Electric “power-assisted” bicycles in Ontario law

E-bikes are bicycles with a battery to “power-assist” the rider.  They are sold everywhere now.  Also on the scene are E-scooters, basically a scooter type vehicle with little pedals to comply with the power-assist laws.  However it’s unclear if these larger heavier bikes are legal now that the pilot project ended on April 23rd 2009.  I’ve emailed MTO for an update.

Canadian Tire sells E-bikes as well as the newer E-scooters.  Another E-scooter source at http://blueavenue.ca .  I’ve included my threads and letters regarding my responses to the Ministry of Transport in Ontario (MTO).

*Update*(October 4th, 2009) E-bikes finally enforced as of October 2nd.  No comment on e-scooters as yet.  http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/704294

*Update*(August 25th 2009) Proclaimed means delayed implementation after royal assent.  So Bill 126 is not yet law.  Probably until October when the pilot projects end.

*Update* (August 23rd 2009) Included the July 2 letter reply from MTO regarding the status of e-scooters.  They appear to be still under the pilot project until October 3rd 2009, while e-bikes have received royal assent amendments to the Highway Trafic Act Bill 126.  However there is a notion that “proclaimed” has delayed the implementation, which means I’ll email them again to find out what they mean.

*Update* (April 23rd 2009) Bill 126 given Royal Assent allowing power-assisted bicycles in Ontario after 3 year pilot project.  E-bikes legal, E-scooters are still unclear but widely available and in use.  Emailed MTO for clarification on E-scooters.  See comments below.

*Update* (April 2007) Electric bikes available from Canadian Tire stores. Some mountain bikes, other in a smaller foldup design. Nice.

*Update* (October 5th, 2006) Letters and replies with MTO regarding initial e-bike pilot project.
https://energyblog.wordpress.com/2006/02/01/motor-assisted-bicycle-legal-asking-mto/

Responses

  1. Super internet site. will come back:)

  2. various notes from the Ontario elaws site showing that the e-scooter is now legal in Ontario after a 3 year pilot project!

    First the news:

    Thursday April 23rd 2009: Royal Assent of Bill 126 amendments

    “””Bill 126, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act and to make consequential amendments to two amending acts / Loi modifiant le Code de la route et apportant des modifications corrélatives à deux lois modificatives.”””

    “””Miscellaneous Amendments

    The definition of “bicycle” is amended to include power-assisted bicycles, which are themselves defined. A power-assisted bicycle is a bicycle with a power assist, as defined in federal regulations, but it must still be capable of being propelled solely by muscular power. Section 38 of the Act, which prohibits persons under 16 from driving a motor-assisted bicycle, is amended to apply to power-assisted bicycles as well. Sections 62 and 64 are amended to address the requirements respecting lights, reflectors and lamps for power-assisted bicycles. New section 103.1 provides for regulations establishing additional equipment requirements and other requirements and standards for power-assisted bicycles. New section 103.1 also requires a person to wear a motorcycle helmet or bicycle helmet while driving a power-assisted bicycle. A consequential amendment is made to section 104.”””

    Notes from the Highway Act Bill 126

    “”” (2) The definition of “bicycle” in subsection 1 (1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

    “bicycle” includes a tricycle, a unicycle and a power-assisted bicycle but does not include a motor-assisted bicycle; (“bicyclette”)”””

    “”” (5) The definition of “motor vehicle” in subsection 1 (1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

    “motor vehicle” includes an automobile, a motorcycle, a motor-assisted bicycle unless otherwise indicated in this Act, and any other vehicle propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power, but does not include a street car or other motor vehicle running only upon rails, a power-assisted bicycle, a motorized snow vehicle, a traction engine, a farm tractor, a self-propelled implement of husbandry or a road-building machine; (“véhicule automobile”) “””

    “”” (7) Subsection 1 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following definition:

    “power-assisted bicycle” means a bicycle that,

    (a) is a power-assisted bicycle as defined in subsection 2 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations made under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada),

    (b) bears a label affixed by the manufacturer in compliance with the definition referred to in clause (a),

    (c) has affixed to it pedals that are operable, and

    (d) is capable of being propelled solely by muscular power; (“bicyclette assistée”) “””

    “”” 8. Section 38 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

    Minimum age to drive motor-assisted, power-assisted bicycle

    38. (1) No person under the age of 16 years shall drive or operate a motor-assisted bicycle or power-assisted bicycle on a highway.

