Last Updated: June 25, 2010
Environmental concerns, along with rising gas prices, have prompted many people to consider alternatives to driving a car to get where they need to go. While some people may ride a bike, walk or use public transport others are looking at options such as e-bikes, power cycles, mopeds or motorcycles. For many people these means of transportation provide a convenient inexpensive way to get around.
However, when considering these types of transportation it is important to keep both safety and licensing requirements in mind. One thing all these vehicles have in common is that the rider has much less protection than people in cars or vans. This increases the likelihood of serious injuries if there is an accident. Education through safety courses and appropriate safety equipment, such as an approved helmet, can help to reduce accidents and reduce the severity of injuries if an accident does occur.
Before using these types of vehicles on public roads it is important to find out how the vehicle is classified and the licensing, registration and other requirements that are in place for the particular type of vehicle you will be riding. In Saskatchewan there are three different classifications for these methods of transportation - Electric Assist Bicycles, Power Cycles and Motorcycles.
Electric Assist Bicycles have pedals and an electric motor and are designed to be used with a combination of muscle power and power from the electric motor. To meet this classification the motor must be electric, must be no larger than 500 watts and must be capable of going a maximum of 32 kilometres per hour on a level surface. If the bike meets these requirements the operator does not need a driver's licence, the bike does not need to be registered through SGI and it is treated the same way as a bicycle with regard to the rules of the road. The operator must wear a helmet and municipal bylaws may require a sticker. Municipal regulations may also restrict the areas in which these bikes can be operated.
Power Cycles differ from Electric Assist Bicycles because, while they still have pedals, they are primarily propelled by the electric motor. To be classified as a Power Cycle the electric motor must meet the same requirements as the motor on an Electric Assist Bicycle regarding the capacity of the motor and the maximum speed it can obtain on a level surface. The operator of a Power Cycle must hold a valid driver's licence. In all other ways it is treated the same as an Electric Bicycle in that it does not need to be registered as a vehicle, a helmet must be worn and it is treated like a bike as far as the rules of the road are concerned.
A Power Cycle that has a motor that is larger than 500 watts, or that does not have pedals is classified as a motorcycle. As well any cycle that is powered with a gas motor is treated like a motorcycle. Once a bike is classified as a motorcycle a number of additional requirements apply.
To operate a motorcycle you must have a motorcycle licence. The first step is to pass the written test as well as the medical and vision requirements. Once this is done you will receive a learner's motorcycle licence. This licence allows you to operate a motorcycle for learning purposes. Although it is not mandatory, taking a motorcycle safety course is highly recommended. There are restrictions on a learners' motorcycle licence including not operating the motorcycle in the dark and not driving it outside of a 100 kilometre radius of your address. Once you have had a learners' licence for nine months you can take a road test to get your motorcycle licence. Motorcycles must be registered through SGI. Motorcycles are also required to have certain equipment and a Motorcycle Inspection Certificate may be required. A motorcycle is treated like a car for the purpose of traffic safety rules, although there are specific rules for motorcycles such as the requirement to wear an approved helmet.
For more information on using, licensing and registering these types of vehicles visit SGI's website at www.sgi.sk.ca.ISBN/ISSN number: 1918-1728