What To Do in the Case of an E-Bike Collision
E-bikes (or electronic / motorized bikes) have grown in popularity over the past few years. However, there remains confusion on their use on public roadways. Below we delve into your legal rights as they relate to e-bikes. First, we highlight the e-bike laws as they apply in Ontario, then we highlight the steps you should take if involved in an e-bike accident.
E-Bike Laws in Ontario
The basic e-bike laws are set out in Ontario’s Power-Assisted Bicycles Regulation under the Highway Traffic Act.
These rules include:
1) All operators and passengers must be at least 16 years of age.
2) Passengers are only allowed on e-bikes designed to support passengers.
3) All operators and passengers must wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet.
4) The operator must signal an intention to turn. If the e-bike does not have electric turn signals, the operator must use proper arm signals, like a cyclist.
5) E-bikes must not exceed certain specifications, including:
– They must not weigh more than 120 kg (approximately 265 lbs; includes the weight of bike and battery).
– The motor must not be modified to produce more than 500W of power, or a speed greater than 32 km/h (approximately 20 mph).
– If the e-bike exceeds these limits, it can be treated as a motor vehicle/motorcycle under the Highway Traffic Act and different rules will apply.
6) The e-bike must be in good working order, including:
– E-bikes must have two independent braking systems that apply force to each wheel and can bring the e-bike to a full stop from maximum speed (32km/h) within 9 meters (approximately 30 feet) after they are applied.
– The battery and motor must be securely fastened to the vehicle to prevent them from moving while the e-bike is operating.
– The motor must cease immediately to propel the e-bike forward if pedaling stops, the accelerator is released, or the brakes are applied.
– The pedals must work properly. If they do not, or have been removed, the e-bike will not be considered a “power-assisted bicycle” under the Highway Traffic Act.
– For night riding (i.e. between half an hour before sunset and half an hour after sunrise), the e-bike must be equipped with rear-facing lights and reflectors on the wheels.
E-Bikes are allowed to be used on all Ontario roadways except for the 400-series highways. E-bikes are also typically prohibited from use on bike trails or paths, sidewalks, or bike lanes. It is important to be aware of signage prohibiting their use if you intend to use these routes.
About the Author
The ability to make a meaningful change in people’s lives is what attracts Kanon to injury law. For Kanon, the clients’ right to fair compensation is the pillar of his deep commitment to improving the lives of injured persons and their families. Kanon started at Bergeron Clifford as a summer student learning the ins and outs of injury law. He then completed his articles at our firm before being called to the Ontario bar in 2020.