PEI

P.E.I. has new regulations for electric bicycles

P.E.I. has new regulations for electric bicycles, bringing more clarity to how the popular devices are allowed to operate on provincial roads and trails.

Anyone 16 and older can operate a power-assisted bicycle

Prince Edward Island has new regulations for power-assisted bikes, providing more clarity on where the devices can be used. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

P.E.I. has new regulations for electric bicycles, bringing more clarity to how the popular devices are allowed to operate on provincial roads and trails.

Graham Miner, director of highway safety and legislative coordinator for the department, said there had been confusion around the regulations for power-assisted bicycles in the Highway Traffic Act.

Until recently, the devices — which look like a traditional bicycle but are equipped with an electric motor — fell under the definition of a moped, or a low speed motorcycle.

This meant that drivers of power-assisted bicycles, also know as e-bikes, were required to have a driver's license, registration and insurance.

"If we kept these type of devices underneath the moped definition, it meant they wouldn't be allowed to operate, for example, on the Confederation Trail or the province's active transportation pathways," said Miner.

He added that devices that go faster than 32 kilometres per hour are not allowed to operate on trails.

"The thing is to define exactly what they are so they meet a certain definition and standard to say, 'This is what can be used and how it can be used and who can use it,'" he said.

The rules for e-bikes

Electric bicycles must now follow the same rules as a traditional bicycle when operating on roadways and a helmet must be worn.

Miner said power-assisted bicycles cannot go faster than 32 kilometres per hour, or else they move into the category of a low speed motorcycle and those regulations would apply. The regulations also restrict power to a maximum of 500 watts.

The new rules mean anyone 16 and older can operate a power-assisted bicycle. A driver's license, insurance and registration is not required.

Miner said work is underway to get the word out about the regulations, including working with stakeholders and a social media campaign.

More from CBC P.E.I.

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