Toronto

E-scooters coming to Ontario in January as pilot project launches

The province has announced that its e-scooter pilot project will begin on Jan. 1 — but municipalities will still have to decide whether to allow the devices on municipal roads, parks and trails.

Province says 5-year pilot project will give people more transportation options

The province has announced a series of guidelines around its e-scooter pilot project. (Yanjun Li/CBC)

The province has announced that its e-scooter pilot project will begin on Jan. 1 — but municipalities will still have to decide whether to allow the devices on municipal roads, parks and trails.

Though it hasn't been uncommon to see scooter riders on roadways in recent months, riding them was illegal because the province said they didn't meet government safety standards.

That's about to change. "Ontario's e-scooter pilot will help businesses expand, enrich local economies and offer people more options to get around safely," said Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney.

"Our government is strongly committed to promoting the highest standards of safety for all Ontarians who travel on our roads."

The province says that municipalities will have to pass a bylaw to allow scooters on municipal roads.

Other regulations include:

  • A maximum speed of 24 km/h
  • A minimum age of 16
  • No cargo allowed
  • No passengers allowed
  • A helmet is mandatory for anyone under 18
  • Riders must have a horn or bell and a front and rear light

Debate over the use of e-scooters and e-scooter sharing systems has been spreading across North America. Though ubiquitous in some American cities, it's still a fledgling mode of transportation in most of Canada.

E-scooter sharing systems work similarly to Bike Share Toronto. Users pick up a scooter, use an app to unlock them, and are then charged a fee for the time they use.

But there's one key difference: unlike bike-share bikes, the scooters aren't docked in any one place at the end of the ride — users can simply drop them anywhere. That has led to much consternation in some places when scooters are just strewn around cities.

The province's news release on the announcement includes a statement from Lime Canada, which offers e-scooter rentals.

"We look forward to working in partnership with governments across the province and continuing to advance our shared transportation goals," said Chris Schafer, senior director of strategic development.

adam.carter@cbc.ca

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Adam Carter

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Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Toronto home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.

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