Power-Assisted Bicycles

What is a Power-Assisted Bicycle?

Power-assist bicycles are motorized devices that can look like a conventional bicycle, moped, scooter or limited-speed motorcycle. On PEI, a power-assist bicycle is defined as a pedal-driven bicycle of conventional exposed fork-and-frame bicycle design and appearance with an integrated electric motor used to assist propulsion. Power-assist bicycles are also called electric bikes or e-bikes.

On PEI, power-assist bicycles must have:

  • steering handlebars;
  • two or three wheels that touch the ground;
  • functioning pedals;
  • an electric motor (but not a gasoline motor) of 500 Watts or less;
  • a maximum speed of 32 km/h;
  • a maximum weight of 120 kg;
  • wheels with a diameter not less than 406.4 mm; and,
  • a label permanently affixed from the manufacturer in both official languages stating that the device is a power-assisted bicycle and adheres to provincial legislation.

On PEI, power-assist bicycles must be equipped with:

  • a mounted integral head lamp and tail lamp;
  • reflex reflectors;
  • brakes on all wheels or on each axle;
  • an operable bell or horn; and,
  • a mechanism separate from the accelerator controller that allows the operator to turn the motor on and off while operating the bicycle or prevents the motor form turning on or off before the device attains a speed of 3 km/hr.
Note: it is illegal to modify your power-assisted bicycle’s motor to make it more powerful or to increase the speed of your bicycle.

What is required to operate a Power-Assist Bicycle?

To operate a power-assisted bicycle, you need to:

  • be 16 years of age or older;
  • wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet with a chin strap; and,
  • keep the power-assisted bicycle in good working order; and,
  • follow the same rules of the road as regular cyclists.

To be compliant, no person shall operate a power-assisted bicycle on a PEI highway unless that person is wearing a protective helmet approved for use by the Canada Standards Association, or the standards as specified in the Highway Traffic Act Bicycle Safety Helmet Regulations (EC329/03).

What is not required to operate a Power-Assist Bicycle?

  • a driver's licence;
  • vehicle registration and insurance; or,
  • license plate.

Where can I Operate a Power-Assist Bicycle?

You can ride your power-assisted bicycle on most roads, trails, active transportation pathways and highways where conventional bikes are permitted, with some exceptions.

You cannot ride a power-assisted bicycle:

  • on any highway where access to pedestrians or bicycles is prohibited under any Act, regulation or municipal bylaw;
  • on municipal roads, including sidewalks, where bicycles are banned under municipal by-laws;
  • on municipal roads, sidewalks, bike paths, bike trails or bike lanes where power-assisted bicycles are prohibited.

 

Allowed in a public park?

No, but can be authorized according to municipal bylaws.

Allowed on a sidewalk or walkway?

No

Allowed on natural or paved bike lanes?

Yes

Allowed on a highway?

Yes, but only if a bicycle lane is provided

or,

On the shoulder of the highway if no bicycle lane is provided

or,

As close to the edge of the roadway as possible if there is no bike lane or shoulder.

Allowed on non-motorized, natural surface trails (mountain bike trails)?

No, but can be authorized

Allowed on the Confederation Trail?

No, unless a person is operating the power-assisted bicycle between April 1 and November 30th of the same year.

Make sure you’re riding legally.

Power-Assisted Bicycle

Motor-Assisted Bicycle and

Limited Speed Motorcycle (LSM)

Description

Combine bicycle pedal power with electric motor assistance.

Are low-powered motorcycles (LSM) such as mopeds and scooters. Mopeds rely on motor power and may be equipped with pedals / LSM’s rely on motor power and are generally not equipped with bicycle-style pedals. 

Considered a Motor Vehicle

No

Yes

Age Range

At least 16 years of age.

At least 16 years of age.

Power

Electric motor (power output not exceeding 500 watts in total) and bicycle-style pedals.

Gas engine 50 cc or less
or
electric motor less than 1,500 watts.

Maximum Speed

32 km/h on level ground.

50 km/h on level ground.

Registration, License Plate and Insurance*

None required.

(insurance may be available under a homeowner's policy)

Yes. An LSM / Moped must be registered and insured as a motor vehicle.

Driver’s License

No driver’s license is needed.

You must have a driver’s license

Class

None

Minimum Class 8

Helmet

Must wear a bike helmet.

Must wear a motorcycle helmet.

Rules of the Road

Subject to the same rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle, such as obeying all traffic lights and control devices.

Bicycle safety rules must be followed.

See Section 194 of the Highway Traffic Act and the Power-Assisted Bicycle Regulations:

Subject to the same rights and duties of a motor vehicle, such as obeying all traffic lights and control devices.


Confederation Trail

Yes (conditions)

No

Active Transportation Pathway Access

Yes (conditions)

No

Public Streets or Highways

Yes (conditions)

Yes

 

What safety requirements are in place for power-assisted bicycles?

To operate a power-assisted bicycle on Prince Edward Island’s public roads, Confederation Trail and Active Transportation Pathway the following vehicle safety and operator requirements are in place:

  • Power-assisted Bicycles must not weigh more than 120 kg (weight of bike and battery).
  • All operators must be at least 16 years of age.
  • All operators must wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet.
  • All electrical terminals must be completely covered.
  • The minimum wheel diameter is 406.4 mm.
  • No modifications to the motor to allow it to exceed a power output greater than 500W and a speed greater than 32 km/h.

The battery and motor must be securely fastened to the vehicle to prevent them from moving while the e-bike is operating.

Can I remove the pedals from my power-assisted bicycle?

No. If you remove the pedals from your power-assisted bicycle, it is no longer considered to be a power-assisted bicycle because it does not conform with the Highway Traffic Act Power-Assisted Bicycle Regulations definition of a power-assisted bicycle. Removing the pedals makes it an illegal vehicle. You could be ticketed for operating a motor vehicle without registration and insurance.

Can I modify my power-assisted bicycle so it can go faster than 32 km/h?

No. Modifying your power-assisted bicycle to increase its speed beyond 32 km/h will no longer qualify it as a power-assisted bicycle. . You may then face moped or limited-speed motorcycle licensing, registration and insurance requirements.

Can I operate a power-assisted bicycle if my driver’s license has been suspended?

No. If your license is suspended because of a conviction that has resulted in a driving prohibition under the Criminal Code of Canada, you cannot legally operate a power-assisted bicycle. If your license is suspended or cancelled under the Highway Traffic Act, or if you are otherwise disqualified or prohibited from operating a motor vehicle or obtaining a driver’s license under the Act, you cannot legally operate a power-assisted bicycle.

Can I carry passengers on my power-assisted bicycle?

You can carry passengers on your power-assisted bicycle if it was designed and manufactured for more than one person. Passengers are not allowed on a bicycle designed for one person.

What are the penalties for riding a power-assisted bicycle while impaired?

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, a power-assisted bicycle is classified as a motor vehicle, so penalties for impaired driving under the Criminal Code of Canada do apply.

Can municipalities pass by-laws prohibiting power-assisted bicycles?

Yes. Municipalities have the ability to prohibit where power-assisted bicycles may travel on roads, paths, trails and other property under their jurisdiction. 

Published date: 
July 14, 2021
Transportation and Infrastructure

General Inquiries

Access PEI
33 Riverside Drive,
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Phone: 902-368-5200
Fax: 902-569-7560
accesspeicharlottetown@gov.pe.ca 
Road-Related Inquiries: roads@gov.pe.ca 
All other TI inquiries: DeptTIE@gov.pe.ca 
Report Transportation Problems

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