“Under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a bicycle is a vehicle and cyclists must follow the rules of the road”, recalls OPP
ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind the public of the responsibilities of those who use e-bikes/scooters and bicycles in our communities.
Our roads are designed for the enjoyment and transportation of all, thanks to a wide variety of approved motorized and self-propelled vehicles. Under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a bicycle is a vehicle and cyclists must obey the rules of the road. Motorists also have a responsibility to share roads.
The following outlines the rules and regulations regarding the use of e-bikes.
- Electric bicycles (“e-bikes”) may be used on Ontario roads. As of October 3, 2009, e-bikes (both those resembling conventional bicycles and those resembling motor scooters) are permanently permitted on roads and highways where conventional bicycles are currently permitted. They must follow the same rules of the road as set out in the Highway Code. (HTA) which currently applies to cyclists, with a few exceptions.
To operate an e-bike:
- Operators must be 16 years or older;
- All operators must wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet at all times.
- It is prohibited for anyone who owns, possesses or is under the control of an electric bicycle to allow a person under the age of 16 to ride on, drive or use the electric bicycle on a highway.
- An e-bike should not be ridden, driven or used unless it is in good working order.
Like bicycles and mopeds, power-assisted bicycles are prohibited on certain provincially controlled roads.
Any municipal by-laws prohibiting bicycles on highways under their jurisdiction also apply to e-bikes.
Municipalities can also pass bylaws specific to e-bikes that prohibit them on municipal roads, sidewalks, bike paths, bike lanes and bike lanes under their jurisdiction.
To use an e-bike on Ontario roads, an e-bike must meet the following equipment requirements:
- Have a maximum empty weight of 120 kg (includes vehicle and battery weight).
- Must be fitted with at least two independent braking systems which apply force to each wheel and are capable of bringing the e-bike to a complete stop, when operated at a speed of 30 km/h, within 9 meters of the point where the brakes were applied.
- Must have wheels with a minimum diameter and width of 350mm and 35mm respectively.
- Must have all electrical terminals completely insulated or covered
- The battery and motor should be securely attached to the bike to prevent them from moving when the bike is in motion.
- Has a steering handlebar and is equipped with working pedals.
- Is designed to move on up to three wheels.
- Has an electric motor with an output power of 500 W or not exceeding 32 km/h.
- Has a permanently affixed label from the manufacturer indicating in both official languages that the vehicle meets the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle.
Huronia West OPP would like to remind all e-bike users that they are responsible for following the rules of the road and learning about Department of Transportation regulations related to their vehicles.
Here are some safety rules and tips for cyclists on bikes.
- As a cyclist, you must obey all traffic rules, have the same responsibilities as drivers, and cannot carry passengers if your bike is for one person only.
- You can ride on most roads, bike lanes and bike paths, trails and multi-use paths.
- You cannot ride on controlled-access highways, such as Ontario’s 400-series highways, inside a crosswalk to cross the street, inside a crosswalk at an intersection or a place with traffic lights, on sidewalks.
- Children under 10 can ride on the sidewalk until they develop the skills to ride on the road with traffic.
- If you want to cross a road inside a crosswalk or crosswalk, you have to walk your bike on the other side.
- Drive in a straight line on the right side of the road at least one meter from the curb or parked cars, if possible.
- When overtaken, stay as close to the right side of the road as possible. You are allowed to use any part of the lane for safety reasons, such as avoiding obstacles in your lane.
- You do not need to keep to the right when: you are preparing for a left turn, overtaking another vehicle, you are driving faster than other vehicles, the lane is too narrow to be shared.
- Cyclists should obey bicycle signal lights where they are posted and regular traffic lights otherwise. If a bicycle traffic light and a regular traffic light apply to the same lane, cyclists must obey the bicycle signal.
Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a fall or collision with a car, pedestrian or other cyclists. A bicycle helmet is strongly recommended but not legally required if you are 18 or older.
The best helmet is one that: fits correctly, is worn correctly, has been manufactured to meet strict safety standards. By law, cyclists under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet. For children 16 and under, a parent or guardian must ensure they wear a helmet. Children must wear an approved bicycle helmet when riding in a child carrier or bicycle trailer.
Other equipment required by law: bell or horn, lights and reflectors, a white light mounted on the front of your bike, a red light or reflector on the back at night, reflective strips: white reflective strips on the front forks and red reflective stripes on the rear forks.
When overtaking a cyclist, the driver must maintain a minimum distance of one meter between his vehicle and the cyclist, when it is practical to do so. Cyclists are not required to leave a 1 meter gap, but they must still obey all rules of the road. If you are overtaken by a driver while driving, turn right to let the vehicle pass.
To view Ontario’s cycling laws, visit: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/bicycle-safety.shtml
The Ontario Provincial Police expects cyclists and motorists to ride and share the road safely, obeying all laws, especially the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). Those who fail to do so can be charged with displacement violations under the HTA. The Ontario Provincial Police urge everyone to respect all road users and make safety their top priority.