The Province of Ontario has amended the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, so that power assisted bicycles (e-bikes) may travel on public roads and highways. Bicycle lanes and park paths are governed by City of Toronto bylaws, not the Highway Traffic Act.
Types of Power Assisted Bicycles
Legislation passed by the province of Ontario classifies a wide range of vehicles as power assisted bicycles. Some look like conventional bicycles and some resemble motor scooters.
Please review the Ministry of Transportation's E-Bike webpage or the Toronto Police's emerging vehicles information sheet
Electric Bikes in the City of Toronto
Municipalities may pass by-laws specific to power assisted bicycles that prohibit them from municipal roads, sidewalks, bike paths and trails, and bikes lanes under their jurisdiction. City of Toronto Municipal Code bylaws prohibit motor powered vehicles from being used on multi-use paths and in cycle tracks. Only electric bicycles with a wheel diameter of 26" or larger are allowed on the ferries to the Toronto Islands.
Types of "E-bikes"
E-bikes which are similar to bicycles ("Pedelecs") are considered to be bicycles by the municipality of Toronto, and may be used on all types of cycling infrastructure. This includes painted bike lanes, Cycle Tracks (separated bicycle lanes) and multi-use trails where regular bicycles are allowed. By it's definition in the Toronto Municipal Code, a "pedelec" must weigh less than 40kg and requires pedaling for propulsion.
"E-scooters" may not be used on multi-use trails or Cycle Tracks (separated bike lanes). E-scooters are vehicles which meet the Provincial definition of an e-bike, but not the City's of Toronto's definition of a Pedelec.
In February 2014, Toronto City Council adopted the recommendation that a two-year evaluation to monitor the operation of e-scooters in painted bicycle lanes (which are not separated from motor vehicle traffic) be undertaken. In consultation with the Toronto Police, Transportation Services will report back to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee within two years, and if required amend the Toronto Municipal Code to address any observed safety concerns related to the operation of e-scooters in painted bicycle lanes.
City of Toronto Decision Documents
On January 9, 2014, the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee discussed rules for how power assisted bicycles and e-scooters may be used in the City of Toronto. A core decision from this meeting was that the City asked the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Transport Canada to review their "power assisted bicycles" definition, to better recognize pedelec type bicycles from e-scooter type vehicles. Learn more about the decisions from this meeting.
Toronto's City Council then discussed how power assisted bicycles and e-scooters may be used in the City of Toronto on February 19th, 2014. City Council decided that between February 19, 2014- 2016 the use of e-scooters in reserved bicycle lanes would be evaluated. Learn more about the decisions from this meeting.