Are Electric Bikes Legal In Canada?

When I recently decided to pursue a small portable e-bike for me and my gf to explore the gulf islands with, I thought the biggest hurdle was getting a bike with the specs I wanted for the right price. It never occurred to me that the bike in question might be illegal :oops:

I live in Burnaby, BC, and with a major pedestrian path running behind our building, I've witnessed plenty of different motorized bikes. I've seen several of these motorcycles/ebikes that are mentioned here:

I've also seen/heard this one guy with an annoying gas-powered bicycle on more than one occasion. And of course I've seen electric e-bikes. But I never really paid attention to whether the rider was constantly pedaling them or not.

The bike I've had my eye on for the last few weeks is the Fiido L2:

It has a max speed of 25 KM/H, a 350W motor, etc. When I looked up the actual BC laws last night, I found the L2 checked all the right boxes, except for one. It is not pedal-assist only, and the motor won't necessarily disengage if I stop pedaling. Mind you, it will disengage if I squeeze the brakes or take my finger off the throttle, and in my view that should be more than enough to satisfy safety requirements. But it's not really up to me.

Up til a few months ago you could still order that bike on, but they went out of stock and the company removed them from their website for some reason. You can still get them via resellers shipped to the US, and that's what I intended to do in a few months. So am I missing something here in regards to the e-bike laws? And if the laws do indeed ban this harmless machine, do I need to worry about enforcement? I saw a comment from the owner of one of those gas-assisted bicycles who got clobbered by the police, fined up to his neck, and slapped with a higher insurance rate for "driving a motor vehicle without insurance".

As mentioned, the L2 only goes 25 KM/H. I could pedal a conventional bike faster than that. And it's obviously not a 300 pound scooter or anything. These rules don't make any sense. To me, an e-bike that I have to pedal constantly is about as useful as a conventional bike with a gold-plated seat. It would wind up as a parkade queen alongside my conventional bike.
That guy with the gas powered device was way too obvious in the way that he was flaunting the rules. But you do live in one of the most NIMBY'ist places I know. It's not Saanich level yet, but give it some time.

I'm pretty sure there are a number of other members, who actually live in LML, who'll pipe in with their views and experiences, but e-bikes weren't allowed on pathways here in Calgary until a few years ago. I've been on those paths on an ebike since 2011, and have never been hassled. My old bike was class 2, and so was my wife's when she could still ride. She rode "throttle" only quite a bit of the time due to medical condition, and the only comment she ever got was "nice bike".

Long winded response, but bottom line IMHO, don't sweat it. Sheer numbers will likely prevail, or at least I hope so. The numbers of e-bikes vs the numbers of other idiots, including spandex clad speed demons, who will hopefully attract all the attention.

Best of luck in getting the e-bike you want, and the ability to enjoy it the way you intend to.
In Ontario the Highway Traffic Act requires an ebike (Power Assisted Bicycle) to have “operable” pedals, max speed of 32km/h and weigh no more than 120kg. Remove the pedals or make them inoperable, or modify the controller to go faster than 32km/h and it is no longer an ebike, but becomes a motor vehicle subject to all the same requirements for licensing, insurance and equipment.

Operable pedals is rather questionable on those so-called ebikes designed to look like scooters or motorcycles but as long as the pedals can move the bike it’s ok though. In no way, shape or form could you ever ride one of these machines like a bicycle. As far as I’m concerned these machines are not Power Assisted Bicycles but rather Pedal Assisted Motorcycles.

In our Region it is the scooter or motorcycle style ebikes that attract the most attention from law enforcement and are regularly checked for compliance. A regular looking bicycle type ebike that you pedal like any other bicycle is unlikely to attract much attention unless you are doing something crazy.

Regardless of whether you ride powered or analog just ride responsibly and with consideration for other road and trail users and you should be fine.
The more research I do, the less concerned I am. That Fiido L2 might theoretically violate BC's laws (it's still not clear) but I can't find any real functional difference between it and the multitudes of other ebikes that are freely sold around here. I guess I won't worry about it.
Welcome Bikey
I bought an American bike shipped it to northern Vermont and picked it up in my car and imported it myself, not a question was asked about any part of the bike even though it was a 50 km level 3 bike

You mentioned here that Canada has 500W and 42 kmph limit.
I am aware of the 500W limit but can you share where you found the 42 kmph limit?

