- Bicycles, including eBikes, are classified as vehicles under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act—so when you’re riding one, you have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers on the road. In Calgary, however, you’ll also have to follow a few specific bylaws.
- Safety regulations include the mandatory use of helmets for eBikers of all ages. All bikes, pedal or electric, must have at least one working brake, a bell or horn, and lights and reflectors for visibility in low light conditions. You’re also required to use appropriate hand signals and do a shoulder check before turning or changing lanes.
- Pathway bylaws in Calgary set a speed limit of 20 km/hr for eBikes. You’ll also have to stick to established trails, avoid cycling with leashed dogs, use lights during dark hours, and use an audible signal when overtaking another user.
- There are exceptions to regular eBike laws in Calgary, such as allowing electric-assisted bicycles, skateboards, scooters, segways, electric unicycles, and hoverboards on city pathways. However, juiced scrambler eBikes are not allowed on city pathways, and eBikes are not allowed on city sidewalks while using pedal assist.
Hey Calgary eBikers! Ready to take the city by storm with your new electric bike? There's nothing quite like feeling that breeze in your face as you zip through the streets of Calgary on a brand new, high-quality electric bicycle. But before you put the pedal to the metal, you've got to be in the know about some important cycling laws and safety tips.
Here at Calgary eBikes, there are two things we know forwards and backwards: the bikes we sell and the city we sell them to ride in. Let's make sure we're all up to speed so we can ride safely, responsibly, and—most importantly—have fun!
Understanding Calgary’s Cycling Bylaws
You might not think it, but bicycles, including eBikes, are classified as vehicles under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act. This means when you're out riding your eBike, you've got many of the same rights—and responsibilities—as drivers on the road.
On top of that, the City of Calgary has its own set of bylaws you need to follow whether you're cruising down the city pathways or roadways. Check out Calgary’s eBike bylaws here or keep reading to have us break them down for you in basic terms.
Safety First: Alberta’s Provincial Cycling Laws
So, what are the laws you need to know? Let's start with the basics:
- Helmet's Up!: If you're under 18 and riding a pedal bicycle, helmets are a must. For our eBikers, helmets are required regardless of age—because safety never goes out of style. For helmet specifications that meet Canadian safety standards, check out Part 6, Division 5, Sections 111 and 112 of the Alberta Traffic Safety Act.
- The Essentials: All bikes, pedal or electric, must have:
- At least one working brake
- A bell or horn
- A white-light headlight (no more than two), a red-light tail light, and a red rear reflector when riding at dawn, dusk, or in the dark. Visibility is key to staying safe on the roads!
- Rules of the Road: All bike and eBike riders need to use appropriate hand signals and do a shoulder check before turning or changing lanes. Remember, we share the road with others and clear communication is crucial to avoid accidents.
Further reading: Don’t forget to refer to the following pieces of legislation so that you can stay updated on regulations as they change:
- Traffic Safety Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. T-6 (TSA)
- Vehicle Equipment Regulation, Alta. Reg. 122/2009 (VER)
- Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation, Alta. Reg. 304/2002 (RR)
- City of Calgary Traffic Bylaw, 26M96 (TBl)
- City of Calgary Parks and Pathways Bylaw, 11M2019 (PPBl)
Pathway Bylaws & Safety Tips
Pedaling down Calgary's beautiful bike paths? Keep these rules in mind:
- Speed Limit: Keep your speed to a max of 20km/hr, unless otherwise posted. We all love a good rush, but your eBike isn’t the vehicle to try making your fan-made Fast & Furious stunt reel on. While our eBikes from Surface604 and Michael Blast are capable of going much faster than this limit, you should only open them up to their maximum speed when you’re cruising down the open road.
- Pathway Etiquette: Stick to the pathways and established trails to protect the habitat. Cycling with a leashed dog on the pathway isn’t allowed. Remember to always be respectful of our shared spaces.
- Light It Up: When riding between sunset and sunrise, equip your bike with a forward-facing white light and a rear red reflector. Stay seen, stay safe!
- Pass with Care: When overtaking another pathway user, always use an audible signal (like your bell). A friendly heads-up goes a long way in preventing accidents.
Remember to keep these additional safety tips in mind:
- Ride single file
- Move off to the right when stopping
- Avoid using hand-held tech while moving
- Keep volume low on headsets
- Watch for slippery sections
- Keep your eyes forward
- Stay to the right except when passing
- Yield the right-of-way to users on the right at intersections
- Always signal when you're passing or approaching a blind spot like a corner or hill
Exceptions to Regular Calgary eBike Laws
Electric-assisted bicycles, skateboards, scooters, segways, electric unicycles, and hoverboards are permitted on Calgary Pathways according to the Parks and Pathway Bylaw. However, do note that juiced scrambler eBikes are not permitted on city pathways. The old school motorcycle-inspired Michael Blast Outsider, for example, is a fantastic-looking and comfortable ride—but you should stick to the street or dirt trails to make sure you avoid getting stopped on it.
Lastly, remember that no matter what kind of eBike you're on, they're not allowed on city sidewalks while you’re using pedal assist. Turn pedal assist off and you should be fine—just don’t power up in places where folks are walking or pushing baby carriages!
Power Your Next Adventure
Now that you’re up to speed on the laws of the eBiking land in Calgary, it’s time to find your eBike, get out there, be safe, have fun, and enjoy the ride. Stay tuned to the Calgary eBikes blog for more updates and tips to keep your eBiking experience exhilarating and eco-friendly. Happy riding, Calgary!