An electric bike, or motor-assisted cycle, is a two- or three-wheeled cycle with a seat, pedals and an electric motor or motors (power output not exceeding 500 watts in total). A motor assisted cycle (MAC) cannot be gas-powered.
Cycles without attached pedals
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.
Rules of the road
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.
Different rules for electric bikes and mopeds/scooters
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.
For more information please consult the definition of a "motor assisted cycle" in Motor Vehicle Act, section 1 and refer to the Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation.
Combine bicycle pedal power with electric motor assistance.
To qualify, must be a Motor Assisted Cycle as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act and meet
Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation criteria.
Are low-powered motorcycles (that is, mopeds and scooters). LSMs rely on motor power and are generally not equipped with bicycle-style pedals.
To qualify, must be a Limited Speed Motorcycle as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.
|Electric motor or motors (power output not exceeding 500 watts in total)|
|Gas engine 50 cc or less
electric motor less than 1,500 watts.
|32 km/h on level ground.||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.|
|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.|
|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.
|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.|