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null What you need to know before buying an e-bike

Types of e-bikes: pedelecs vs. e-scooters

Most major cities across Canada recognize two categories of e-bikes: pedelecs and e-scooters – but there are different features and road regulations that apply to each. Here’s an overview of the two main types:

Pedelecs (E-bikes)

  • Are like bicycles in that they must have pedals and steering handlebars
  • Must be operated by someone 16 years or older (in most provinces)
  • Operators are required to wear a helmet
  • Can sometimes be used on trails and bike lanes, depending on local regulations
  • Can’t travel faster than 32 km/h or exceed a weight limit of 120 kg

Please note: all e-bike operators are required to follow the driving rules outlined in their provincial Highway Traffic Act. Also: you may not be allowed to ride an e-bike if you have a suspended driver’s license.


  • Are like traditional scooters, but are battery-operated for ease of use 
  • Do not have a seat, pedals, basket or enclosure and are operated while standing
  • Must be operated by someone 16 years or older (in most provinces)
  • Have a maximum wheel diameter of 17 inches
  • Can only be operated in certain municipalities and can’t be used on highways
  • Cannot exceed speeds higher than 24 km/h

Please note: when it comes to road regulations, e-scooters are treated the same as cyclists.

Confirm with your municipality

When it comes to parking, most bylaws don’t currently address any type of e-bike – so you should be able to park both a pedelec or an e-scooter wherever you can park a car or wherever you can lock up a bike. However, it’s always best to check your municipal website since exact rules about the parking and operation of e-bikes can differ from place to place.

Gas-powered vehicles, like mopeds

It’s easy to confuse electric-scooters or e-scooters with mopeds since these types of vehicles are often generically referred to as “scooters” too. However, a moped is typically gas-powered (although some battery-operated models are now on the market) and are larger, more powerful and more closely associated with that of a motorcycle than a bike or traditional scooter. They also require you to have a basic motorcycle license before you can legally operate one – and they require an official license plate and proper insurance.

Do you need to insure your e-bike or e-scooter?

Unless it’s a moped, the answer is technically no. Since both e-bikes and e-scooters are classified as micro-mobility vehicles, there’s no insurance requirement to operate them.

If you’re looking to purchase a moped, you will need to register your vehicle with the province, show proof of insurance, and ensure you have proper third-party liability coverage (the minimum required is often $200,000 but you may want to consider a higher amount). Some provinces don’t require you to have collision coverage, but it can be a good idea to help cover the cost of any damage to your moped if you’re involved in an accident.

The choice is yours!

Using a micro-mobility vehicle is a great way to get around without you having to use much effort but choosing the right one will depend on your own unique needs and preferences. Be sure to follow up with your local municipality to familiarize yourself with all the rules and requirements before you buy. 

What you need to know before buying an e-bike

Mid-twenties male and female riding e-scooters side by side down a pedestrian roadway.

Small and light-weight electric vehicles (commonly known as “micro-mobility”e-vehicles) like e-bikes and e-scooters are gaining popularity, but here’s what you need to know before you buy.

These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.

In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.

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