E-bikes are wonderful vehicles that can get you around just like a normal bike. However, they come with additional support to make it a lot easier for your body to travel large distances. But before you buy e-bikes online, you should know that although they are becoming a lot more popular, the laws surrounding them are a bit nuanced. To help you understand where you can ride an e-bike in Ontario, read this guide about the laws about e-bikes.
The Laws of Ontario
The laws that specifically mention e-bikes are relatively new and are very specific, from the exact requirements of what defines an e-bike to the limits on passengers. There is a lot that you will need to know before investing in an e-bike.
E-bike Laws That Affect You
There are a variety of laws that influence e-bikes, but only a few that you need to know as a potential owner. It is important to know about these laws because they can greatly influence your ability to use the e-bike. For example, the legal definition of an e-bike is important to determine what laws apply to the vehicle.
To start with, an e-bike must have a handlebar for steering and working pedals. It must also have a motor and you must be able to power it with your muscles, like a regular bike. It must have wheels with a width of 350mm and 35mm-wide, along with a maximum braking distance of 9 meters.
Another restraint that legally binds e-bikes is the speed limit. Ontario law states that an e-bike cannot exceed the speed of 32 km/hr. If an e-bike is over that speed limit, it will no longer count as an e-bike, but as another vehicle.
Just as it is with the speed limit, Ontario law limits the weight of an e-bike to 120 kg. Any more than that, and the bike starts to head into the territory of other vehicle definitions. This also changes what laws the vehicle falls under.
One law that can really limit how you drive your e-bike and change which bike you purchase is the laws that limit passengers. Legally, an e-bike can only carry the number of people it is meant to handle. That means that if the vehicle only has one seat, it can only carry one person.
Where You Can Ride
Now, a lot of the laws about e-bikes in Ontario relate to where you can legally drive. It is generally safe to drive anywhere that normal bikes can drive, with a few exceptions. Usually, you can also drive in bike-only lanes as well.
Limits on Pathways
There are a lot of limits to where you can go with your e-bike as well. Roads that do not allow bikes, like sidewalks, will not allow for your e-bike. You should also be careful of riding certain bike trails, as some do not allow e-bikes specifically. Several provincial-controlled access highways also prohibit the use of e-bikes, so make sure you know the laws before going on a trip.
Now, it may seem like there are a lot of places you cannot take your e-bike, but there are actually more places that you can travel than not. In fact, e-bikes are quickly becoming more popular for work commutes and daily trips. Outside of that, there are plenty of trails and areas that accommodate e-bikes for longer treks through nature.
Niagara Falls and its surrounding area is a great place to start to look for these paths. There are plenty of amazing areas and paths that you can travel to see all the area has to offer. Not only are there beautiful nature paths, but fun amusement and entertainment areas like Clifton Hills or the Botanical Gardens.
Hiawatha Mountain Trails
The Hiawatha mountains also contain many trails that you can traverse with an e-bike. With 30 km of bike trails that come in a variety of difficulties. Here, both veteran riders and those still learning the ropes should be able to find an area that suits them.
The Kivi Park area is a huge sports area that can host any number of e-bikes. There are huge numbers of trails amongst the 480+ km area. It is also active all year round, regardless of the season. The only downside to such a great area is that you will need to purchase a pass to use it. Otherwise, this mountainous area is great for all sorts of outdoor activities.
The kinsmen trail is another place that you can make a trip out to for riding an e-bike. You can find it at North Bay, Ontario along with a few other paths, like Kate Place Way. The path is only a few kilometers long, roughly 7km, but it is an amazing trip and can make for a great ride. Just mind that the area has a 20 km speed limit, even lower than the legal speed limit on e-bikes.
Kettle Lakes Provincial Park
This park is another location, near Slab Lake and Jack Pine Forest, that can provide great trips for anyone looking for some less difficult rides. The path only covers about 15 km, but the lake is great for rides and fishing as well. This is the perfect outing for you and fellow e-bikers.
Now, the one big problem that you will find in owning an e-bike is that every different Municipal is given full control over local driving laws. That means that there is no standard law set that is applicable to all of Ontario. To know where you can legally ride an e-bike, you have to learn what the local Municipals have decided for every street and area. This can become a bit of a hassle, but once you learn the rules of an area, it isn’t that bad to follow them.
At the end of the day, there are many places where you can ride an e-bike in Ontario. From local trips to the store or commuting to work, you can find a path to almost anywhere with some preparation. Not only that, but there are also numerous places you can travel to for a fun trip.