Motor Assisted Cycles

Motor Assisted CycleAre you going green? Is a motor assisted cycle something that you are considering the purchase of to help you get around? Adding an electric motor to a bicycle to help out with the chore of pedalling uphill or giving a boost to your efforts on level ground sure sounds good!

A motor assisted cycle is described in B.C.'s Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation. Among other requirements:

  • It may have an electric motor of 500 watts or less
  • It must not travel faster than 32 km/h on level ground when propelled by the motor alone
  • It must be switched on or off by the rider or controlled by a switch that will not let the motor start until a speed of 3 km/h has been attained by pedalling
  • The motor must disengage when the rider quits pedalling, applies the brake or releases the accelerator
  • It must have pedals to allow the rider to move it by muscular power

Anyone 16 years of age or older may operate a motor assisted cycle in the same manner as a bicycle. No driver's license, vehicle license or insurance is required, but a bicycle helmet is mandatory.

If the motor assisted cycle does not meet the requirements of the regulation such as a larger motor, modifications made to remove the pedals or change the way in which the motor operates it becomes a motorcycle in the eyes of the Motor Vehicle Act. This means the rider needs a motorcycle helmet, driver's license, vehicle license and insurance.

Still interested? When you are shopping for your new motor assisted cycle, look for a permanently attached label that identifies the machine as a "power assisted bicycle" and meets all the requirements under section 2(1) of the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations.

Enjoy your ride!

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