E-Scooters aren't legal on public property in Ontario - but that's changing soon

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E-Scooters are becoming popular in Canada, and although the experiment in Waterloo with them has stalled, the rise of them as a quick and easy way to get about is noticeable. They are great when the weather is warm and dry. I suspect there will be more than a few of them under Christmas trees soon. A question to consider though is what happens if you are in a crash and hit a pedestrian while riding one?

Scooters are a lot of fun, but they can travel a lot faster than you think. Some will go up to 25 km/hour which is very fast if you fall or hit an object. Most riders don’t wear helmets. Injuries at those speeds are quite likely. If you hit a person with your e-scooter then you likely will both be injured.

Ontario has announced plans to run a five-year pilot project that would allow e-scooters on the province’s roads. Currently e-scooters can only be used on private property in Ontario. Municipal by-laws vary about allowing them on sidewalks and pathways. Last year there was a pilot project in Waterloo involving an e-scooter sharing company on trails linking the University of waterloo, the David Johnston Research Park and Downtown.

The use was impressive with some 18,000 trips being logged. The experiment ended though as the company has decided to wait for Ontario to amend its e-scooter legislation.

The proposed changes to the legislation include allowing e-scooters on roads although no details have been offered by the Ontario government.

If you are riding one on public property and strike someone you will be responsible for their injuries and may be charged with riding the scooter illegally. For the time being you may want to hold off getting an e-scooter until the province announces their changes and the regulations around them.

In other provinces like Alberta, Calgary has allowed e-scooters but has also made minimum age requirements for them. Sharing apps for e-scooters are common but the insurance you purchase usually only covers the bike, not the rider or anyone they strike in which case the rider may be sued for damages and held responsible for injuries.

The Ontario government will have to consult with the industry and insurance companies in order to determine what is reasonable when they roll out the test program.