The decision in February to let the provinces decide what constitutes an ebike led to the introduction in Ontario of Bill 282, the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021. Two local bike shop owners have circulated a letter co-signed by others, that points out the many Unintended consequences lurking in the technical wording, potentially outlawing cargo bikes and Brompton electric bikes among other silliness. Ontario residents are encouraged to submit stories of the personal impact of cargo bikes and ebikes. Hopefully common sense will see the changes made before the bill is adopted.
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Do Canadians really believe that ebikes cause more trail damage or wear? By nature any trails is "damage" to the environment even the hiking trails. By far the most significant factor to trail damage is erosion from heavy rains. I'm sure some Canadian law maker is sitting at home taking it easy on their couch thinking they saved bike trails by keep ebikes off them or by limiting the drive system wattage to 500W (most of the ebike shipping into Canada probably peak about that limit so there is already legal precedent that this law maker got too lazy and comfortable and his efforts are obsolete.
Funny that we in the US think our ebike regulations are not well thought out....I would say the Canadian legislators failed to finish grade school based on the regulations they adopted. Have fun in Canada being stuck on a 500W ebike at 32kph...may as well walk.
A bit tongue in cheek here, but talk about calling the kettle black. The U.S. can't criticize how our laws get decided upon and passed given your ridiculous gun laws, amongst others. A mass shooting just about every day and nothing gets done about it. Your cowboy police shooting people over and over for years with no justice with exception of the recent Chauvin verdict. (one has to wonder what would have gone down had there not been so many cameras rolling) Wow. CN
In Canada, other than speeding through a school zone, it requires a great deal of effort to attract the attention of the police. Nobody drives the speed limit. Bylaw officers only hand out parking tickets, never seen them doing anything else. Border guards only care about guns and agricultural products. I purchase a fishing licence every year but no one has ever checked. Nobody cares about your ebike, The ONLY crime you you may run afoul of is drinking in a public space, for that you will receive a fine, but only if you go all second amendment on your right to drink. There will be no court appearance or arrest even for smoking weed in public. No one will enforce an ebike ordinance. Just leave your guns at home, you will not need them. If 10 people see you with a gun at least 14 of us will call the police. Even then no one will check your ebike. Stay healthy, looking forward to the border opening again. Come visit us soon
No kidding. I used to go into the states a lot and always saw speed traps around just about every corner on just a 40 or so mile stretch of I-5 into WA state with lots of folks pulled over. (lots of Canadians because we speed) Nothing pisses Canadians off more than morons hogging the left lane like they're some self appointed 'keeper of the speed". Use the left lane to pass. If you aren't passing stay the he** in the right lane. And don't dawdle when passing. Pass!
I just made a trip by car from the west coast to as far east as you can go in Canada and maybe saw a half dozen speed traps, total. Speeding seems to be tolerated as long as you use a bit of sense when and where you do it.
You won't find beer in every road stop and convenience store, (in B.C. anyway.......thumbs up to la belle province! The first time I set foot into a gas station there I thought I entered a beer and wine store) but you can legally drink it on some beaches and in parks now, and smoking pot in PUBLIC is still illegal, but never, ever enforced. The Popo might wag a finger at you. Once again, use your noggin.
Dale is right, they'll leave you and your bikes alone as long as you don't be an ugly American in public.
An American e-bike won't even raise an eyebrow at the border unless you plan on selling it and leaving it up here. (don't let that slip)
And.......leave the guns at home. Too many Americans bring them thinking it's legal here too, or attempt to conceal them. You'll get turned around and sent home. If you play the 'heading to Alaska' card, you'd better not stray from going straight there. CN
Not a Canadian, but I know that you have very similar eBike laws compared to Australia. Shame that 750W aren't legal as they are in the US!
Not a Canadian, but I know that you have very similar eBike laws compared to Australia. Shame that 750W aren't legal as they are in the US!
Almost makes it worth it to become an MP to change just that one piece of outdated law, restrict speed not power, just like with cars and motorbikes speed kills and injures not power.
It's only another 250W, it should be easy to do, but stupid bureaucracy gets in the way.
"But critics say the bill's e-bike definitions — which include a weight limit of 55 kilograms"

That's just over 121 lbs. I don't ever want an Ebike that heavy, if I can't lift it, it's beyond your typical style of Ebike and probably overpowered anyways.
The Sondors LX is one of the heaviest Ebikes at 89 pounds, getting beyond that is just too much.
In any event I guess the push to carbon fiber frames will be on for the cargo Ebikes to get them under that weight if this becomes law.
I don't mind them moving to 750W nominal up from 500W to align with USA laws, that is a good thing.
I know a lot of folks riding 750W bikes up there, and they have never been bothered by anyone.
I agree if you are riding respectfully and safely, slowing down when you need to, anybody enforcing laws is going to leave you alone if your Ebike looks like many other Ebikes on the rode.
And where I am at least 50% of bikes are Ebikes now, they would have to pull over way to many Ebikers, it would make the news as harassment of people who trying to be ecologically friendly.
Very bad PR for enforcement.
Let's face it, police have bigger fish to fry, than busting people riding higher wattage motors.