E bike Laws and Rules Canada and Globally

Electric bicycles are allowed in eight provinces of Canada. In all eight provinces, electric bicycles are limited to a power of 500 watts and cannot travel at a speed of more than 32 km/h (20 mph) on motor power alone on level ground. In Alberta, up until July 1, 2009, the limits were 750 watts and 35 km/h (22 mph), but now conform to federal legislation. Age restrictions vary across Canada. All require an approved helmet. The rules may or may not require a lockout to prevent the use of power when the rider is not pedaling. Some versions (for example, if they can operate without pedaling) of electric bicycles require a driver's license in some provinces and have age restrictions. Car license and liability insurance are not required. They are typically considered vehicles (e.g., motorcycles and pedal bicycles) and thus the same rules of the road apply to conventional bicycles. In some cases, regulatory requirements have been complicated by lobbying in regard to the Segway PT.

Bicycles with gasoline engines or other fuels are regulated differently than electric bicycles. They are classified as motorcycles regardless of engine output power and maximum attainable speed.

Note that in Canada, the term "power-assisted bicycle" is the technical term for an electric bicycle and "power-assisted" is used in the Canadian Federal Legislation, but is carefully defined as applying only to electric motor-driven, and specifically excludes internal combustion engines (though this is not the case in the United States).

Federal Laws for E bikes 

Since 2000, the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations of Canada (MVSR) have defined Power-Assisted Bicycles (PAB) as a separate category that does not require a license for operation. Currently, a PAB is defined as a two- or three-wheeled bicycle equipped with a handlebar and operable pedals, with an attached electric motor of 500 watts or less and a maximum speed of 32 km/h from the motor on level ground. Other requirements include a permanently affixed manufacturer's label in a conspicuous location stating that the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle as per the regulatory requirements applicable at the time of manufacture. All power-assisted bicycles must use an electric motor for auxiliary propulsion.

Power-assisted bicycles can be freely imported and exported within Canada without the same restrictions imposed on cars or mopeds. According to federal law, the use of power-assisted bicycles may be prohibited by local municipalities on certain roads, lanes, trails, or paths.

PAB bicycles are permitted on the Capital Pathway network of the National Capital Commission (NCC), but scooter-style PABs are prohibited. All PABs (bicycles and scooters) are allowed on the designated bicycle lanes of the NCC. On the natural trails of Gatineau Park, any road bicycles are prohibited. 

Alberta E bike Laws

Alberta defines electric bicycles as "power-assisted bicycles" and aligns with the federal requirements of a “power-assisted bicycle” definition in MVSR CRC, c 1038 s. 2. The motor power must not exceed 500 watts (0.671 horsepower), and electric bicycles cannot travel faster than 32 km/h (20 mph). Fully operable pedals are required. No driver's license, insurance, or vehicle registration is needed. Operators must be at least 12 years old. All operators must wear a motorcycle helmet meeting the standards set in AR 122/2009 s 112 (2). A passenger is only allowed if the electric bicycle is equipped with a seat designed for this passenger.

Additional bikes rules in Alberta

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British Columbia E bike Laws

An electric bicycle is defined as a “motor-assisted cycle” (MAC) in British Columbia, which is different from electric mopeds and scooters that are “limited-speed motorcycles.” Motor-assisted cycles must: have an electric motor of no more than 500 watts; have fully functioning pedals; not be capable of propelling the device at a speed greater than 32 km/h [19.9 mph]. The motor must disengage when (a) the operator stops pedaling, (b) the throttle controller is released, OR (c) a brake is applied. Driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance are not required. The rider must be at least 16 years old, and must wear a bicycle helmet.

Electric bicycles in British Columbia must comply with all standards set forth in the Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation, B.C. Reg 151/2002.

