Ottawa e-Bike (Electric Bike) Rider charged twice for Impaired Driving in August, 2009

Update:

E-Bikes, which the Ontario Government allowed on the roads, as part of a three (3) year pilot project commencing in October 2006, are classified as “bicycles” in accordance with the Ontario Highway Traffic Act; they are classified as “motor vehicles” for the purposes of the Canadian Criminal Code. The definition of Motor Vehicle under the Criminal Code is “a motor vehicle that is drawn, propelled or driven by any means other than muscular power, but does not include railway equipment.” Operating any vehicle under this definition while your ability is impaired by alcohol or drugs may lead to a free ride in a police cruiser and a criminal charge.

Ottawa Police announced through a Press Release today, that Mr. Pietro Caraccoilo, a 34 year old resident of Ottawa, was charged with two counts of impaired driving, while operating his e-Bike on the streets of Ottawa, Ontario. The first charge took place on August 18, 2009 and the second charge took place on August 28, 2009. He is scheduled to appear in court on these charges on Monday, September 14, 2009.

This isn’t the first time there has been come controversy surrounding e-Bikes:

In Toronto e-Bike riders were riding on Toronto’s sidewalk’s and the Public Works Committee was being asked to examine this problem and eliminate the legal loophole that allowed for it to happen.

e-Bikes in Toronto.

Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) to the Ontario Pilot Project respecting e-Bikes.

Laws that are applicable to e-Bikes can be confusing.

Power Assisted Bicycles: (also known as an “e-bike“)

In Ontario, in order to operate a power-assisted bicycle, the rider has to be at least sixteen (16) years of age and must be wearing a bicycle approved (C.S.A. approved) helmet while riding an e-bike.

These e-bikes or Power-Assisted Bicycles can achieve a maximum speed of thirty-two (32) kilometers per hour.

The legislation surrounding the use of an e-bike is unique in every Province and Territory

    British Columbia (sections 182.1 to 184 inclusive of the BC Motor Vehicle Act)
    allow these bikes for public road use and are not defining them as motor vehicles
    Age restriction must be at least sixteen (16) years of age to operate this bike
    Alberta
    allow these bikes for public road use and are not defining them as motor vehicles
    Age restriction must be at least twelve (12) years of age to operate
    Saskatchewan
    all these bikes for public road use and are not defining them as motor vehicles
    Manitoba
    allow these bikes for public road use and are not defining them as motor vehicles
    Age restriction must be at least fourteen (14) years of age to operate
    Ontario
    allow these bikes for public road use and are not defining them as motor vehicles
    Age restriction must be at least sixteen (16) years of age to operate
    Quebec
    allow these bikes for public road use and are not defining them as motor vehicle
    Age restriction must be at least sixteen (16) years of age to operate
    Nova Scotia
    allow these bikes for public road use and are not defining them as motor vehicles
    Newfoundland & Labrador
    allow these bikes for public road use and are not defining them as motor vehicles
    Yukon Territory
    allow these bikes for public road use and are not defining them as motor vehicles

These e-bikes cost anywhere from $1,000.00 to $ 2,500.00 in Ontario.

An e-bike or Power-Assisted Bicycle is defined in section 2 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (Canada).

Even though an e-bike is not defined as a “motor vehicle” in Ontario yet, every operator of one must ride it in a safe manner, so they must wear an approved bicycle helmet, have proper equipment (ie. Lights that work, Brakes that work and a Bell that rings)

Will the fines for an e-bike be the same as those on a traditional bicycle?

Yes – the same sanctions apply with respect to the normal rules of the road and the equipment standards. Other fines, ie – riding an e-bike without a helmet, or riding an e-bike under the age of sixteen (16) would attract stiffer fines, ranging from $ 250.00 to $ 2,500.00.

In addition to the set fine, is the court fee (normally $ 5.00) and the victim fine surcharge.

For more information go to this link: http://fightyourtickets.ca/law/motorcycles-and-mopeds/

Update: June 10, 2010 – What are the rules about Drinking and Biking?

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