An electric bike, or motor-assisted cycle, is a two- or three-wheeled cycle with a seat, pedals and an electric motor (up to 500 watts). A motor assisted cycle (MAC) cannot be gas-powered.
Gas-powered cycles and electric cycles without attached pedals do not qualify as an electric motor-assisted cycle and will not pass a provincial motor vehicle inspection that would enable them to meet registration, licensing and insurance requirements for on-road use.
To operate a motor-assisted cycle (MAC), you must be 16 or older and wear a bicycle helmet.
You don't need a drivers licence or need to register, licence and/or insure your MAC, but you are subject to the same rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle. You also must follow bicycle safety rules.
Some motor-assisted cycles look a lot like mopeds and scooters (also known as limited-speed motorcycles—LSMs). However, the rules for operating MACs and LSMs aren't the same.
Make sure you're riding legally. Check the table below to see which rules apply to you.
Note: Motor assisted cycles must be powered by electricity. If your bicycle has a gas engine attached, it will not be considered a motor assisted cycle.
See low powered vehicles (PDF) for more information.
|Description||Combine the pedal power of bicycles with the power assistance of an electric motor.
See Section 151 of the Motor Vehicle Act: Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation
|Are low-powered motorcycles (that is, mopeds and scooters). LSMs rely on motor power and are generally not equipped with bicycle-style pedals.
|Power||Electric motor of 500 watts or less
bicycle-style pedals for manual propulsion.
|Gas engine 50 cc or less
electric motor less than 1,500 watts.
|Maximum speed||32 km/h on level ground without pedalling.||70 km/h on level ground.|
|Vehicle registration, licensing and insurance||None required. (Insurance may be available under a homeowner's policy.)||An LSM must be registered, licensed and insured as a motor vehicle.|
|Driver||No driver’s licence is needed.
You must be at least 16 years old.
|You must have a driver’s licence; however, you can not operate on a learner’s licence other than a Class 6 or 8 motorcycle learner’s licence.|
|Helmet||Must wear a bike helmet.||Must wear a motorcycle helmet.|
|Rules of the road||Subject to the same rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle, such as obeying all traffic lights and control devices.
As well, bicycle safety rules should be followed.
See Section 183 of the Motor Vehicle Act: Rights and duties of operator of cycle.
|Subject to the same rights and duties of a motor vehicle, such as obeying all traffic lights and control devices.
In some areas, highway use is restricted. For details, please contact your local police.
|Manufacturer's label||As a condition of initial sale, all commercially manufactured MACs must have a label stating that the vehicle is a “power-assisted bicycle."||As a condition of initial sale, all commercially manufactured LSMs must bear a permanently affixed compliance label. On this, or on another separate label, a statement must appear that the use of the vehicle may be restricted by provincial authorities to certain roads.|