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Ontario E bike Laws

Ontario is one of the last provinces in Canada to move towards the legalization of power-assisted bicycles (PAB) for road use, although they were defined at the federal level and legalized in Canada since the beginning of 2001. In November 2005, "Bill 169" received royal assent, allowing the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to place any vehicle on the road. On October 4, 2006, Ontario's Minister of Transportation Donna Cansfield announced a pilot project allowing PABs that meet federal standards to operate on the roads. PAB riders must adhere to the rules and regulations of regular bicycles, wear an approved bicycle helmet, and be at least 16 years old. There remain a number of legal considerations for any bicycle use in Ontario.

On October 5, 2009, the Government of Ontario enacted laws regulating the use of electric bicycles in the province. Electric bicycles, which can reach a speed of up to 32 kilometers per hour, can travel on the road with cars, pedestrians, and other vehicles throughout the province. The new rules limit the maximum weight of an electric bicycle to 120 kilograms, require a maximum braking distance of nine meters, and prohibit any motor modifications to the bicycle that could create a speed of more than 32 kilometers per hour. Additionally, riders must be at least 16 years old, wear approved bicycle or motorcycle helmets, and adhere to the same road rules as bicyclists. Municipal legislation also explicitly allows the restriction of electronic bicycles on streets, bike lanes, and trails, as well as limiting the use of certain types of electronic bicycles (e.g., prohibiting the use of scooter-style electric bicycles on bike lanes). Electric bicycles are not allowed on highways, the 400-series highways, and other places where bicycles are prohibited. Riding an electric bicycle under the age of 16 or on an electric bicycle without an approved helmet are new offenses in legislation, carrying fines of between $60 to $500. Electric bicycle drivers are subject to the same fines as other cyclists for all other traffic offenses.

Adittional regulations about bikes you can find here.

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Manitoba E bike Laws

Electric bicycles are allowed in Manitoba under certain conditions. The bicycle must not be constructed so that more than three wheels touch the ground, the engine must cease to provide propelling force if the bicycle's speed for any reason exceeds 32 km/h, the engine must be less than 500W, it must have operable pedals, if it is throttle-activated, the engine immediately ceases to provide propelling force to the vehicle when the rider activates the brake, and if the rider engages it by applying muscle power to the pedals, the engine immediately ceases to provide propelling force to the vehicle when the rider ceases to apply muscle power. The bicycle must also have a mechanism to turn the electric motor on and off that can be operated by the rider, and if the vehicle has a throttle, separate from the throttle, or a mechanism that prevents the motor from being engaged until the vehicle is traveling at a speed of 3 km/h or more. You must also be at least 14 years old to operate an electric bicycle. All other Manitoba laws concerning bicycle riding also apply.

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New Brunswick E bike Laws

For it to be usable on the road, it needs wheel rims more than 9 inches, a headlight for nighttime, and a seat at a height of no less than 27 inches from the ground.

New Brunswick's policy regarding motor-driven cycles and electric bicycles

The Registrar permits the registration of a motor-driven cycle if it complies with Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) as a limited-speed motorcycle or scooter, as is done with gasoline-powered bicycles. If the vehicle was manufactured after 1988, it will have a compliance label affirming that it meets these standards. All requirements applicable to motorcycle operators will apply to the operator.

If the vehicle can be human-powered and has an engine of 500W or less, and the engine cannot assist when the vehicle is moving at a speed of more than 32 km/h, then it may be considered a bicycle, and all requirements applicable to bicyclists apply.

It is important to note that if the vehicle has an electric motor of more than 500W and is capable of propelling it at a speed of more than 32 km/h, and it does not have a CMVSS compliance label, it cannot be registered unless the owner can prove, by having the vehicle certified by an engineer, that it is safe for operation on NB highways. Additionally, not all vehicles are suitable for operation on NB highways, and it may turn out that the vehicle in question may not be a motorcycle or bicycle and cannot be operated on the highway at all.

