No licence, no problem?


BTR electric cycle, with forks

A British Columbia company is selling a range of electric scooters based on the premise that a motorcycle licence is not required by the operator.

The little bikes are powered by a 500 W electric motor and can be recharged in four to seven hours, or more quickly with a rapid charger.

E-Ride Langley offers five models, all battery-powered, with 10-inch wheels front and rear drum "regenerative" brakes, and a range of 50 to 60 km.

They come with the usual motorcycle appliances, like mirrors, headlights, and a speedometer — though with a mandated 32 km/h top speed, that won’t be of much use. Some of the models use scooter-like "tangential" front suspension, while two of them use actual forks. Underseat storage is standard.

This kind of bike is called a motor assisted cycle in some provinces, meaning it’s a moped, and such niceties as driver’s licence and insurance may not be required. Best to check local regs before heading out on your world tour, however.

See them at There is also a store in Ontario, at Ridgeway, near Niagara Falls and Fort Erie.


  1. As co-owner of e-ride Langley I obviously have a vested interest in these machines. Although not fast, these bikes are certainly economical and environmentally friendly.

    In response to what Dave said about the way people are riding these things. There will always be people who are careless and ignore the rules no matter what they’re operating. Certainly these bikes are safer than a regular bicycle simply because there more visible.
    It’s the same with motorcycles; drivers need to be more aware of other types of vehicles on the road. You don’t hear about bikes crashing into cars too often.

  2. I hope ICBC wakes up to these things in BC too. “Squids on litrebikes” at least are required to wear a helmet (and their vanity requires the studly jacket and gloves at least, some even wear boots) and pass a skills test. The electro-scooter riders wear bicycle helmets and a ski jacket and only have to remember how to ride a “bicycle”.

  3. In Ontario I believe that battery assisted bicycles are under a 2 year trial. A lot of electric scooters have become available, most of which have pedals sticking out the sides so that they meet the requirement of being a bicycle (not that you can actually pedal them very well). The end result is that after the trial is over there is talk about rewording the definition to exclude such electric scooters (or put them in their own class). So a bunch of people may be stuck with having to get a license in the end.

  4. I wonder how long it will be before the accident statistics of these non-motorcycles start affecting our insurance rates…. The way I’ve seen these things ridden I would say a squid on an liter bike has a better chance of survival.

  5. There are loads of these in Vancouver. They are actually motor assisted [u]bicycles[/u]. Part of the requirements are that they have functional pedals (which most people remove). They generally stick to the areas of the road where a bicycle would ride. I just wish they [u]looked[/u] more like a bicycle rather than a motorbike so people wouldn’t get confused about their purpose.

  6. I appreciate the economy of these bikes, but I think that if you are going to ride on the road and especially in city traffic, you need a licence – preferably a motorcycle licence. I see far too many 50cc scooter riders putting around with horrible lane positioning, on the grease strip, not shoulder checking…it’s scary. Now I see many electric scooters, virtually silent and incapable of decent acceleration, pretending to be motorcycles and riding in traffic, with equally horrible riding habits. I’m all for personal freedom, but some mandatory training for these things is a good thing IMHO.

  7. In Alberta, a motor assisted bicycle is one step below a moped. No operators license or learners permit is required, no registration, no insurance is needed. The operator must be over 12, wear a DOT MC helmet, the bike must have lights on all the time. A moped requires at least a learner’s permit, an ordinary car license is OK as well, registration and insurance is also required. The major difference is weight, a motor assisted bicycle must be under 35 Kg. and unable to exceed 35 Kmh. Neither can have a clutch, engines must be under 50 cc. YMMV

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