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Behind-the-Wheel

Province updates rules for riding e-bikes on B.C. highways

New e-bike rules on roads

Effective April 5, the provincial government updated the Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation. The update created two categories of e-bike, a standard and a light version, as well as setting minimum ages for riders using them on the highway.

Standard e-bikes:

• Cannot have motors exceeding 500 W continuous power output rating

• Must have a maximum speed of 32 km/h

• Can have either pedal or throttle operated motors that can be disengaged

• Must have brakes that meet braking standards

• Cannot be operated by anyone under the age of 16 years old on a highway

Light e-bikes:

• Cannot have motors exceeding 250 W continuous power output rating

• Must have a maximum speed of 25 km/h

• Are limited to pedal-operated motors (must not have a throttle)

• Must have brakes that meet braking standards

• Cannot be operated by anyone under the age of 14 years old on a highway

• Cannot be operated by anyone under the age of 16 years old on a highway if carrying or towing passengers

A light e-bike, travelling at 25 km/h on a clean, level paved surface, must come to a stop within 7.5 metres. While a standard e-bike, travelling at 32 km/h on a clean, level pave surface, must come to a stop within 9 metres.

If your electric bicycle does not meet these standards, it is considered to be a motor vehicle and if you to ride it on the highway, you are subject to the requirements for licensing, insurance and motor vehicle standards compliance.

Because the federal government has chosen not to regulate motor-assisted cycles, the job has been left to the provinces. So, what is legal in B.C. may not be legal in other provinces and vice versa.

While collision liability insurance is not required for motor-assisted cycles in B.C., it is still something you may wish to consider buying. If you regularly ride in traffic, causing a collision could result in a bill that is much larger than you could easily pay.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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