Power-assisted bicycles, commonly referred to as electric bikes or electric scooters, are vehicles powered by electricity that have a pedal system. They can look like a regular bicycle or more like a moped.
Although electric power-assisted bicycles do not require a driver's licence for drivers over the age of 18, certain rules apply in order to ride one legally.
Traffic rules for riders of a traditional bicycle all apply to riders of power-assisted bicycles.
However, if the power-assisted bicycle has a moveable step, the driver is not allowed on a bicycle path or lane.
In order to travel on public roads, drivers must wear a bicycle helmet. (Art. 2.1 of the Protective Helmets Regulation)
Certain rules apply in order to be able to legally ride a power-assisted bicycle. It is essentially Article 492.2 of the Highway Safety Code (HSC) that determines the rules to be followed. This Article specifies that:
(a) Have steering handlebars and is equipped with pedals
(b) Be designed to travel with no more than three wheels in contact with the ground
(c) Capable of being propelled by muscle power
(d) Has one or more electric motors that have, singly or in combination, the following characteristics:
(i) Has a total continuous power output rating, measured at the shaft of each motor, of 500 W or less
(ii) If it is engaged by the use of muscle power, power assistance immediately ceases when the muscle power ceases
(iii) If it is engaged by the use of an accelerator controller, power assistance immediately ceases when the brakes are applied, and
(iv) Incapable of providing further assistance when the bicycle attains a speed of32 km/h on level ground
(e) Bears a label that is permanently affixed by the manufacturer and appears in a conspicuous location stating, in both official languages, that the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle as defined in this subsection, and
(f) Has one of the following safety features:
(i) Enabling mechanism to turn the electric motor on and off that is separate from the accelerator controller and fitted in such a manner that it is operable by the driver, or
(ii) Mechanism that prevents the motor from being engaged before the bicycle attains a speed of 3 km/h (bicyclette assistée)
Drivers in violation of these regulations are liable for a fine of $156.