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Newfoundland and Labrador E bike Laws

Electric bicycles must be equipped with a red rear lamp, a reflector, and a white front lamp. Riders over the age of 18 do not require a license or registration, but riders aged 14 to 17 require official permission to operate a scooter, electric bicycle, or moped. 

You can find additional rules on official website.

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Nova Scotia E bike Laws

In Nova Scotia, power-assisted bicycles are treated similarly to standard pedal bicycles. The Motor Vehicle Act of Nova Scotia defines a power-assisted bicycle as a bicycle with an electric motor of 500 watts or less, with two wheels (one of which is at least 350 mm) or four wheels (two of which are at least 350 mm). On Nova Scotia roads, PABs are allowed provided that you wear an approved bicycle helmet with the chin strap securely fastened. They are not required to meet the conditions defined in the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations for motorcycles (they are not classified as "motor vehicles"), but they must comply with federal regulations defining power-assisted bicycles.

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Prince Edward Island E bike Laws

They are treated as mopeds and will need to undergo an inspection as a moped. 
All main rules you can fin on official website.

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Quebec E bike Laws

In Quebec, power-assisted bicycles are often classified similarly to standard pedal bicycles. They are not required to meet the conditions defined in the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (they are not classified as "motor vehicles"), but they must comply with federal regulations defining power-assisted bicycles. The Highway Safety Code of Quebec defines a power-assisted bicycle as a bicycle (2 or 3 wheels in contact with the ground) with an electric motor of a maximum power of 500W and a maximum speed of 32 km/h, on which a compliance label is permanently affixed by the manufacturer. In Quebec province, PABs are allowed on the roads, but riders must be 14 years of age or older, and if under 18, they must have a moped or scooter license.

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Saskatchewan E bike Laws

Power-assisted bicycles are categorized into two in Saskatchewan. A power-assisted bicycle is a two- or three-wheeled bicycle wherein both pedals and motor are used simultaneously. In a power cycle, either the pedals and motor or just the motor are used. Both must have motors of 500 watts or less and cannot exceed 32 km/h (20 mph), i.e., the motor cuts out at this speed or the cycle cannot attain this speed on level ground. A power cycle must conform to the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) for a power-assisted bicycle. The power cycle requires at least a learner's driving license (class 7), and all other classes 1-5 may operate them. A power-assisted bicycle does not require a license. Helmets are mandatory for each. Under traffic laws, both are considered bicycles. Gasoline-powered bicycles or bicycles with an auxiliary motor are classified as motorcycles regardless of engine size or if using pedals and motor. Stickers identifying the bicycle's compliance with the Federal classification may be required for power cycles in some cities or municipalities.

All additional information you can check in Saskatchewan Driver's Handbook

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Variation in National and Local Laws

Laws regarding electric bicycles vary significantly between countries, and even within countries, states, and provinces may have their own specific rules. This variation adds complexity to understanding and complying with electric bicycle regulations.

Different Classifications and Terminologies: Terms such as "power-assisted bicycle" in Canada, "power-assisted cycle" in the UK, "electric pedal-assisted cycles" in the European Union, and simply "electric bicycles" are used in different regions, each potentially having different legal implications.

Two Main Types of Electric Bicycles:

  • Type 1: Electric bicycles where the motor only assists and shuts off when reaching speeds of 25 km/h or 32 km/h. These are often referred to as "pedelecs" or "electric pedal-assisted cycles."
  • Type 2: All other electric bicycles, including those that can be powered by the motor without pedaling, often controlled by a throttle.

Motor Type Irrelevance: The type of motor (whether it's a bottom bracket motor, hub motor, or friction motor) does not typically affect the classification of the electric bicycle under these laws.

Constantly Changing and Evolving Laws: The laws and regulations concerning electric bicycles are continually changing and being updated, making it crucial for users and manufacturers to stay informed about the current legal landscape.

Global Differences in Regulation: The article underscores that the same electric bicycle equipment might be subject to a variety of classifications and rules in different countries, reflecting the lack of a standardized global approach to regulating electric bicycles.

