Rules Governing The Use Of Power Assisted Bicycles

Countries such as the United States, Canada and Europe have in the past passed legislation in regard to electric bicycles. These are recognized by most jurisdictions as being distinct from the existing motorcycle and moped classifications due to the fact that they are more related to bicycles rather than their bigger cousins. Although national laws do define electric bikes, confusion still persists. In Canada and the United States, the existing national laws define the required safety equipment for every electric bicycle, although it is the role of the provinces and State to determine whatever is legal in regard to use of electric bicycles on roads.

In North Wales, the motor bicycles that are motor assisted with petrol or electric engines only require registration if the maximum output of the engine is more than 200 watts. Cycle riders who are exempted from registration are required to follow similar rules like those meant for cycles that lack motors as well as vehicles that require registration. In Victoria, a bicycle whose design requires human power to propel it through pedals may be incorporated with an attached petrol or electric powered motor. However, the power output of the motor must not be more than 200 watts.

The safety regulations for motor vehicles in Canada have defined bicycles that are power assisted. These bicycles consist of 2 or 3 wheels with an attachment of a 500 watts electric motor or less. This electric motor has the capability of being manually propelled. Furthermore, the set safety requirements are met by following certain regulations which include; whenever muscular power engages the electric bicycle, it is required to cease assistance whenever the muscular power stops. If an accelerator controller is used for providing its power, then it should cease power at the moment of braking and thus be unable to provide assistance that is above 32km/h. It will hence bear a permanently affixed label by the developer and appear in a location that is rather conspicuous stating that the vehicle is actually a bicycle with power-assist.

There are two categories of power-assisted bicycles in Saskatchewan and they include; a two or three wheeled bicycle that makes use of a motor and pedals simultaneously, and a power cycle that uses motor only or either motor and pedals. Both require a maximum 500 watt power engines and their speed should not be more than 20 mph (32 km/h). If they were to exceed this speed, the electric motor would cut out or the cycle would simply be unable to go at this speed even on a surface that is level. Power cycles are required to adhere to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to ensure the bicycle is power assisted. The power cycles are required to have a driver's license for learner's (class 7). Classes 1-5 are also permitted to operate under the same conditions. Both the electric assisted bicycle and the power cycle require helmets and are both regarded as bicycles whose users should conform to the road rules.

By: Levi Quinn