    Same

    (2) No person who is the owner or is in possession or control of a motor-assisted bicycle or power-assisted bicycle shall permit a person who is under the age of 16 years to ride on, drive or operate the motor-assisted bicycle or power-assisted bicycle on a highway. “””

    “””103.1 (1) Every power-assisted bicycle shall have the prescribed equipment and conform to the prescribed requirements and standards.

    Helmet requirement

    (2) No person shall ride on, drive or operate a power-assisted bicycle on a highway unless the person is wearing a helmet as required by subsection 104 (1) or (2.1). “””

    “””Regulations

    (3) The Minister may make regulations,

    (a) prescribing equipment for power-assisted bicycles;

    (b) prescribing requirements and standards for power-assisted bicycles;

    (c) exempting any class of power-assisted bicycles from subsection (1) or from any provision of the regulations made under this subsection and prescribing conditions and circumstances for any such exemption.”””

  3. all above from gov website here:

    http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=2118&detailPage=bills_detail_status&Intranet=

  4. Presumeable now that the act has been passed and the amendments noted above are not dissimilar to the MTO pilot project FAQ, then the requirements are the same.

    http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/e-bike-faq.shtml

    –the maximim speed 32km/h
    –ride in bike lane only
    –treated like a bike, but must wear helmet

    “””Power-assisted bicycle (e-bike)

    * Has steering handlebars and is equipped with pedals
    * Is designed to be propelled primarily by muscular power and to travel on not more than three wheels
    * Has a motor that has a power output rating of 500W or less (note: the motor is electric, and is incapable of propelling the cycle at speed of 32km/h or greater on level ground, without pedaling.)
    * Must bear label indicating vehicle as a “Power-Assisted Bicycle”.”””

    However there is a wrinkle that has not been addressed by the legislation. The Canadian-Tire type e-bike appears fine but the e-scooter is a bit grey

    “””27. I see many vehicles that look like scooters advertised as e-bikes. Are they really e-bikes?

    The intent of the ministry’s pilot was to allow e-bikes that look and operate like conventional bikes in order to promote a safe, healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to current transportation modes.

    The ministry has become aware of scooter-style vehicles that technically meet the pilot’s e-bike definition, but not the intent, as they are not primarily operated by muscular power due to their heavy weight. Therefore, in addition to evaluating how safely the e-bike can integrate with other motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians, the emergence of the scooter-style e-bikes requires the ministry to also assess if the pilot’s original intent continues to be appropriate. The ministry will clarify its position on the original intent of the pilot when final legislation is drafted. “””

  5. Dear MTO,

    From the power-assisted bicycle FAQ: ( http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/e-bike-faq.shtml ) it’s noted that e-scooters follow the law but not the intent of the law regarding electric power assisted bicycles in Ontario.

    The pilot project is over and amendments to Bill 126 are now law to include power-assisted bicycles since Royal Assent on April 23rd. However the status of e-scooters in Ontario since this is neither noted in the law nor on the MTO site.

    Therefore what is the legal status of e-scooters in Ontario? Does MTO consider e-scooters as power-assisted bicycles?

    Thank you
    Walter

  6. Have you heard anything back?

    Do you have a few examples of scooter-style e-bikes so I know what you’re talking about? Would it be something like the ecoped city45 by chance?

    • Oh — did a bit more research, and the sections of the act pertaining to e-bikes are not yet in force, therefore we are still under the regime of the test pilot. Of course the test pilot legislation self-destructs this fall, therefore the new sections and associated regs must be brought into force by that date.

  7. Right, you got it. I did get a letter back from the MTO outlining this in fact which I’ll post later.

    E-bikes are okay but the question regarding e-scooters appears to be in quasi-acceptance until the fall. There have been no major items floated in the news though, so I suspect they’ll make an announcement.

    Feel free to bother the MTO website for a response on this point as I have. The more mail requests they have from different sources the better. 😉

    The scooters have cheap pedals to the sides but they appear quite useless given the weight of the vehicle. I’d prefer a blanket acceptance of electric powered vehicles at a fixed rate of speed etc. If we get our own versions of “Juice points” like London UK has had since 2002 though, that might alleviate the stranding of scooters if they can recharge when parked.