This overview highlights the importance of understanding the specific legal context of electric bicycles in your region, as the rules can vary significantly from one place to another and are subject to change.

ebike laws

Canada

  • Import and Export: Electric bicycles can be freely imported and exported within Canada without the restrictions applied to cars or mopeds.
  • Provincial Variations: Some provinces prohibit the use of electric bicycles on highways or other areas where bicycles are banned. Specific provincial requirements include:
    • Manitoba: Electric bicycles must not have more than three wheels.
    • New Brunswick: Requires wheels larger than 9 inches, a seat at least 27 inches off the ground, and a headlight.
    • Nova Scotia: Allows 2-4 wheels and mandates chin-strapped helmets.
    • Prince Edward Island: Treats electric bicycles as mopeds, requiring them to undergo moped inspections.

China

  • Classification: Electric bicycles are classified similarly to pedal bicycles, so no driving license is required under normal circumstances.
  • New Standards from 2019: These include a maximum speed of 25 km/h, a weight limit of 55 kg including the battery, a motor power limit of 400 W, and a battery voltage not exceeding 48 V.
  • License Requirement: For electric bicycles with a maximum speed of 30 km/h or more, a license is required.
  • Regional Restrictions: In some southern cities like Guangzhou, Dongguan, and Shenzhen, electric bicycles are banned in certain urban areas, similar to motorcycles. There are also restrictions in parts of Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Beijing.
  • Helmet Laws in Shanghai: From May 1, 2021, both riders and passengers must wear helmets, with fines for non-compliance.

Hong Kong

  • Independent Traffic Laws: As of 2013, electric bicycles are banned in public places and are effectively illegal. Even if legalized, a motorcycle driving license would be required.

European Union

  • Directive 2002/24/EC: Electric bicycles can have an auxiliary motor up to 250 W. The power must decrease and the motor must shut off when the bicycle reaches 25 km/h or if the rider stops pedaling.
  • Torque and Motor Types: While motor power is limited, torque is not regulated, allowing for variations in performance, especially for off-road use.
  • Throttle and Acceleration Button: Some models in Europe and the USA have an acceleration button on the handlebar for temporary power boosts, but the motor still shuts off at 25 km/h.
  • National Legislation Compliance: EU member countries must comply with national laws. The European safety standard EN 15194 was published in 2009. Directive 2002/24/EC was repealed by Regulation 168/2013 in 2016, but the section on electric bicycles remained largely unchanged.

This overview indicates the diverse and complex regulatory landscape for electric bicycles across different regions, highlighting the importance of understanding local laws and standards for users and manufacturers.

electric bicycle rules

France

  • Speed Limit: Electric bicycles are limited to 25 km/h; "speed pedelecs" (electric mopeds) to 45 km/h.
  • Regulations: Strict enforcement against illegal motor modifications to remove speed limitations.

Belgium

  • Laws from 2016 and 2017: Three types of bicycles are allowed:
    1. "E-bikes": 250 W, 25 km/h, no age or helmet requirement.
    2. "Motorized-bikes": 1000 W, 25 km/h, minimum age 16, compliance certificate required, no helmet requirement.
    3. "Speed pedelecs": 4000 W, 45 km/h, classified as mopeds with corresponding regulations.

Denmark

  • Speed and Age: Electric bicycles with assistance can go up to 45 km/h. Minimum age is 15 years, and helmets are mandatory. No license required.

Finland

  • Insurance and Registration: Electric bicycles with a throttle must be insured and registered. Motor power must not exceed 1000 W. Bicycles not requiring registration must have a motor of no more than 250 W, with a maximum speed of 25 km/h, and the motor can only assist, not replace pedaling. Helmets are mandatory on roads, and lights are required at night.

Norway, Sweden, Turkey, England

  • General Rules: Bicycles can have a motor of up to 250 W, with a maximum speed of 25 km/h. The motor can only assist, not replace pedaling.

