In Canada, electric scooters are classed as power–assisted bicycles and the two follow many of the same federal laws and regulations. Federally, you do not need a license, license plates, or insurance to own and operate e-scooters or e-bikes, however, each province and city can make rules that need to be followed while riding there. The Canadian government is encouraging e-scooter and electric bike use on all levels.
Ontario regulates power–assisted bicycles under Ontario Regulation 369/09: Power-Assisted Bicycles. To be defined as a power–assisted bicycle, your scooter or bike needs to weigh less than 120 kg (264.5 lbs). Luckily even extremely heavy scooters like the Dualtron Thunder are way under this limit.
- The ride cannot have wheels narrower than 35 mm (1.38 in) or have wheels with less than a 350 mm (13.8 in) diameter.
- You have to be 16 years old and wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet while riding your scooter.
- The scooter cannot be modified and has to have a top speed of less than 32 km/h (20 mph).
Toronto is trying to encourage more travel by electric bicycle and e-scooter. They are building new bike lanes and have an ongoing campaign to teach both riders and drivers how to share the road. To keep the cycling and scootering in the bike lane, there is a $60 fine for anyone older than 14 riding on sidewalks.
The city also has two main classifications for power–assisted bicycles. Pedelecs are traditional motorized bicycles and are allowed in cycle tracks or separated bicycle lanes. They are defined as “requiring pedal power for propulsion”. E-Scooters are considered the other class and they can be operated in bike lanes but not cycle tracks. Neither of these categories can be used on park multi-use lanes, and have a $305 fine.
Ottawa follows sets almost the same rules as Toronto. Some exceptions are that e-bikes and e-scooters are allowed on rural pathways and any bike lane that is separated from pedestrian travel. They also have some multiuse pathways that e-scooters are permitted on.
Quebec has stricter rules regarding e-scooters than Ontario. E-scooters are known as low–speed scooters and are part of a pilot program for the province. On top of the federal rules, a low–speed scooter must have either:
- 2 yellow or white turn signals on the front and 2 yellow or red turn signals on the back
- 2 yellow turn signals that can be seen from both the front and back of the scooter.
The scooter must also weigh less than 45 kg (100 lbs).
When buying a new e-scooter in Quebec, all riders must pass a certification course and agree to help collect data for the pilot program. This certificate must be carried while riding the scooter. The riders must be 18 years old and are not allowed to carry any passengers or pull or push trailers. Low–speed scooters can be used on any road with a speed limit of less than 50 km/h (31mph).
Are they legal in Montreal?
Montreal follows all rules of the Quebec pilot program and requires a bicycle helmet while riding. Lime and Bird have also placed over 400 scooters in Montreal, but you cannot ride them without a helmet. They also have 239 designated parking spots throughout the city as part of a pilot program. There is a $50 fine for parking outside of a designated area and a $108 fine for riding without a helmet.
Electric Bikes & Scooters are welcome
Whereas places like the UK don’t allow electric scooters, Canada is much more open and ready for the introduction of these electric rideables.
Several pilot programs have been initiated to transition into what the government believes is the future of transportation in Canada. Although there are set rules for particular areas, they all sound more than fair considering it’s a newly introduced vehicle in the city space.