All drivers on the road, no matter how big or small, should feel safe, according to Inspector Tyler Sturgeon, East Algoma Detachment Commander, and the East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
Given that electric bikes and mobility scooters are becoming more common on our roadways, OPP is reminding all motorists on the road of the following driving regulations.
To operate an e-bike on Ontario’s public roads, the following vehicle safety and operator requirements are in place:
- E-bikes must not weigh more than 120 kg (includes the weight of bike and battery)
- All operators AND passengers must be at least 16 years of age
- All operators and passengers must wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmets
- No modifications to the motor to allow it to exceed a power output greater than 500W and a speed greater than 32 km/h
E-bikes must be ridden as closely to the curb as is reasonably possible on the right side of the road when moving with traffic (approximately 1 metre away).
Pedals on an e-bike
An e-bike no longer qualifies as an e-bike if the pedals are taken off since it no longer meets the definition of a power-assisted bicycle under the Highway Traffic Act. It becomes an unlawful vehicle once the pedals are removed.
Operating an e-bike while license is under suspension
“Whether you can drive if your license has been suspended depends on the specific reasons why. You cannot legally ride an e-bike if your license has been suspended due to a conviction that has resulted in a driving prohibition under the Criminal Code of Canada.” Inspector Tyler Sturgeon, East Algoma Detachment Commander, and the East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
Operating under the influence
A criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada is being under the influence of alcohol or a drug and then operating a motor vehicle. E-bikes are considered “motor vehicles” under the Criminal Code, and anyone caught riding one while intoxicated could face charges for impaired operation. If found guilty, the perpetrator would face punishments under the Criminal Code, such as a fine or jail time and a driving prohibition.
Passengers on an e-bike:
Only e-bikes that were intended for more than one person can be used to transport passengers. A bicycle made for one person only is not permitted to carry passengers. If users are questioning whether their e-bike is capable of accommodating passengers, consult the information provided by the manufacturer. Additionally, riders of e-bikes must be at least 16 years old.
Personal mobility devices: wheelchairs and medical scooters
People whose mobility is restricted by a condition or functional impairment can use a wheelchair or scooter that can be propelled by muscular power or other sources of power. A driver’s license, registration, license plates, or auto insurance are not necessary for wheelchairs. Anyone, regardless of age, can use a wheelchair.
Motorized wheelchair users are regarded in the same manner as walkers. As a pedestrian, you are required by the Highway Traffic Act to abide by all traffic laws.
The majority of towns have adopted by-laws defining where wheelchairs may be used and where they may not.
For someone using a wheelchair or medical scooter, the sidewalk should always be the first option. When there is no wheelchair-accessible curb, return to the sidewalk at the first available opportunity. If there is no sidewalk available, users should travel along the left shoulder of the roadway facing oncoming traffic and look for a way to get onto a sidewalk safely and as soon as possible.
For more information, please visit www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/driver/electric-bicycles-faq.shtml or www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/vehicles/wheelchairs-and-medical-scooters.html