    Thanks for link and comments!

  8. The thing I don’t like about the new legislation is that, once it’s in place, they can make exceptions by regulation… meaning a government can make an exception “on the fly” disallowing a certain type of power-assisted bicycle (eg. e-Scooters) without consultation, announcement, etc. The can even make these changes when the house is not sitting without any debate from the opposition parties.

    That worries me when they’ve already stated that they believe a certain class of vehicles might not fit the spirit of the law.

  9. it’s within the discretion of the Minister certain parameters but it has to match the law enacted. The scooters for now seem fine I think because the marketplace is solid and its use has been responsible.

    The thing is the pedals on the scooter are useless and that gives the Ministry ire to not be specific on scooters. Any further questions just replies with the same platitudes so I guess we’ll see what happens in two months when the pilot is officially ended.

  10. Here’s the letter from the Ministry of Transportation (Ontario) that I received in July. I removed my name and used initials for the signatory to reduce Internet issues.

    Note that from my email dated on June 16, 2009 at 10:13 am (shown above) I was requesting the status of e-scooters and not e-bikes but they answered for both. Also although the Highway Traffic Act Bill 126 had royal assent on April 23rd, they state that it is not “proclaimed” in the July letter. The Legislature website however notes that there is no proclaiming step and royal assent is law. Looks like I’ll have to ask them for clarification on what they mean as this appears to be another prevarication.

    Short version: Wait until October 3rd 2009 before knowing the status of electric scooters, otherwise any e-bike that can be used similarly as a bike are just fine. It would appear that since the law is grey up until then scooters are legal as a pilot project only. Note that by my calendar October 3rd is a Saturday so probably Monday October 5th.

    Ready?

    “””Ministry of Transportation

    Safety Policy and Education Branch
    Main Floor, Building A, Roon 212
    1201 Wilson Avenue
    Downsview, Ontario
    M3M 1J8

    July 2nd 2009,

    Dear —,

    Thank you for your e-mail regarding the status of power-assisted bicycles (also known as electric or e-bikes). The Honourable Jim Bradley, Minister of Transportation, has asked me to respond on his behalf.

    Effective October 3, 2006, the Province of Ontario began a three-year pilot project to evaluate the use of power-assisted bicycles (also known as electric bikes or e-bikes) on roads and highways where conventional bicycles are currently allowed. The e-bike pilot is currently scheduled to expire October 3, 2009.

    Ontario adopted the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle, which only permits vehicles that conform to the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act regulations and that are labelled as a “power-assisted bicycle” to be eligible for the e-bike pilot.

    Transport Canada is the federal agency responsible for establishing vehicle standards and requirements for all vehicles that are manufactured or imported into Canada. Transport Canada has determined that a power-assisted bicycle is a vehicle that:
    * has sterring handlebars and pedals;
    * is capable of being propelled primarily by muscular power and to travel on not more than three wheels;
    * has one or more electric motors that have, singly or in combination, a power output rating of 500W or less and is incapable of propelling the cycle at a speed of 32km/h or greater on level ground, without pedaling; and;
    * bears a permanently affixed label by the manufacturer stating in both official languages that the vehicle conforms to the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle.

    -2-

    Bill 126, the Road Safety Act, 2009, which received royal assent on April 23, 2009, contains several items related to e-bikes. However, the Bill has not yet been proclaimed. The items in the Bill include amendments to the Highway Traffic Act definition of “bicycle” to include e-bikes. E-bikes themselves are defined to clarity that they must have operable pedals attached and must be capable of being propelled only by muscular power. The current pilot’s minimum age of 16 and the requirement that everyone operating/riding an e-bike must wear a helmet have been retained in the Bill as well as the regulation making powers that would define further e-bike operating requirements.

    The regulation-making powers may or may not impact e-bikes that resemble scooters. Safety concerns primarily associated with scooter style e-bikes (e.g.; size, weight, braking, operation, enforcement) persist and, therefore, a final decision has not yet been made.

    The ministry will be determining which additional operating and equipment requirements should be included in the regulations prior to the e-bike pilot expiry of October 3, 2009.

    The ministry’s website: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging , will also be updated, as appropriate.