Switzerland

  • EU Standards: Follows EU regulations for low-power electric bicycles. Simplified licensing process for electric bicycles with a maximum speed of 45 km/h.

e-bike restrictions

India

  • Regulations: Electric transport must have ARAI approval. Electric bicycles with less than 250 W power and a maximum speed of less than 30 km/h don't require certification but need an ARAI exemption certificate. No license, insurance, or helmet required.

Israel

  • Laws: Electric bicycles with assistance up to 250 W are allowed. The motor must shut off at 25 km/h. Bicycles must comply with European standards BSEN 15194 and EN15194 and be approved by the Israel Standards Institute. Other electric bicycles are considered motorcycles, requiring a license and insurance. Maximum weight for an electric bicycle is 30 kg. Riders under 18 without a car license need a special permit. Riding without a helmet, using a phone while riding, etc., are violations.

Japan

  • Classification: Bicycles with electric drive and pedals are considered human-powered bicycles, while those capable of moving without pedaling, only on electric power, are classified as mopeds.
  • Size Restrictions: Both regular and electric (two and three-wheeled) bicycles must not exceed 190 cm in length and 60 cm in width.

New Zealand

  • Regulations: Electric bicycles with assistance and motor power not exceeding 300 W don't require a license or registration. Helmets are mandatory even for motors weaker than 300 W. Electric bicycles with motors more powerful than 300 W are classified as mopeds and require a license and registration.

Philippines

  • Rules: No license or registration required for electric bicycles with pedals.

Russian Federation

  • Traffic Rules: A "bicycle" is a vehicle with at least two wheels, usually powered by human muscle energy (e.g., pedals) and may also have an electric motor with a nominal maximum power in continuous load mode not exceeding 250 W, automatically shutting off at speeds over 25 km/h. Vehicles with more powerful electric motors are not classified as bicycles and require a license.

bike law

Ukraine

  • License Requirement: A license is required for operating electric bicycles with a power of 4000 W or more.
  • Registration: No need for license plates or registration of the electric bike itself.

Thailand

  • Regulations: There are no specific restrictions on the use of electric bicycles.

Philippines

  • Registration and License: Electric scooters and electric bicycles must be registered, and their drivers must have a license.

Taiwan

  • Registration: No need to register an electric bicycle if its motor shuts off at speeds of 25 km/h.
  • Speed Limit Enforcement: Fines ranging from 900 to 1800 New Taiwan dollars for exceeding the speed limit of 25 km/h.

Kazakhstan

  • Classification: Electric bicycles are classified as mopeds. No special license is required, but driving by individuals under 16 is not permitted.
  • Traffic Rules: Allowed on roads, dedicated lanes; not allowed on sidewalks, pedestrian paths, and crosswalks.

Georgia

  • Classification: Electric bicycles are defined as mopeds.
  • Moped Regulations: Allowed from the age of 16 with a mandatory helmet. Restricted from traveling on roads without bicycle lanes or paths. Specific rules for turning and crossing apply.

Belarus

  • Regulations as of 2019: Electric bicycles are not specifically mentioned in the legislation. Likely upcoming rules: If the power exceeds 250 W, it's classified as a moped, requiring a sign, registration, and road use. Electric bicycles with a speed limit of up to 25 km/h will likely be categorized as "bicycles."

United States

  • Federal Law: Defines an electric bicycle as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with operable pedals, a maximum speed of less than 20 mph (32 km/h) with a 170-pound rider, and an electric motor of no more than 750 W.
  • State Regulations: In 13 states, electric bicycles not requiring a license are divided into three classes:
    1. Assist electric bicycles, where the motor helps pedal up to 20 mph.
    2. Electric bicycles with a throttle, reaching speeds up to 20 mph.
    3. Electric bicycles with a speedometer, capable of reaching up to 28 mph.

Conclusion

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