What is an e-bike?

E-bikes for road use in Ontario must have:

  • steering handlebars
  • working pedals
  • an electric motor not exceeding 500 Watts
  • a maximum speed of 32 km/h
  • a maximum weight of 120 kg

It is illegal to modify your e-bike’s motor to make it more powerful or to increase the speed of your e-bike.

What are the regulations for do e-bike riders?

You don’t need a driver’s licence, vehicle permit or licence plate to ride an e-bike, but you do need to:

  • be 16 or older
  • wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet
  • keep your e-bike in good working order

You also need to follow the same rules of the road as regular cyclists.

Where can I ride an e-bike?

You can ride your e-bike on most roads and highways where conventional bikes are permitted, with some exceptions. You can’t ride your e-bike:

  • on certain provincial controlled access highways, such as the 400 series, the Queen Elizabeth Way, the Queensway in Ottawa or the Kitchener-Waterloo Expressway.
  • on municipal roads, including sidewalks, where bicycles are banned under municipal by-laws.
  • on municipal roads, sidewalks, bike paths, bike trails or bike lanes where e-bikes are prohibited.

Can I ride an e-bike in the rain?

Yes. High quality pedelec bikes come waterproofed right from the factory. As long as you don’t submerge the whole bike (like in a lake), you won’t have a problem.

How fast can I go on an electric bike?

On road, pedelec bikes have a top assisted speed of 32 kph. Above that speed, the power assistance shuts off. However, you can use your own power to pedal the bike as fast as your legs will take you.

How far can I go on one charge?

Pedelec bike range can vary from 25 to 100 kilometres depending the size of your battery, the battery charge at the beginning of your ride, your power level setting, your weight, the weight of your cargo, the terrain, and wind. How much you pedal and which power setting you use also affect range.

Can I still ride my pedelec even if the battery is discharged?

Yes your pedelec operates the same as a regular bicycle after the battery has discharged.

How much does it cost to operate an pedelec?

Based on the current price of electricity, it typically costs 3 to 6 cents a kilometre to charge and maintain. Compare that with a car at over 30 cents a kilometre.

Will a conventional bike keep me in better shape?

Yes — but only if you use it as much as the pedelec. Many e-bike users find that the pedelecs benefit on hills and into the wind, eliminates their fear of riding and gets them out on the bike when they otherwise might not ride. Some pedelec owners are more fit because they ride more often.