n. A bicycle equipped with an electric motor that assists the rider's pedaling.
Previously, e-bikes and pedelecs — bicycles fitted with small motors — were required to share the road with motorists, though the laws were decidedly fuzzy.
—Chris Bateman, “E-bikes will now be allowed to use Toronto bike lanes,” blogTO, February 21, 2014
Electric bikes are divided into two broad categories. Officially, an e-bike is an electric bike that can be controlled with a throttle and doesn't require the rider to pedal. A pedelec (pedal-electric) is an electric bike whose motor is activated only when a rider pedals.
—Scott McCredie, “The Great Leveler,” The Seattle Times, December 28, 1999
1985 (earliest)
Pedelec, a company set to start manufacture of a battery-assisted bicycle, has offers of aid from the two countries and overtures from the Welsh Development Agency.
—Geoff Andrews, “UK News in Brief: London could lose jobs boost,” The Guardian, May 25, 1985