operator must be pedalling to engage electric assist and will stop moving if operator stops pedalling. The other is a power or electric scooter; it looks like a scooter and can be pedalled only or electrically powered only.

The operator of an E-bike must comply with restrictions under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). The operator must be 16 years of age, wear a helmet (regardless of age), must have a bell, white front light and a red rear light and no modifications that allow increase of speed or power. Maximum speed of these E-bikes is 32kms/h. The driver must obey all the rules of the road, not be on sidewalks, must stop if directed by police and properly identify themselves.

The confusion does come apparent when people are driving a motor assisted bicycle (moped) and low speed motorcycles. These become motor vehicles as defined under the HTA. These are different in that they have fitted pedals but have an attached motor driven by electricity and does obtain speeds up to 50kms/h. These motor assisted bicycles the bike must have front and rear wheel brakes, the operator must be 16years of age or older, must have an approved motorcycle helmet, must have an appropriate driver's licence (i.e. M1, M2 or M or restricted M2 or M with L endorsement) must have a permit and moped plate and must have insurance, no passengers are allowed.

Criminal Code offences also apply to the E-bikes as it is considered a motor vehicle under the Criminal Code of Canada. If the driver has charges stemming from criminal activity the person is not allowed to operate an E-bike.

For any other information and clarification on power assisted bicycles or power/electric scooters please refer to Ministry of Transportation website at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/e-bike-faq.shtml.