Starting from January 1, 2020, a five-year pilot project is launched in Ontario allowing the use of electric scooters on Ontario’s roads. In short, Ontario citizens are now able to ride on any road that bicycles can, with a maximum speed of 24 km/h.
There are, however, obvious safety concerns with the electric scooters, and the main concern is that those who drive the electric scooters may not be well enough equipped with the legalities of the road.
Here, we will discuss the pilot project and the legalities of electric scooters in Ontario with TekTrendy – an electric scooter store based in Toronto.
Electric Scooter Regulation in Ontario
Ontario’s law defined an electric scooter (or precisely “electric kick-scooter”) as a vehicle that:
- Has two wheels, one at the front and one at the rear
- Has a platform for standing between the two wheels
- Has a steering handlebar that acts directly on the wheel
- Has an electric motor not exceeding 500 watts
- Has a maximum speed of 24 km/h
The law prohibits operating the electric scooter on a highway except where bicycle lanes are provided on the highway. In this case, the electric scooter can and shall only be driven on the bike lanes.
It’s worth noting that in Toronto, new bike lanes are being built to accommodate this rule. You are prohibited to ride your electric scooters on the sidewalk, except when the highway is located in an underpass or tunnel. In such cases, the electric scooter may be operated on a sidewalk in the tunnel rather than the bicycle lane.
In areas where bicycle lanes are not provided, or when the municipal law prohibits electric scooter in bicycle lanes, then electric scooters can be operated when:
- There is a shoulder on the highway, as close to the right edge of the shoulder as possible
- When there’s no shoulder on the highway, on the right side of the roadway as close to the edge of the roadway as possible
General Rules To Follow
Here are some important rules to follow regarding the legality of electric scooters in Ontario:
- You must be at least 16 years of age before you can operate an electric scooter (no electric scooter license is required at the moment)
- No drugs or alcohol permitted when driving an electric scooter
- If you are under 18 years old, you should wear a helmet designated for bicycle riding.
- You must not carry any other person (passenger)
- You must not tow any vehicle, device, or person
- You must not attach the electric scooter (or yourself) to another electric scooter or another vehicle with the purpose of being towed
- You must not carry and/or attach any basket
- You can only operate the electric scooter while standing at all times
- You must not carry any cargo on an electric scooter
- You must not leave the electric scooter in a location that is intended for pedestrian or vehicle passage
- Not for commercial use
In operating the electric scooter, you must always keep a safe distance from pedestrians and other users of the road. Every electric scooter must be equipped with a bell or horn that is in good working order and should be sounded to notify others of its approach.
Also, the electric scooter must have a yellow or white light at the front and a red light at the rear. If the electric scooter doesn’t feature these lights, the operator can wear it on his or her person.
Rules about Vehicle and Safety
The electric scooter must have one or more batteries which are the only source of power to the electric scooter’s motor.
Electric scooters in Ontario are prohibited from having:
- Any pedals attached to it
- A basket attached to it
- A seat, structure, or surface that could be used as a seat
- Wheels with a diameter of more than 430 millimetres
- Any structure to enclose the scooter
The weight of the electric scooter (including the weight of the battery) must not be more than 45 kg, and the battery and motor of the electric cooter must be securely fastened to the scooter itself. This is to prevent them from moving while the scooter is in motion.
Some other prohibitions are:
- All electronic terminals on the electric scooter must be completely covered and insulated (to prevent fire accidents)
- The electric scooter must not be modified from what the manufacturer’s intended, especially in ways that will increase the power above 500W and/or the top speed above 24 km/h. Essentially, beyond the limits set out in the definition of an electric scooter or electric kick-scooter above
- When the accelerator is released or the brakes are applied, the motor of the electric scooter must stop propelling
- The braking system of the said electric scooter must be capable of bringing the electric scooter to a full stop within nine metres from where the brakes are applied when the electric scooter is operated at a speed of 24 km/h when done on a clean, level, and paved surface.
- The electric scooter and all its components must be maintained in good working order when operated at all times
Conclusion and Summary
Keep in mind that the legality of the electric scooters in Ontario is still based on the pilot project and nothing is set in stone so far. However, here are some key elements of the regulations related to the Ontario electric scooter pilot project:
- A 5-year pilot starting from January 1, 2020
- The maximum power output of the scooter is 500W
- The maximum speed of 24 km/h
- Must have two wheels, one at the front and one at the back, and must have at least one brake
- You don’t need an electric scooter license at the moment
- Operators must be at least 16 years of age
- Riders must stand at all times when operating the electric scooter
- No passengers allowed
- No cargo is allowed
- No baskets allowed
- Maximum wheel diameter is 17 inches
- The electric scooter must have a horn or bell to notify pedestrians and/or other vehicles
- Must have at least one yellow/amber/white light on the front of the scooter and one red light on the rear