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​Electric bikes

An electric bike, or motor-assisted cycle, is a two- or three-wheeled cycle with a seat, pedals and an electric motor (up to 500 watts). A motor assisted cycle (MAC) cannot be gas-powered.

Cycles without attached pedals

Gas-powered cycles and electric cycles without attached pedals do not qualify as an electric motor-assisted cycle and will not pass a provincial motor vehicle inspection that would enable them to meet registration, licensing and insurance requirements for on-road use.

Rules of the road

To operate a motor-assisted cycle (MAC), you must be 16 or older and wear a bicycle helmet.

You don't need a drivers licence or need to register, licence and/or insure your MAC, but you are subject to the same rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle. You also must follow bicycle safety rules.

Different rules for electric bikes and mopeds/scooters

Some motor-assisted cycles look a lot like mopeds and scooters (also known as limited-speed motorcycles—LSMs). However, the rules for operating MACs and LSMs aren't the same.

Make sure you're riding legally. Check the table below to see which rules apply to you.

Motor assisted cycles


Motor assisted cycles must be powered by electricity. If your bicycle has a gas engine attached, it will not be considered a motor assisted cycle.

See low-powered vehicles for more information.

Motor-assisted cycle (detailed definition)

To qualify as a MAC, certain conditions must be met. For example:

  • The electric motor must be 500 watts or less and be capable of propelling the cycle no faster than 32 km/h on level ground without pedalling.
  • The vehicle must be equipped with a mechanism that either:
    1. allows the driver to turn the motor on and off, or
    2. prevents the motor from turning on or engaging before the MAC attains a speed of 3 km/h
  • The motor must disengage when the operator:
    1. stops pedalling, or
    2. releases the accelerator or
    3. applies a brake.
  • The motor cannot be gas-powered.
  • The motor must be capable of being propelled by muscular power using the pedals, but it is not necessary to always be pedalling
  • The vehicle must meet any other conditions in the Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation (B.C. Reg 151/2002).


 


Motor Assisted CyclesLimited Speed Motorcycles


Description

Combine bicycle pedal power with electric motor assistance.

To qualify, must be a Motor Assisted Cycle as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act and meet Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation criteria.

Are low-powered motorcycles (that is, mopeds and scooters). LSMs rely on motor power and are generally not equipped with bicycle-style pedals.

To qualify, must be a Limited Speed Motorcycle as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.

Power

Electric motor of 500 watts or less
and
bicycle-style pedals for manual propulsion.
Gas engine 50 cc or less
or
electric motor less than 1,500 watts.

Maximum speed

32 km/h on level ground without pedalling.70 km/h on level ground.

Vehicle registration, licensing and insurance

None required. (Insurance may be available under a homeowner's policy.)An LSM must be registered, licensed and insured as a motor vehicle.

Driver 

No driver’s licence is needed.
You must be at least 16 years old.
You must have a driver’s licence; however, you can not operate on a learner’s licence other than a Class 6 or 8 motorcycle learner’s licence.

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.

As well, bicycle safety rules should be followed.

See Section 183 of the Motor Vehicle Act: Rights and duties of operator of cycle.
Subject to the same rights and duties of a motor vehicle, such as obeying all traffic lights and control devices.

In some areas, highway use is restricted. For details, please contact your local police.

Manufacturer's label

As a condition of initial sale, all commercially manufactured MACs must have a label stating that the vehicle is a “power-assisted bicycle."As a condition of initial sale, all commercially manufactured LSMs must bear a permanently affixed compliance label. On this, or on another separate label, a statement must appear that the use of the vehicle may be restricted by provincial authorities to certain roads.