Ontario e-scooter pilot cleared for takeoff

It’s now up to individual municipalities to set rules on use of e-scooters on roads and sidewalks and to determine parking policies

The Ontario government has made it official: the most popular new platform for urban micro-mobility is about to be legal on public thoroughfares in Ontario. A five-year e-scooter pilot project will start on Jan. 1, says Vijay Thanigasalam, parliamentary assistant to Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation.

“Ontario’s five-year e-scooter pilot will give people a new, clean and green way to get from point A to point B in their communities,” says Thanigasalam.

According to Mulroney, the pilot will “enrich” local economies. She also pledged a commitment to the “safety for all Ontarians who travel on our roads.”

Previously e-scooters were only allowed in Ontario on private property.

Helmets and bells required

The new provincial rules require riders to wear helmets and be a minimum of 16 years old. Additionally, the e-scooters must have a horn or bell, along with front and rear lights for easy visibility.

It will be up to individual municipalities to determine if they want to permit e-scooter use in their jurisdictions. That will require drafting of specific bylaws in which the municipalities will also be able set out restrictions on their use on roads, public trails and sidewalks, as well as where the vehicles can be parked.

Elsewhere in Canada, existing pilot locations include Montreal, Kelowna, Edmonton and Calgary. Rules vary by municipal jurisdiction. In Calgary, where e-scooters are allowed on public sidewalks, users took more than 600,000 trips in several months.

Under Ontario’s pilot, the province has published a series of Best Practice Guidelines for Municipalities to help guide local decision-making.

In the U.S., over 125 different cities have embraced some level of micro-mobility program.