    Again, thank you for your e-mail.

    Sincerely,
    BM
    Director

    C: Hon. Jim Bradley, Minister of Transportation,”””

  11. Dear MTO;

    On July 2nd 2009, I received a letter reply regarding an email I sent on e-scooters and Bill 126 having received royal assent.

    However in the letter, there was a comment that ended up confusing the point. “””Bill 126, the Road Safety Act, 2009, which received royal assent on April 23, 2009, contains several items related to e-bikes. However, the Bill has not yet been proclaimed.”””

    From the Legislature website there is no further step to become law after royal assent.

    Therefore, please indicate what you mean by the word “proclaimed” as this appears to prevaricate the royal assent from April 23rd to July 2nd? Please indicate if Bill 126 is currently as of August 23 2009 law or not? If there are further steps please indicate what those are.

    I’m lead to be confused that the Legislature website would indicate that the bill became law on April 23rd but the letter from July 2nd says it has not been “proclaimed”.

    Best Regards,
    Walter

  12. Got an email from Service Ontario with links explaining “proclaimed”. Bill 126 is unproclaimed at this point, which means royal assent is not yet law.

    glossary from ont legislature: http://tinyurl.com/mbu624

    “Proclamation

    An official public announcement; refers to the date a law comes into force set by cabinet and proclaimed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council. ”

    Here’s the big list of unproclaimed laws: http://tinyurl.com/nuctnm with “Road Safety Act, 2009” showing its status.

    It would appear then MTO is indeed waiting until October for the pilot projects to end first. If we’re lucky the current Bill 126 after October will become law for at least e-bikes.

    Otherwise the e-scooters are looking like they’ll need their own amendment. It comes down to those cheesy pedals. If they have to be able to do meaningful work then that will be a problem. If the pedal condition is removed though, then the speed and bike lane requirement would be enough.

    We’ll have to wait until October.

  13. Just the answer I was looking for. Nice.

  14. I was in a store in Ottawa looking at these things today, and the owner told me that he thought WEIGHT of the bike would be a consideration. He figured 55KG would be the cutoff of “scooter vs compliant e-bike”. I don’t know what his authority is, but it’s an interesting thought. So the smaller bikes (they have scooter styling and pedals) might just slip in…

    If that’s the case, it changes what i’d be buying! I’m not into a mountain bike with a battery on it – but that’s just me. I’m happy other people like them. I like a little more scooter styling.

  15. No, nowhere is weight either a consideration or in the law. However given that this is an electric vehicle, the lighter the total load (bike + rider, etc) the further it can travel.

    From above:

    Transport Canada is the federal agency responsible for establishing vehicle standards and requirements for all vehicles that are manufactured or imported into Canada. Transport Canada has determined that a power-assisted bicycle is a vehicle that:
    * has sterring handlebars and pedals;
    * is capable of being propelled primarily by muscular power and to travel on not more than three wheels;
    * has one or more electric motors that have, singly or in combination, a power output rating of 500W or less and is incapable of propelling the cycle at a speed of 32km/h or greater on level ground, without pedaling; and;
    * bears a permanently affixed label by the manufacturer stating in both official languages that the vehicle conforms to the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle.

    That’s it.

  16. I am pleased to see the effort being put into the E-bike program here in Ontario. If we were to follow the EU in their mainstream definitions, regulations, etc. and deviate from them (via by-laws ) when
    necessary, we would be off to a good start.
    Personally I think the PEDALEC is the way we should
    begin. (If you don’t pedal you don’t get help).

  17. our urban design isn’t bike friendly because Europe has many 6 storey or less buildings with little streets connecting them. This makes bikes an easy solution.

    Until we really incorporate the ideas of community as a building design, I think we’ll always be following someone else’s plan, not making one ourselves.

    I also hope we can be more earnest

  18. http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/704294

    Report that e-bikes are finally law. No comment on e-scooters as yet.

  19. Hey Guys,

    Does anyone Know of an online course to build a solar panel for the home? I need a course that will walk you through the process, as I am a beginner at this. I’ve seen a few courses online that look good but I would like some advice by people who have actually tried some of them.

    Thanks

  20. Note that you’re not going to build a solar panel, unless you mean passive solar system. Centennial College has various installation courses. You might try Humber as well.


%d bloggers like this: