As more people are concerned about the effect of pollution on the environment and the cost of maintaining a vehicle, they are increasingly turning to alternative modes of transportation, including electronic bicycles (e-bikes). These e-bikes look like traditional bikes but are capable of traveling at faster speeds because they have electric motors.
Before venturing out on an e-bike, you should be aware of certain safety requirements. Below, our lawyers discuss important laws and regulations surrounding these popular electronic devices.
Ontario E-Bike Laws
While you do not need a driver’s license or vehicle permit to operate an e-bike in Ontario, you must be at least 16 years old, wear an approved helmet, and keep your e-bike in good working condition. The e-bike must be equipped with steering handlebars, working pedals and a permanent manufacturer label.
Ontario law allows you to ride your e-bike on most roads and highways where traditional bikes are allowed. However, you cannot ride the bike in particular areas, such as:
- Certain access highways controlled by the province
- 400-series highways and other major provincial highways
- Municipal roads or sidewalks where they are banned
- Prohibited municipal roads, sidewalks, bike trails, bike lanes or bike paths
Rules of the Road for E-Bike Operators
E-bikes are considered power-assisted bicycles under the Highway Traffic Act, which means they can be used on city roadways. However, operators must observe a number of rules of the road, including the following:
E-bike operators must use signals in the same way as motorists to indicate their intention to turn left or right, merge or switch lanes, or come to a stop. Failing to use a proper arm signal could result in a fine.
Moving Alongside Traffic
E-bike operators must drive as close to the right of the edgeway as possible, similar to traditional bikes.
Traveling in Groups
E-bike operators must ride in a single file when traveling in a group and keep at least a one metre distance between any other e-bike rider. This distance must be increased when traveling fast downhill.
Making Left-Hand Turns
When making a left-hand turn, e-bike riders should adhere to the same principles as riders of traditional bikes. When making a left-hand turn, they should check over their shoulder for any nearby traffic and signal their turn.
Riding at Night
E-bike riders who travel half an hour before sunset or half an hour after sunrise must have rear facing lights as well as reflectors visible on the wheels. It is also important to wear brightly-coloured clothing and attach reflective sticks to the helmet to remain more visible to others while sharing the road.
Unique Dangers to E-Bike That Could Affect Your Claim
E-bikes pose certain unique dangers to others. Many e-bike riders have not received any type of special education or training on using e-bikes before taking off on these motorized vehicles that can reach high speeds. Since these devices are relatively new, there is still not enough information out there to educate riders on the road.
Different areas may even view e-bikes as motorized vehicles that must follow typical car rules while other areas may view e-bike riders more like cyclists, such as in Ontario.
It may also be difficult to receive compensation from claims involving e-bikes due to:
- Lack of licensing, permits or plates – E-bike owners are not required to have any particular license, permit or plate, so if they are involved in an accident, it may be difficult to identify them, especially if they leave from the accident scene.
- Lack of insurance – E-bike owners are not required to maintain insurance by law, so many choose not to. If they cause an accident, there may be no insurance coverage that applies to a case. Currently, several insurance companies are offering e-bike coverage via a homeowner’s policy.
Accident Victims Deserve to Be Compensated
If you were injured an e-bike accident due to negligence, you may be eligible to obtain compensation to help cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages you sustained. The dedicated Windsor bicycle accident lawyers at Greg Monforton and Partners are ready to review your claim and discuss your potential legal options at no cost to you. We do not get paid unless you win.
Contact us today at (866) 320-4770 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.