Durham puts safety regulations on e-scooters through new bylaw from Whitby HQ


Published May 9, 2022 at 12:40 pm

The Region of Durham has put some new regulations on electric scooter usage to ensure the new micro-vehicles are safe for use across all municipalities through a new bylaw.

The Ontario government kicked off a five-year pilot program for to allow e-scooter use throughout the province on January 1, 2020.

While the Queen’s Park plan set out certain restrictions, such as a maximum speed and the need for helmet for youth, Ontario largely left regulation up to local municipalities.

Ontario required;

  • a maximum speed of 24 km/h on a level surface
  • a maximum weight of 45 kg
  • a maximum power output of 500 watts
  • two wheels and brakes
  • a horn or bell
  • at least one white light on front, one red light on rear and reflective material on sides
  • a maximum wheel diameter of 17 inches

Drivers must also be at least 16 years old and stand at all times. If the driver is under 18, the Province requires them to wear a helmet. While there is no regulation for adults to use helmets, the Region still encourages all riders to wear a bike helmet.

Like bicyclists, anyone riding an e-scooter is subject to the Highway Traffic Act. Violations of the HTA can fetch riders fines from $250 to $2,500.

Left up to municipalities was the ability to regulate where folk can ride an e-scooter, whether on the road, sidewalks, or bike paths for example. Ontario also left insurance and business licencing up to the local governments.

The Region has elected to allow the scooters on bike lanes on roads under their jurisdiction. If there is no bike lane riders can use the main thoroughfare as close to the shoulder as possible.

Only one person is allowed on each scooter and riders are not permitted to pull any wagons or trolleys along behind them. Purses and backpacks are allowed however.

Riders are to leave one metre between them and any pedestrians or other vehicles. Every scooter needs a horn or bell, a white light in the front, a red light on the back and reflectors on either side. Baskets, pedals and seats are forbidden under Ontario law.

Riders have to park their scooters upright anywhere one can park a bike. This includes ring and post racks, corrals that can support an upright device and charging stations. They are not permitted to leave them just out on the sidewalk or in the street.

“E-mobility devices, such as e-scooters and e-bikes, offer a safe, efficient and cost-friendly alternative mode of transportation. This new by-law will help residents complete short distance trips quicker than walking or traditional cycling,” said Brian Bridgeman, Durham’s Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development.

By helping travelers complete the first or last kilometres of travel, e-scooters and e-bikes connect travelers to their destinations and provide more options for residents and visitors to explore Durham Region,” he continued.

The new bylaw will stand until November 27, 2024 or the end of the pilot project, set for January 1, 2025 but could  potentially  come sooner.

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