OPP News Release
Noelville OPP Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Ron Campbell would like to inform the public that as of October 3rd, 2006, Ontarians could use power-assisted bicycles (also known as electric bicycles or e-bikes) on Ontario roads.
On November 21st, 2005, Bill 169, The Transportation Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005, received Royal Assent, enabling MTO to pilot test new technologies on Ontario roads including power-assisted bicycles and lo-speed vehicles.
The goal of Ontario’s pilots is to test and evaluate the operation and regulation of:
- power-assisted bicycles as conventional bicycles on Ontario roads; operators MUST BE 16 YEARS of age or older and all operators must wear an approved bicycle helmet, and
- low-speed vehicles driven by park employees who have a valid driver’s licence in a controlled, low-speed park environment
before decisions are made on how to treat these vehicles and their operators in future.
New types of vehicles and devices arrive in the marketplace everyday. The province recognizes the importance of these new market innovations as they expand mobility options for Ontarians and provide an environmentally friendly way to travel. But, it is also important to know whether these vehicles can – or cannot – legally operate on our roads. It is also important to know what safety requirements must be met. In addition to these new vehicle types, the ministry continues to receive questions about the bicycle and wheelchair use.
Many new vehicles and devices such as go-peds and limited speed vehicles and the “Human Transporters” (i.e., Segway), fall within the definition of a motor vehicle in Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA). The HTA requires motor vehicles to be registered, have licence plates, and the operator to have a valid driver’s licence and appropriate insurance. Anyone caught operating one of these vehicles/devices on Ontario’s roads without complying with these requirements could face charges for driving an unlicensed and uninsured motor vehicle.
Also, certain vehicles/devices such as go-peds and pocket bikes cannot operate on public roads in Ontario because they do not meet:
- Provincial equipment safety standards for motor vehicles, such as standards regulating lighting, braking, seat belts, etc.
- Federal standards for motor vehicles used on public roads.
The province continues to review both existing and new vehicle types to determine whether they fit into the HTA or if a new vehicle definition is required. Road safety will be a key consideration in determining which new vehicles or devices may operate on Ontario’s roads.
Before you operate a new vehicle, know what is required of you and know the law.
Vehicles that CANNOT operate on roads
Pocket bikes are meant for closed circuit use only, not roadways.
These bikes can be imported as a “restricted-use motorcycle.” However, in order to comply with the federal standards, a pocket bike would require a 17-digit vehicle identification number, reflectors and warning labels that clearly state these bikes are intended for off-road use only.
The federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) indicates that pocket bikes are not intended for use on public roads.
Electric and Motorized Scooters (Go-peds)
While these devices appear to fall within the definition of a motor vehicle under Ontario’s HTA, they do not meet the provincial equipment safety standards for on-road use.
As such, these devices may only be operated where Ontario’s HTA does NOT apply, such as on private property.
Anyone using a go-ped should contact their local municipalities for by-laws pertaining to their use on sidewalks or bike paths.
Vehicles that CAN operate on roads
Limited-Speed Motorcycles (LSM)
A limited-speed motorcycle is:
a) motorcycle that:
- can attain a rate of speed of more than 32 km/h on level ground within a distance of 1.6 km from a standing start;
- has a maximum attainable speed of 70 km/h or less;
- has a steering handlebars that are completely constrained from rotating in relation to the axle of only one wheel in contact with the ground;
- has a minimum seat height of 650 millimeters;
- has a minimum wheel rim diameter of 250 millimetres and a minimum wheelbase of 1016 millimetres;
- has a maximum engine displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less; or,
b) if the motorcycle was manufactured on, or after, September 1, 1998, it must have affixed a compliance label required under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada) that identifies the motor vehicle as a limited-speed motorcycle.
Motor-Assisted Bicycles (Mopeds)
A motor-assisted bicycle is a bicycle that:
- is fitted with pedals that are operable at all times to propel the bicycle;
- weighs not more than 55 kilograms;
- has no hand or foot operated clutch or gearbox driven by the motor and transferring power to the driven wheel;
- has a piston displacement of not more than 50 cubic centimeters; and
- does not attain a speed greater than 50 km/h on level ground within a distance or 2 km from a standing start.
Drivers of both LSM and Mopeds must hold the new restricted Class M licence for limited-speed motorcycles and mopeds.
Must wear an approved helmet.
The vehicle must be insured, registered and have a valid licence plate.
New moped drivers will be required to take road tests.
Power-Assisted/Electric Bicycles ( e-bike)
An e-bike is a bike that:
- 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 32 km/h or greater on level ground, without pedaling.)
As of October 3, 2006, the Province of Ontario began a three-year pilot project to evaluate the use of power-assisted bicycles on roads and highways where conventional bicycles are currently allowed.
The pilot is opened to Ontarians 16 years of age and older and will run for three years. For the duration of the pilot, electric bicycles will be treated as bicycles and must follow the same rules of the road as set out in the HTA that currently apply to cyclists.
Operators MUST be 16 years of age or older and ALL OPERATORS MUST WEAR an approved bicycle helmet at all times.
This information is only to be used as a guide. For more information visit the Ministry of Transportation website at: www.mto.gov.on.ca