Toronto, located in the Canadian province of Ontario, is the most populous city in Canada. Toronto is known as an international hub for business, finance, theatre, arts, film and television production, and culture, and is also recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world!
If you are thinking of taking an e-bike trip to Toronto, this article will help you plan your trip and answer all the questions you may have!
E-biking rules in Toronto
When using an e-bike in Toronto, riders must be sure that their vehicle abides by the province of Ontario’s electric bicycle laws.
As such, e-bikes are required to have:
- Steering handlebars
- Working pedals
- An electric motor that does not exceed 500W
- Maximum speed of 32 km/h (20 mph)
- Maximum weight of 120 kg
- A permanent label from the manufacturer in both English and French, stating the e-bike conforms to the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle
Riders must also be 16 or older to operate an e-bike, wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet, and abide by the road laws which apply to traditional bicycles. For example, pedelec e-bikes are allowed to ride on roadways, bike lanes, cycle tracks, and multi-use trails and paths, but both traditional and electric bikes are not permitted to ride on sidewalks. For more information about cycling laws, visit the City of Toronto’s “Cycling & the Law” webpage.
For taking your e-bike with you on public transit, here are a few things to keep in mind. First, the Toronto transit system is called the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission), which includes trains, buses, and streetcars. Second, e-bikes are not permitted on bike racks that are fitted on the front of buses.
However, electric bicycles are permitted on subway trains and streetcars at certain times of the day: between Monday and Friday before 6:30AM, between 10AM and 3:30PM, and after 7PM, and at any time on weekends and statutory holidays.
For bike parking in the city, cyclists have a number of options which include bicycle lockers, bicycle stations, bicycle corrals, and bicycle lock-up rings. Bike corral locations can be found on this online map here. Lock-up posts and rings can be found throughout the city, providing safe bike parking on narrow and typically confined sidewalks, with each post/ring providing the capacity to fit two bikes side by side. Find more information about bicycle parking on this webpage here!
Is Toronto e-bike friendly?
With various cycle paths, trails, and parks to explore by bike, Toronto is a very bike-accessible city!
Some of the most popular cycling routes include Toronto Waterfront Trail, Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto Islands, Humber Valley Trail, Don Valley Bike Path, Bayview Multi-Use Trail, High Park Loops, Moore Park Ravine, Kay Gardiner Beltline, and the Finch Hydro Corridor Recreational Trail. Access the Toronto Cycling Map to plan your bike routes in the city!
When it comes to charging your e-bike in Toronto, here’s what you need to know. First, there is the option to rent your e-bike through Bikeshare Toronto. Visitors can locate a Bikeshare station through an online system map, and look for a small white lightning bolt icon that indicates an available e-bike at the dock.
These e-bikes will charge overnight and will only be able to rent from a dock if they are at least 20% charged. However, if you are choosing an e-bike outside of Bikeshare Toronto, you can refer to Chargehub’s map of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in the city, where you may be able to charge your e-bike.
If you’re looking to rent an e-bike when visiting Toronto, here are some options! Mike the Bike offers daily rentals; Zygg is a company that offers a subscription service for e-bikes in weekly, month to month, or annual increments; Pedego – Toronto offers e-bike rentals by the hour; and lastly, Zoomo is another subscription-based e-bike service that offers weekly or longer-term rental options.
How is the weather and city traffic in Toronto? Is it fun to ride an e-bike in Toronto?
For cyclists visiting Toronto, keep in mind that rush hour traffic runs from 6AM – 10AM and 3PM – 7PM on weekdays. Because the roads experience heavy congestion during rush hour, we recommend cyclists avoid major streets during these times.
According to experts, the best time of year to visit Toronto is between late April through May, and September through October. This is because the summer months (June through August) are considered peak tourist season, making for a crowded city and pricey accommodations.
However, if you are interested in experiencing the city’s annual summer events like the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), Toronto Caribbean Carnival, Pride Week, Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival, and Beaches International Jazz Festival, then summertime is the right time for you. Just make sure to book any accommodations well in advance!
Between April and May, temperatures range between 10 – 20 degrees Celsius (50s – 60s Fahrenheit), making for pleasant weather ideal for sightseeing. Additionally, hotel prices tend to be lower. However, evenings can still get chilly during this time, so be sure to pack extra layers.
September through October often sees many days of lingering summer weather, lower accommodation prices, and beautiful autumnal scenery. Early September is also when the Toronto International Film Festival takes place, so if you are a film buff, this is the time for you!
November through March are when the weather starts to cool down significantly, bringing about the frigid winter season in Toronto. Since winters can get quite snowy, cold, and icy, we don’t recommend cyclists visit during these months.
While you’re in Toronto, don’t forget to see the city’s most popular attractions! This includes Toronto Island Park, CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, Hockey Hall of Fame, St. Lawrence Market, Distillery Historic District, High Park, Rogers Centre, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Scarborough Bluffs.
Toronto city landscape, the best type(s) of e-bikes to ride in this city
While certain parts of Toronto are primarily flat and paved, the expansive city includes a diverse range of landscapes. With hills, unpaved trails, and winding roads also thrown into the mix, the type of e-bike you get should depend on the areas of the city and the types of routes you are planning to take.
If you are looking to primarily traverse roads and paved trails, a city cruiser or commuter e-bike will be suitable. However, if you are planning to explore Toronto’s parks and hilly or unpaved regions, a hybrid e-bike is recommended.
Where can I buy an e-bike in Toronto?
If you are interested in buying an e-bike in Toronto, there are many bike shops you can choose from!
Companies like Amego, Motor X, Jacob Cycle, UCycle, Sweet Pete’s, and Red Sky all have physical stores in Toronto, and offer both in-store pickup or shipping options for your e-bike. Additionally, Gazelle E-Bikes gives customers the chance to shop from their brand online and pick up their e-bike at certain local bike stores.
For online-only options which ship the e-bikes directly to you, choose from major companies like Epic Cycles, Scooteretti, and Emmo. The company Movin’ also offers free shipping to customers within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Where can I repair an e-bike in Toronto?
For e-bike repairs in Toronto, there are a few options for you! The company Repair and Run offer both in-store and “come to you” repairs for e-bikes, which include tune-ups and full servicing and replacements. Next, E-bike Repair Toronto is located in downtown Toronto and offers full-service repairs. Lastly, Mike the Bike offers some e-bike repairs such as brake adjust and tire replacements.
Where can I recycle e-bike batteries in Toronto?
If you need to recycle your e-bike battery while in Toronto, the city’s website has a Waste Wizard directory where you can look up where to recycle your battery, based on the battery type (e.g. lithium ion battery). Some examples of drop-off spots include Drop-Off Depots or Community Environment Days.
Additionally, visitors can use the Call2Recycle locator to find recycling locations in Toronto. Some of the locations listed include Home Depot, Dismount Bike Shop, Staples, Ingram Transfer Station, Canadian Tire, Rexall, and RONA.
Now that you’re prepared for your e-bike trip to Toronto, we wish you a safe and happy journey!
Read also: Check out Canada’s best travel destinations by electric bike in this overview article.