Electric Bike LawsSummary

compiled by Don Chandler, 2006

Vancouver By-Laws

No person shall ... move, drive, run or propel any vehicle (except light carriages or chairs for the conveyance of

children or invalids), along, over, or across any sidewalk or boulevard.

No person shall ride any bicycle upon any sidewalk except where posted by signs.

A bicycle must be equipped with a bell, the rider must wear a helmet, and no headphones.


No person shall coast or slide with sleds, skis, skates, skateboard or other apparatus on any street, lane, or other public place;  except ... on any minor street and unless that person wears a helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads, and front and rear reflective equipment, and, in the case of skates or a skateboard, wrist guards; and shall have a braking mechanism.

Provincial Laws -  BC Motor Vehicle Act

A person must not drive or operate on a highway a mechanically propelled invalid's chair of a type or class prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council as a motor vehicle unless the person complies with this Act.

It is not an offense to drive or operate a motor vehicle on a private road owned by the owner or lessee of the motor vehicle, or in an industrial use by an industrial user on a private road by arrangement with the owner of the road.

The owner must register the motor vehicle with ICBC, obtain a license and a certificate of insurance.

limited speed motorcycle” means a motorcycle that

(a) is equipped with ... a motor having a power source that produces a maximum of 1.5 kW,

(b) has a power drive system that does not require clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged,

(c) has a maximum attainable speed on level ground, with or without pedals, of 70 km/hr,

(d) has a maximum weight of 95 kg excluding batteries, and

(e) has wheels of a diameter of 254 mm or more;

Motor assisted cycles

A person  must not ride on a sidewalk and must not ride other than on or astride a regular seat of the cycle,

At night a cycle must have a front white lamp visible at 150m, a red reflector, and a rear red light, must be equipped with a brake that will enable ... the braked wheels to skid on dry, level and clean pavement

A person must wear an approved bike helmet or receive <$100. fine

Driving on sidewalk

A driver must not drive on a sidewalk, walkway or boulevard

"cycle" means a device having any number of wheels that is propelled by human power and on which a person may ride and includes a motor assisted cycle, but does not include a skate board, roller skates or in-line roller skates;

"motor assisted cycle" means a device

(a) to which pedals or hand cranks are attached that will allow for the cycle to be propelled by human power,

(b) on which a person may ride,

(c) to which is attached a motor of a prescribed type that has an output not exceeding the prescribed output, and

A person who is under the age of 16 years commits an offense if that person operates a motor assisted cycle on a highway.

Motor Vehicle Regulations:

A motor assisted cycle must have no more than one motor for propulsion.

The motor of a motor assisted cycle must be an electric motor, have a continuous power output rating of not more than 500 watts, and  not be capable of propelling the motor assisted cycle at a speed greater than 32 km/hr on level ground.

The wheels of a motor assisted cycle must be 350 mm or more in diameter.

A motor assisted cycle must not have more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground.

A motor assisted cycle must be equipped with a mechanism, separate from the accelerator controller, that allows the driver to turn the motor on and off from a normal seated position while operating the motor assisted cycle, or  prevents the motor from turning on or engaging before the motor assisted cycle attains a speed of 3 km/hr.

The motor of a motor assisted cycle must turn off or disengage if the operator stops pedaling, an accelerator controller is released, or a brake is applied.

A motor assisted cycle must be equipped with brakes on all wheels or on each axle.

The braking system must be capable of bringing the motor assisted cycle, while being operated at a speed of 30 km/hr, to a full stop within 9 m from the point at which the brakes were applied.

The motor drive system and all energy storage devices of a motor assisted cycle must be secured to prevent movement in any direction relative to the motor assisted cycle while the motor assisted cycle is operating.

All electrical terminals on a motor assisted cycle must be completely insulated or covered.