Power Assisted Bicycles
The Province of Ontario has amended the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, so that electric 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. City of Toronto bylaws state that a bicycle cannot be propelled by a motor when using multi-use trails or bicycle lanes. If an electric bicycle is being used on a multi-use path, or in a bicycle lane it must be propelled by pedaling alone.
Types of Electric Bicycles
Legislation passed by the province of Ontario classifies a wide range of vehicles as electric bicycles. Some look like conventional bicycles and some resemble motor scooters.
Electric Bikes in the City of Toronto
Municipalities may pass by-laws specific to electric 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 bicycle lanes.
City of Toronto Bylaws - Bike Lanes
According to City of Toronto bike lane bylaws, bicycles must be propelled by muscular power. If a bicycle is being propelled by the power of a motor, then it is not considered a bicycle, it is considered a motor vehicle, and bicycle lanes are designated for the use of bicycles only. A electric bicycle user may have their motor turned on while they are in a regular traffic lane, but if they wish to merge into a bicycle lane, then they must turn their motor off, and propel themselves by pedaling while in the bicycle lane.
Post and Ring Bicycle stands
E-bikes, which are lighter than motorcycles and could be stolen if left on the street may use post and ring bike parking stands. Post and ring stands are intended for short term parking.
E-bikes on City of Toronto Ferries
Only electric bicycles with a wheel diameter of 26" or larger are allowed on the ferries to the Toronto Islands.
City of Toronto By-laws – Park Paths
In City of Toronto Parks electric bicycles may be ridden on parks roads, but motors should not be used on parks paths and trails. This means that on paths such as the Waterfront - Martin Goodman Trail, Don Valley Trail, or Humber Trail, a Police Officer or bylaw officer may ticket an electric bicycle rider $305.00 for engaging their motor. A electric bicycle user may use their motor while traveling on roadways to arrive to a City Park, but once they enter the park, they must turn off their motor, and propel themselves by pedaling while in the City Park.
All trail users should remember that the speed limit for parks paths and trails is 20 km/h.
Report on the Status of E-Bikes
Electric Pedal Assist bicycles and e-scooters are new types of vehicles, which have great potential as a new addition to Toronto's transportation mix. Compared to gas powered motor vehicles, they are low or no emission vehicles and to not contribute to urban noise pollution. They are accessible and their footprint on the roadway is much smaller than that of a car, van or truck, which may help to fight congestion.
The City of Toronto is reviewing its by-laws, to better address the different types of electric bicycles being used on Toronto's streets today, and to articulate the way in which they may use Toronto's bicycle facilities.
We value your input as part of this process
The City of Toronto actively solicited the participation of a diverse cross section of respondents who use City of Toronto multi-use paths, bicycle lanes, sidewalks and roadways to participate in an online survey.
The City of Toronto would like to thank the 2,000+ respondents who participated in this exercise. Your input will help to better understand how to incorporate e-bikes into Toronto's transportation mix. This survey is now closed. City staff are currently processing the information provided by participants. Results will be posted to this web page as available.
If you were not able to participate in the survey, but would like to contact us with your input, please contact:
For persons who are not able to contact us online, a public outreach display with information was available in the Metro Hall Rotunda (55 John Street) Saturday April 13th, and Sunday April 14, 2013.
City Staff were on site to meet with stakeholders and discuss issues and opportunities in the Metro Hall Rotunda (55 John Street) on April 13, 2013, between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.