It's official: effective January 1st, 2020, Ontario's government has introduced a pilot program allowing the use of electric scooters. Ontario joins Alberta and Quebec amongst the ever-growing number of Canadian provinces allowing e-scooters on their streets. The pilot program falls under the Ontario Regulation 389/19 made under the Highway Traffic Act and abides by a set of regulations and guidelines that, compared to provinces such as Quebec, are more welcoming towards the electric scooter community!
Everything you need to know about the new electric scooter laws introduced in Ontario on January 1, 2020.
A brief history of electric scooters.
A quick history on the electric scooter sharing trend – ever since Bird and Lime introduced their dockless electric scooters in 2017 in California, they’ve taken the world by storm and today, Bird and Lime alone have over 20 million riders subscribed to their service. Bird has a valuation of $2.5 billion and the global scooter market is predicted to be worth between $300-$500 billion by 2030. Much of the industry's fast-growing success can be attributed to how effectively it resolves the following key transportation issues:
- Convenience: Over 70% of Canadians in major cities use their personal car to travel less than 5km a day. Bringing in micro-mobility solutions such as electric scooters allows individuals to ride from home to their closest public transit system or workplace within minutes, providing a cheaper and more sustainable alternative.
- Cost: In the US, 60% of car trips fall within the last mile mobility range of 0-7km. The amount of time, money, opportunity cost and even parking fees that can be saved with electric scooters, make them a logical successor to personal gas vehicles.
- Sustainability: Being powered by electric sources, electric scooters have zero carbon emissions (direct). Their weight allows them to be much more efficient, allowing them to travel 20 times further than an electric car on the basis of 1 kilowatt/hour of energy consumed. Although indirect carbon emissions are present during production of the scooters, they still remain a cleaner alternative to gas-powered vehicles.
Ontario Regulation 389/19
The Ontario Government has set guidelines and regulations for electric scooters; however, it is up to the local municipalities to decide which by-laws they choose to adopt, based on what they deem safe in their local jurisdiction. Keep this in mind while reading the guidelines below and we strongly recommend that you reach out to your local municipality to determine what is permitted in your area.
- Motor Capacity: Maximum power output of 500W with a maximum speed of 24km/h.
- Specifications: Maximum weight of 45kg, maximum wheel diameter of 17 inches
- Accessories: Must have a horn/bell, front and back light, 2 wheels and brakes, no seats or pedals permitted.
- Age: Minimum 16 years of age. If you are under 18 years old, you must wear a helmet.
- Other: No passengers allowed (1 person per scooter), no baskets or cargo carried, not to be used on sidewalks, not for commercial use.
- Important: No drugs or alcohol permitted during operating (criminal punishment may apply)
A number of questions remain to be answered by individual municipalities. Please check in with your local police department for more details. The main questions we would encourage inquiring about are:
- Where e-scooters will be allowed to travel (bike paths, parks, trails, etc.)
- How e-scooters will integrate with other road users (bikes, pedestrians etc.)
- Offences: Similar to bicycles, the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA) rules of the road apply to e-scooters in Ontario. Fines can range from $250 - $2,500 and serious consequences for drug/alcohol use while driving an electric scooter will be enforced.
There you have it: a simplified version of the pilot program that, in our opinion, is very fair for electric scooter riders. Again, the final decision on the laws and regulation of the use of electric scooters is up to your local municipality and we highly recommend giving them a call prior to purchasing an electric scooter. You can read the defined regulations and full act here.
Wondering which scooter suits your needs, and meets the requirements of the new Ontario regulations?
As Canada's largest electric scooter destination, Apollo Scooters has hand-picked the best quality scooters in accordance with the new regulations in order to help you make the right decision:
- Best Budget Scooter: Xiaomi M365 Pro. A 300W motor (speeds of up to 25km/h) and a 12 aH battery (30-35km range) at a price point of $750-$850 CAD. This is the best basic scooter to get you from A to B, weights only 13kgs and conveniently folds, making it the easiest to carry around. If you’re looking for a little more comfort (added suspension), the Segway ES4 is $50 more expensive but comes with suspension and a sleeker, more innovative design.
- Best Long Range Scooter For Commuters: Segway Ninebot max. Featuring a 350W motor (speed of up to 30km/h) which is slightly higher than the allowed regulation (this can be decreased to abide by the law), the Ninebot Max stands out due to its battery distance of 50KM on one charge. If you’re doing long commutes on the daily, this is your best budget scooter for the job! This is priced at $1,049 CAD.
- Best Speed and Acceleration: Mercane WideWheel 2019. Dual spring suspension, dual 500W motors and a 13.2aH battery, this scooter is not for the faint hearted. The legislation states a maximum of 500W motor output, which you can set on the Mercane to limit the speed at 25km/h (but this can be unlocked to 45km/h) – we don’t recommend to, as the laws clearly state 25km/h and Apollo is not liable for the unlocking of any of the Mercanes. This is priced at $1,199 CAD.
Thank you for reading our blog post, and if you have any scooter-related questions or comments, please reach out to us at email@example.com. We’re always happy to help clarify the regulation statements, help you find your perfect scooter, or even just have a chat.