What is a power-assisted bicycle (“e-bike”)?

Most Provinces and states have similar rules, but they vary from place to place. Generally speaking a power-assisted bicycle, or e-bike, is a bicycle that:

  • Has a maximum weight of 120 kg (includes the weight of bike and battery);
  • Has wheels with a diameter of at least 350 mm and width of at least 35 mm; and
  • Meets the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle:
  • has steering handlebars and is equipped with pedals,
  • is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground,
  • is capable of being propelled by muscular power,
  • has one or more electric motors that have, singly or in combination, the following characteristics:
    • it has a total continuous power output rating, measured at the shaft of each motor, of 500 W or less,
    • if it is engaged by the use of muscular power, power assistance immediately ceases when the muscular power ceases,
    • if it is engaged by the use of an accelerator controller, power assistance immediately ceases when the brakes are applied, and
    • it is incapable of providing further assistance when the bicycle attains a speed of 32 km/h on level ground,
    • bears a label that is permanently affixed by the manufacturer and appears in a conspicuous location stating, in both official languages, that the vehicle is a power-assisted bicycle as defined federally, and
    • has one of the following safety features, an enabling mechanism to turn the electric motor on and off that is separate from the accelerator controller and fitted in such a manner that it is operable by the driver, or a mechanism that prevents the motor from being engaged before the bicycle attains 3 km/hr.

What do I need to operate an e-bike?

To operate an e-bike:

  • No driver’s licence is required
  • No written test is required
  • No vehicle registration or plate is required
  • No motor vehicle liability insurance is required (however some people ensure their Ebike is listed on their Home Owners Policy
  • All operators/riders/passengers must be 16 years of age and older.
  • All persons operating an e-bike are required to wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet.

Is a power-assisted bicycle the same as an e-bike?

Yes. An e-bike is considered a power-assisted bicycle as long as it meets all the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

Do all e-bikes look like bicycles?

I have seen some that look like motor scooters being advertised as e-bikes. E-bikes may resemble conventional bicycles, or resemble scooters and limited-speed motorcycles. Usually, conventional style and scooter-style e-bikes that meet the definition of a power-assisted bicycle, as described above, are permitted on roads and highways where conventional bicycles are currently allowed. They must follow the same rules of the road as set out in the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) that currently apply to cyclists, with some exceptions based on municipal bylaws. 

What are the rules for wearing a helmet?

Anyone operating or riding on an e-bike is required to wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet. There are no age exemptions.

On what roads can an e-bike travel?

E-bikes are allowed to travel anywhere bicycles are permitted to travel. Any municipal by-law prohibiting bicycles from highways under their jurisdiction also apply to e-bikes. Municipalities may also pass by-laws specific to e-bikes that prohibit them from municipal roads, sidewalks, bike paths, bike trails, and bike lanes under their jurisdiction. E-bikes, like bicycles, are not allowed on controlled-access highways, Expressways and freeways, or on municipal roads, including sidewalks where bicycles are banned under municipal by-laws. If my driver’s licence has been suspended, can I legally operate an e-bike? It depends on the particular circumstances that lead to the licence suspension. If your driver’s licence suspension was related to a conviction under the Criminal Code of Canada, you cannot legally operate an e-bike. If your driver’s licence has been suspended under these or other circumstances, it is recommended that you discuss your situation with a licensed legal practitioner before deciding to operate an e-bike.

Am I allowed to carry passengers on my e-bike?

Under the Highway Traffic Act, section 178(2), passengers are not allowed on a bicycle designed for one person.

How far can I travel on a single charge of the battery?

On power-assist mode, one charge can provide traveling distance of 20-100 km, depending on the terrain and the model.

If a police officer stopped someone who was drunk while driving an e-bike, how would they be charged? Would this be a Criminal Code offence or an HTA offence?

Drinking and driving a motor vehicle is a Criminal Code offence and charges are laid under the Criminal Code of Canada. Under the Criminal Code, the definition of a “motor vehicle” would include an e-bike and anyone operating an e-bike intoxicated could be charged for impaired driving. If convicted, the offender would be subject to the Criminal Code penalties, including a fine or jail time, and a driving prohibition. Under the Highway Traffic Act, an e-bike is not classified as a motor vehicle, so penalties for impaired driving under the Act would not apply.

If I get stopped by a police officer while riding my e-bike, do I need to show ID?

Under the Highway Traffic Act, section 218, cyclists must stop and identify themselves when required to stop by police for breaking traffic laws. The police officer will ask you for your correct name and address.

Will municipalities be able to pass by-laws to prohibit e-bikes?

Yes. Municipalities have the ability to prohibit where e-bikes may travel and may do so at their own discretion.

Why is there an age restriction?

Even though power-assisted bicycles are treated as bicycles, they are generally heavier, can travel at a maximum speed of 32 km/hr or 20 MPH and require additional physical strength to safely manage. Currently, eight Canadian jurisdictions (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Yukon Territory) have legalized power-assisted bicycles for public road use and are treating these vehicles as conventional bicycles and not as motor vehicles. Of these eight jurisdictions, four have a minimum age requirement – the requirement is 12 years of age in Alberta, 14 in Manitoba and 16 in British Columbia and Quebec.

