Are Electric Bikes Legal In Canada?

Dale C

Member
In Canada, other than speeding through a school zone, it requires a great deal of effort to attract the attention of the police. Nobody drives the speed limit. Bylaw officers only hand out parking tickets, never seen them doing anything else. Border guards only care about guns and agricultural products. I purchase a fishing licence every year but no one has ever checked. Nobody cares about your ebike, The ONLY crime you you may run afoul of is drinking in a public space, for that you will receive a fine, but only if you go all second amendment on your right to drink. There will be no court appearance or arrest even for smoking weed in public. No one will enforce an ebike ordinance. Just leave your guns at home, you will not need them. If 10 people see you with a gun at least 14 of us will call the police. Even then no one will check your ebike. Stay healthy, looking forward to the border opening again. Come visit us soon
 
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When I recently decided to pursue a small portable e-bike for me and my gf to explore the gulf islands with, I thought the biggest hurdle was getting a bike with the specs I wanted for the right price. It never occurred to me that the bike in question might be illegal :oops:

I live in Burnaby, BC, and with a major pedestrian path running behind our building, I've witnessed plenty of different motorized bikes. I've seen several of these motorcycles/ebikes that are mentioned here: https://electricbikereview.com/foru...or-operating-without-licence-insurance.33566/

I've also seen/heard this one guy with an annoying gas-powered bicycle on more than one occasion. And of course I've seen electric e-bikes. But I never really paid attention to whether the rider was constantly pedaling them or not.

The bike I've had my eye on for the last few weeks is the Fiido L2: https://www.amazon.ca/FIIDO-Folding-Aluminum-Electric-Lithium-Ion/dp/B086MYC1GN

It has a max speed of 25 KM/H, a 350W motor, etc. When I looked up the actual BC laws last night, I found the L2 checked all the right boxes, except for one. It is not pedal-assist only, and the motor won't necessarily disengage if I stop pedaling. Mind you, it will disengage if I squeeze the brakes or take my finger off the throttle, and in my view that should be more than enough to satisfy safety requirements. But it's not really up to me.

Up til a few months ago you could still order that bike on Amazon.ca, but they went out of stock and the company removed them from their website for some reason. You can still get them via resellers shipped to the US, and that's what I intended to do in a few months. So am I missing something here in regards to the e-bike laws? And if the laws do indeed ban this harmless machine, do I need to worry about enforcement? I saw a comment from the owner of one of those gas-assisted bicycles who got clobbered by the police, fined up to his neck, and slapped with a higher insurance rate for "driving a motor vehicle without insurance".

As mentioned, the L2 only goes 25 KM/H. I could pedal a conventional bike faster than that. And it's obviously not a 300 pound scooter or anything. These rules don't make any sense. To me, an e-bike that I have to pedal constantly is about as useful as a conventional bike with a gold-plated seat. It would wind up as a parkade queen alongside my conventional bike.
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
That guy with the gas powered device was way too obvious in the way that he was flaunting the rules. But you do live in one of the most NIMBY'ist places I know. It's not Saanich level yet, but give it some time.

I'm pretty sure there are a number of other members, who actually live in LML, who'll pipe in with their views and experiences, but e-bikes weren't allowed on pathways here in Calgary until a few years ago. I've been on those paths on an ebike since 2011, and have never been hassled. My old bike was class 2, and so was my wife's when she could still ride. She rode "throttle" only quite a bit of the time due to medical condition, and the only comment she ever got was "nice bike".

Long winded response, but bottom line IMHO, don't sweat it. Sheer numbers will likely prevail, or at least I hope so. The numbers of e-bikes vs the numbers of other idiots, including spandex clad speed demons, who will hopefully attract all the attention.

Best of luck in getting the e-bike you want, and the ability to enjoy it the way you intend to.
 

MMC

Active Member
Although Toronto wrote those bylaws enforcement is zero. Cops have better things to spend time on. I ride Toronto paths almost every day no issues. If your stupid and run someone over then I am sure they will use those bylaws against you. Otherwise nobody cares.
Twice a year the Metro Toronto Police run a Bike Week awareness blitz. If you live in Toronto you will know about the Toronto Blitz's as they are always advertised on CITY-TV and on the radio news.
While many of them do foot patrols on the Martin Goodman Trail to help answers kids questions about safety the blitz week is also a way for the Toronto Police to use the blitz as an excuse for a cash grab. No bicycle bell tickets are the most common infraction.
For the most part, your post is correct except for those advertised blitz weeks.
 

Gbart

Member
In Ontario the Highway Traffic Act requires an ebike (Power Assisted Bicycle) to have “operable” pedals, max speed of 32km/h and weigh no more than 120kg. Remove the pedals or make them inoperable, or modify the controller to go faster than 32km/h and it is no longer an ebike, but becomes a motor vehicle subject to all the same requirements for licensing, insurance and equipment.

Operable pedals is rather questionable on those so-called ebikes designed to look like scooters or motorcycles but as long as the pedals can move the bike it’s ok though. In no way, shape or form could you ever ride one of these machines like a bicycle. As far as I’m concerned these machines are not Power Assisted Bicycles but rather Pedal Assisted Motorcycles.

In our Region it is the scooter or motorcycle style ebikes that attract the most attention from law enforcement and are regularly checked for compliance. A regular looking bicycle type ebike that you pedal like any other bicycle is unlikely to attract much attention unless you are doing something crazy.

Regardless of whether you ride powered or analog just ride responsibly and with consideration for other road and trail users and you should be fine.
 
The more research I do, the less concerned I am. That Fiido L2 might theoretically violate BC's laws (it's still not clear) but I can't find any real functional difference between it and the multitudes of other ebikes that are freely sold around here. I guess I won't worry about it.