Ebike from behind leaning up against a railing on a sunny day.
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Traumatic E-bike Injuries On The Rise In Canada

Traumatic E-bike Injuries On The Rise In Canada

E-bikes are all the rage in Canada these days. The prices have fallen drastically, and the technology is getting better every year. People use them everyday all over the country, but does anyone stop to ask if they are safe to use?

E-bikes have the capacity to accelerate riders from speeds of 20 km/h to almost 50 km/h, surpassing the typical pace of a Tour de France cyclist. Generally, e-bikes weigh between 20 kg to over 35 kg, so the impact of an accident can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, when these types of accidents occur, individuals are frequently thrown off at high velocities; however, unlike motorcycle incidents, many of them are not equipped with protective gear.

So Are E-Bikes Dangerous? The Data Shows The Danger

According to an analysis conducted by Dr. Charles DiMaggio, who oversees injury research at New York University’s Langone Department of Surgery, e-bikes exhibit a threefold higher probability of leading to hospitalization in contrast to conventional pedal bicycles. Dr. DiMaggio’s study also reveals that e-bike accidents are similarly three times more prone to involve collisions with pedestrians when compared to both traditional bicycles and powered scooters.

New data reveals a stark reality: the incidence of accidents involving electric bike users surged twofold from 2016 to 2017. Shockingly, approximately 70% of those affected were identified as older adults, with a notable concentration among men aged 65 to 75 years.

Another recent study by a Dutch injury prevention organization found that e-bike riders had a 1.6 times higher likelihood of ending up in the emergency room compared to conventional cyclists between July 2020 and June 2021. Injuries were notably higher among e-bike riders (36 percent) than traditional cyclists (19 percent). Vulnerable groups included riders aged 12 to 17 (22 percent of victims) and women over 55 (47 percent of victims).

The study attributed 44 percent of all bicycle-related injuries, encompassing both conventional and electric bikes, to the riders’ own behavior and 32 percent to road conditions. Notably, these accidents typically impacted only the rider. Among the 110,000 traffic-related hospitalizations in the Netherlands, about two-thirds were cyclists, underscoring the significance of the findings.

A surgeon looking at a scan for brain trauma following an ebike injury
Surgeons' observations about e-bike injuries exhibit resemblances to those encountered in motorcycle accidents, such as head trauma.

What Injuries Are E-Bike Riders Sustaining?

In accordance with trauma surgeons’ observations, e-bike injuries exhibit resemblances to those encountered in motorcycle accidents. While comprehensive data is lacking, here is a collection of anecdotal insights into common e-bike injuries:

  • Patients show a heightened propensity for open fractures, wherein bones protrude through the skin.
  • Instances of polytrauma, involving multiple severe injuries to different body parts or organ systems, are more frequent.
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) level of care is often required.
  • Overall, injuries tend to be more severe.
  • Solid organ injuries can transpire.
  • Extremity fractures are notable.
  • Patients necessitate extended hospital stays and more frequent surgical interventions.
  • Injuries encompass head and neck trauma.
  • Traumatic brain injuries are prevalent.
  • Fractures of the spine occur.
  • Chest injuries are common.

As the Canadian legal terrain takes shape, it’s imperative to observe the regulatory framework that governs e-bike usage across Maritime provinces.

Man standing on the beach looking at the water with his ebike beside him.
The regulatory landscape across the different Maritime provinces for ebikes should be observed by riders.

The regulatory landscape across different Atlantic provinces includes:

  1. New Brunswick (NB):
  • In NB, e-bikes are regulated under the Motor Vehicle Act. To be classified as an e-bike, the vehicle must have:
  • A maximum power output of 500 watts (0.67 horsepower).
  • A maximum speed of 32 km/h (20 mph) on level ground without pedaling.
  • E-bikes must feature wheel rims larger than 22cm. The
  • seat must be positioned 68cm off the ground.
  • A headlight is mandatory for night-time operation.
  • A functional pedal system.
  • Does not require insurance.
  1. Nova Scotia (NS):
  • In NS, e-bikes are regulated under the Motor Vehicle Act. To be considered an e-bike, the vehicle must have:
  • A motor with a maximum power output of 500 watts.
  • A maximum speed of 32 km/h (20 mph) on level ground without pedaling.
  • The classification of power-assisted bicycles aligns them with standard pedal bicycles, allowing e-bikes to legally traverse highways.
  • A functional pedal system.
  • Does not require insurance.
  1. Prince Edward Island (PEI):
  • In PEI, e-bikes are regulated under the Highway Traffic Act. The criteria for e-bikes typically include:
  • A motor with a maximum power output of 500 watts.
  • A maximum speed of 32 km/h (20 mph) on level ground without pedaling.
  • A maximum weight of 120 kg
  • A functional pedal system.
  • Those aged 16 and above are permitted to operate an electric bike.
  • Does not require insurance.

Please note that regulations can change, and it’s crucial to verify the current requirements with the transportation departments or relevant authorities of each province (NB, NS, and PEI) to ensure you have the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding e-bike criteria and regulations.

Should You Have Insurance?

As you can see in the list above, insurance is not needed for e-bikes in any of the three Maritime provinces. But does that mean you shouldn’t have coverage?

It is always recommended that you have proper insurance due to liability issues. If you are uninsured, you have no recourse for compensation in the likelihood of an accident. You may fall under an umbrella for insurance with your home-owner’s insurance or may be able to add insurance for your bike. You should contact your insurance provider to find out more details.


In the midst of this e-bike revolution, Canadian cities are grappling with the transformation of urban mobility while also navigating the legal implications and safety concerns associated with e-scooter injuries. As the landscape evolves, personal injury law firms play a crucial role in understanding the nuances of these regulations and offering informed guidance and support to those impacted by e-bike accidents.

We ask that you ride safe and have fun.





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