Battery Maintenance

Always plug the charger in the Ebike first then into the wall outlet. Depending on the amount of usage or time between charges, it may take a few minutes or up to six hours to fully charge your batteries. Do not leave the charger plugged in for more than eight hours, it may harm your battery. When the charge indicator light goes green, unplug the charger from the wall first then your ebike. Then you are good to go…

If your battery pack is built with sealed lead acid batteries (SLA), it can be completely charged and discharged up to about 350 times (if you have Lithium Ion Batteries you can expect about 500 complete charge and discharge cycles). In order to get the maximum life out of your SLA battery pack: ALWAYS, we repeat – ALWAYS charge you batteries up IMMEDIATELY after EVERY use! Sealed lead acid batteries hate to be left discharged, even for only a few hours, so plug your battery pack into the smart charger immediately after every use. Also, try not to run your batteries completely dead, for this will diminish their life cycle. A good “rule of thumb” to follow is stop using your Electric Bike motor, when our battery indicator light shows a low charge.

Battery Storage?

If you store your bike for prolonged periods of time, both the batteries and charger should be stored at temperatures above freezing and recharged every 4-6 weeks. It is also a good idea to disconnect the batteries from the E-Bike, to remove the load and prevent discharging. The longer a battery sits uncharged, the faster the life will be reduced.

What are the running costs for a DragonEbike?

You will have no worries about rising fuel prices. All our electric Ebikes use household electricity and the average cost per full charge is about 2 cents per charge. So if you charged the battery every single day for a year, it would cost you about $7.30 per year.

Can I ride up hills and against strong headwinds on my electric bike?

 Yes. One of the main advantages of cycling on an electrical bicycle is that it literally flattens hills and increases your average speed when tackling inclines and headwinds. If you provide a reasonable amount of effort, but you should be able to tackle anything from a 10% to 15% gradient with relative ease. You will be amazed at the relative ease that your new DragonEbike can tackle some of the most difficult journeys.

Do I need to pedal an electric bike?

No but it helps to prolong battery life. The motor on our bikes is throttle controlled, allowing you to decide how much power you desire. Have you ever tried to cycle when speeding downhill on your normal bicycle? It’s just like that. The motor is propelling you faster than you’re cycling so it’s just like pedalling downhill, there’s no resistance to pedalling.

What happens when I use the brakes under powered assistance?

 All of our Ebikes are equipped with brake levers that have aa built in safety switch that automatically cuts off the motor power under braking conditions. This not only ensures a safe unpowered stopping feature, but also protects the motor under braking conditions so that it isn’t working against the brakes

Why do we use Brushless Hub Motors on all our Ebikes?

DragonEbikes uses only the best and most technically advanced components in all their bikes. This is why we only use brushless maintenance free motors on all our bikes. Brushed Motors many electric bike suppliers use brushless motors because of their lower cost. Unfortunately, they are high maintenance motors, which use carbon brushes to make contact with the rotor of the motor. This results in constant contact and friction inside the motor and produces fine carbon particles within the workings of the motor that slowly reduces its efficiency and effectiveness as its life increases. The carbon brushes consequently need to be changed by a dealer at fixed mileage intervals. The net result of using brushed motors is that the range of the battery reduces as the motor deteriorates and they have to have replacement brushes at regular intervals. Because brushed motors are less efficient than brushless motors, bikes using this old technology generally need bigger batteries to equal the range of a the brushless hub motors used by DragonEbikes. Brushless Hub Motors are used on all DragonEbikes to maintain their high performance, with no deterioration in performance over time and they offer a constant maximum efficiency which equates to greater mileage versus brushed motors for the same size battery. Generally much smaller and lighter than brushed motors and finally brushless motors are maintenance free.

Are the DragonEbikes light enough to be lifted without help?

We have different styles of Ebikes to suit different market segments. Our Three Wheeled and Scooter Style Ebikes range in weight from 75 to 175 lbs. So lifting these bikes would be a bit of a challenge. However, they are scooter style Ebikes and are not intended to be easily transported. Our Bicycle and Folding Bicycle style Ebikes are made with aluminum frames and lithium ion batteries. This reduces the weight considerably to less than 60 lbs. which means the bikes are easily lifted by one person. The motor is located on the rear wheel hub and so the back is heavier than the front but is still easily manageable.

How do I know when the battery is low?

All the batteries have indicators on them so you always know how much power is in each one or the scooter style Ebikes have power gauges on the front dash. If it is getting low and you don’t think you will make it to your destination, you can switch off your motor and keep it just for the difficult bits.

Do I have to wait for the battery to empty before I charge it?

No. The batteries we use do not suffer from ‘memory effect’. This means that there is no need to discharge a battery completely before you recharge it again. You can partially recharge the battery at any time without reducing its voltage or lifespan .

Do electric bikes recharge when freewheeling or coasting downhill?

Yes and no. The bikes do generate current when freewheeling, but generally speaking the amount of power produced is little more than a trickle charge and you would have to coast or freewheel for many miles to have a noticeable effect.

What is the best configuration for the electric motor – front or rear?

There are two main motor configurations found on the vast majority of electrically assisted bikes. Front mounted hub motor or rear wheel mounted hub motor. The front mounted hub motor is the simplest and cheapest engineering solution and is consequently found on many lower priced, lower quality electric bicycles. The main disadvantage of the front wheel hub is the lack of traction when tackling gradients (due to the bulk of the weight over the rear wheel) that can cause the front wheel to lose control and slip under power. Also the front wheel hub motor can also cause the front wheel to lose traction and spin in wet weather, which could be extremely dangerous. The rear wheel hub motor is more of an engineering challenge and therefore only found on higher end Ebikes. One of the main advantages of rear wheel drive Ebikes is a more balanced and superior traction due to the rear bias of weight distribution on all bike types. This provides superior handling in wet weather conditions and better traction control when cycling up gradients.