Things to note when using e-bikes and scooters on Ontario roads

By Yeung & Associates Law Professional Corp.

As summer weather warms up and gas prices rise, many people will be looking for alternative transportation options. In recent years, e-bikes and scooters have become a popular mode of transportation in Ontario. But what exactly are the laws and regulations regarding e-bikes? Where can you ride them? Do you need insurance? This article will answer these questions and provide some basic information about e-bikes.

Electric bicycle definition:

An electric bicycle/power-assisted bicycle is a bicycle equipped with a small electric motor. It must have pedals and the speed must not exceed 32 kilometers/hour. It does not require a driver’s license, license plate, or insurance.

Legal Responsibilities and Limitations:

  • Riders must be at least 16 years old, wear a helmet, and follow the rules of the road for traditional bicycles.
  • E-bikes with wheel diameters over 24 inches are prohibited from riding on sidewalks.
  • If you drink  and drive Electric bicycles may be subject to Canadian Criminal Code charges.
  • Driving on bicycle lanes and pedestrian paths is not allowed when the motor is running.

Definition of electric scooter:

A motorcycle that provides a platform for the driver’s feet is also called a speed-limited motorcycle. The weight cannot exceed 45 kilograms, the horsepower is less than 500 watts, and the maximum speed is 24 kilometers per hour.

Legal Responsibilities and Limitations:

  • Wheel diameter less than 17 inches
  • Must be over 16 years old
  • Same traffic requirements as regular vehicles
  • Requires M2-L driver’s license
  • Must be insured
  • Equipped with functioning rear and headlights
  • Helmet must be worn
  • Can only be driven on roads

Do I need to insure my e-bike?

  • Electric bikes with pedals that propel themselves through muscle power do not require insurance.

Electric bicycles do not belong to the road traffic law “motor vehicle” under the definition of “motor vehicle” and are therefore not subject to the car insurance requirements of the Act. However, if the pedals are removed, the e-bike is considered a motor vehicle.

Can I receive accident benefits and personal injury compensation after an accident?

  • Entitlement to no-fault accident benefits

In an accident involving a motor vehicle such as a car or truck, you can submit a claim to the insurance company of that motor vehicle.

These benefits will be paid by your car insurance company (if you have insurance on another vehicle) or by the insurance company of the driver who struck you. These benefits include, but are not limited to, income replacement benefits, medical and rehabilitative treatment, and nursing care benefits, depending on the nature of your injury. If the driver of the car that hit you was at fault, you may be able to claim compensation for physical and emotional pain, lost income, housekeeping expenses, and any other damages not covered by no-fault accident benefits. 

Other notes:

Since e-bikes are not required to be insured, if you operate an e-bike and cause an accident, you may be liable for the other party’s damages.

Cause and circumstances of the accident:

Research into e-bike and e-scooter accidents is still ongoing, and findings show differences in injury patterns. The study found that mild to moderate brain injuries occurred at a higher rate on e-bikes, while the rate of pelvic injuries was significantly higher than in bicycle accidents.

The largest study to date shows the following injuries among people injured in e-bike, conventional bike and e-scooter accidents:

  • E-bike riders are more susceptible to internal injuries.
  • E-bike riders are more likely to be hospitalized.
  • E-bike riders are more than three times more likely to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian than a bicycle accident.
  • E-scooter riders are almost three times more likely to suffer a concussion.
  • Electric scooter users are more likely to suffer fractures.

In addition to falls and collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians or stationary objects. E-bike riders can also suffer burn injuries from defective batteries. Lithium batteries may cause fire.

What to do after an accident:

An e-bike or e-scooter accident can happen in seconds, and if you suffer a serious injury or disability, the effects of the accident can last a lifetime. If you or a loved one has been injured, there are several steps you should consider taking:

  • At the scene of an accident, make sure you and others are safe to avoid additional injuries (especially on the road).
  • If someone is injured, emergency personnel should be contacted for treatment as needed and directed to a hospital or follow-up care with your own medical provider.
  • You or someone else can take photos or video of the accident scene and your injuries.
  • Record contact information for any matters related to the investigation (e.g., weather conditions, time).
  • Try not to speak to anyone involved in the accident and do not admit fault.
  • Before contacting any insurance company, contact Hip Seng. Hip Seng has a strong team of lawyers with countless successful claims cases. If you have any traffic accident claims or insurance claims, you can call 416-899 6338 for free consultation.

Insurance procedures:

If an e-bike or e-scooter accident was not your fault or was only partially your fault, you may be eligible to file a claim against the other person who was at fault. Calculate claimed losses such as lost income, Medical expenses, housekeeping and home maintenance expenses, and the damage caused by the accident to your psychological and physical pain can all be calculated in the claim.