Electric bikes are a method of transportation that always seems to be in a gray area in the eyes of the laws of the road. Is it a motorcycle, or a bicycle? Should they be allowed on the roads or bike lanes?
The most frequently asked question we get asked is: what are the rules and regulations for riding an electric bike, exactly?
Thankfully, we’ve done research to determine what you can and cannot do when riding an electric bike to help clear up any confusion. We will also be going over a few safety tips, as well as reasons why you should switch over to an electric bike!
To start, it’s essential to establish what qualifies as an Electric Bike Toronto first.
What exactly is an electric bike?
Electric bikes, also known as eBikes, are bicycles that are equipped with an electric motor and battery system. It is also defined by the Toronto Ministry of Transportation as such:
- Handles for steering
- Functional pedals
- A 500-watt electric motor or less
- A 120-kilogram maximum weight limit
- A permanent label from the manufacturer indicating that your eBike complies with the legal purpose of a power-assisted bicycle in both English and French.
- An effective braking system
It is prohibited to modify your electric bicycle to increase its speed or power. You could face fines if you ride over the posted limits or do not comply with these criteria.
Are eBikes legal in Toronto?
Short answer: Yes!
Long answer: The City of Toronto divides eBikes into two categories: Pedal-assisted electric bikes (aka pedelecs), and power-assisted electric bikes.
Pedal-assisted electric bikes are recognized and treated as bicycles in urban areas. They can be used in cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes, as well as roads. If your bike has wheels with a diameter of 26 inches or larger, they can even be permitted on ferries to the Toronto Islands.
On the other hand, power-assisted electric bicycles are run solely by motor power and do not require any pedaling to move. These are still allowed on roads and painted bike lanes, and must follow all the laws of Ontario regarding electric bikes.
Tips on staying safe while riding an electric bike
In order for Ebike Toronto to run smoothly and last as long as possible, it is important to learn and perform basic maintenance on your eBike:
Before using your electric bike, give it a short inspection
Check for any potential risks, dirt, or mechanical issues that could affect your trip.
Keep your battery clean
Regular and consistent cleaning will ensure that your battery always performs at its best, and will keep it from breaking down or dying prematurely.
Check tire pressure
Before each trip, ensure that your tires have enough air in them. If your tires are under or over the recommended PSI range, you can expect reduced traction, potential flat tires, and accelerated wear and tear.
Reasons you should buy an electric bike in Toronto
Living in Toronto will expose you to a great city with a rich cultural heritage. Toronto is home to the Raptors, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and even musical artists such as Drake and the Weeknd!
Exploring the city while on an electric bike is the ideal way to experience Toronto. Cycling is one of the city’s fastest expanding industries, and more and more people are picking up electric bikes as a more eco-friendly, cost-effective and healthy form of transportation.
Here are a few reasons why switching to an eBike will improve how you move through Toronto:
- A cheaper alternative!
It’s no secret that bicycles are a cheaper form of transportation compared to cars or motorcycles, and that you save a substantial amount of money in the long run!
With all payments taken into account (registration and insurance fees, required license, maintenance), the average car payment can come up to $400-$500 a month. These costs can also go up if the car is more expensive than average.
Bicycles, electric or non-electric, are monumentally less expensive by comparison. No license is required, nor do you have to pay for registration or insurance. There are also amazing rental services such as Zoomo that allow you to experience what the eBike world has to offer at a fraction of the cost.
- Take advantage of the infrastructure
Toronto is continually investing in infrastructure to make riding in the city safer for all. This comes with a host of benefits, such as decreasing traffic congestion, encouraging physical activity and promoting a cleaner city environment.
Pedal-assisted electric bikes are permitted to be used on roads, bike lanes, cycle tracks, and mixed trails. With the awareness and investment of a safe and effective cycling network growing by the day, riding an eBike in Toronto has never felt more timely!
- A lifestyle match made in heaven
Canadians are particularly spoiled with a beautiful and diverse natural landscape that stretches across North America. Ditch the car and lean into your inner explorer – experience a new way to move and commute with an electric bike!
By switching to an eBike, you not only start adopting a healthier lifestyle for your mind and body, but you actively do your part in adopting eco-friendly habits to fight against the climate crisis.
Electric bikes are completely legal in Toronto, and with the rapidly growing cycling infrastructure taking place throughout the city, there’s never been a better time to switch to a healthier and more electrified lifestyle than now!
If “Ebike Toronto” was ever in your search engine recently and are curious in learning more, be sure to check out the link above! Their team of electric bike experts are ready to guide you through their vast inventory of eBikes and accessories, and pair you with the best electric bike that fits your needs.