E-bikes were introduced to Ontario around 2009 as an inexpensive, zero emission alternative for transportation around town.
The incidents of injury caused by e-bike collisions are on the rise in the Province, but the exact size of the problem is unknown because collision statistics are not recorded by the government.
However, one reason why E-bike collisions could be on the rise could be from owners modifying their bikes to go faster than legally allowed.
An e-bike can weigh up to 265 lb and legally travel at speeds up to 32 kph. when modified, these bikes can travel up to 90 km/h.
As seen in this exclusive ONNTV / FirstLocalNews video, our vehicle is travelling at around 40 km/h but you can see that the e-bike in front of our vehicle is moving a lot faster.
For clarification purposes, an electric motorcycle falls under the Highway Traffic Act while E-bikes have pedals (that can be used or not) and are exempt from the act.
We asked Sault Ste. Marie Police Services for some clarity on the rules and regulations surrounding E-bikes. “If an e-bike is stopped exceeding that limit the operator will lost exemptions under the HTA.” said , Lincoln Louttit , corporate communications for Sault Ste. Marie Police Service
“Under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) e-bikes are classified as bicycles, therefore the operator does not need a valid licence, insurance or a helmet.” Louttit said.
A person who has been charged with driving over the legal limit in Ontario can opt to get an E-bike and drive on the roads legally – as long as they aren’t driving over the speed limit of 32 kph.
“If an operator is found to be violating the speed limit, they will need to produce a valid licence, insurance and comply with all safety measures.” Louttit said.
Unlike motor vehicles or motorcycles, e-bike operators are not required to have any special documentation or training to operate.
E-bikes could soon be followed by Urban Mobility Vehicles (UMVs). These three wheeled electric vehicles are currently in a test pilot project in Ontario. Certain cities have allowed the vehicles to be driven on city roads. They are forbidden to travel on Provincial highways. The province defines a UMV as a “small, compact, enclosed, three-wheeled, slow-moving electric vehicle.” It has a maximum speed of 32 km/h and typically only has one seat. The vehicles would also be exempt under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.
The Ministry of Transportation has been piloting various micromobility vehicles since 2005. The vehicles being piloted include scooters, golf cars, cargo e-bikes and large quadricycles.
The goal of introducing micromobilty vehicles is to create a greener environment to help with climate change and making it more affordable for those who can not afford the costs associated with traditional motor vehicles.