E-Scooters Arrive in Canada: Stay Safe and Stay Legal

a woman operating an electronic scooter at night
Lots of people love them, but lots also hate them.

Blink and you’ll miss them. All you’ll hear is a little buzzing. A bird? A Tesla? No! Is that a Razor with a motor on it? It’s an electronic scooter!

That’s right, the newest fad in app-based, pay-as-you-go transportation is now in Canada. E-scooter rentals from Bird and Lime arrived recently in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto, and expansion plans are in the works.

If you’ve been to almost any American city recently, you’ve likely seen how quickly these scooters have become a part of the transportation landscape. They are becoming popular as a cheap, environmentally friendly way to commute and just have fun. But people are also getting hurt, and pedestrians are getting annoyed.

Different Cities, Different Laws

Most provincial and municipal governments have no regulations governing e-scooter operation, so many have been working on the fly. Here’s a summary of where things stand in the major cities where scooter rentals are available:

  • MontrealLime scooters are only available in a handful of boroughs so far. Riders must wear helmets, and the city requires specific parking spaces, meaning users can’t just drop them off at their destination. Riding on sidewalks is prohibited, and new users will have to take a quick “training” course on the app.
  • TorontoFor now, Bird scooters can only be used on private roads where Ontario’s Highway Traffic Safety Act does not apply, because e-scooters do not meet provincial safety standards. They are currently only available for use in the Distillery District.
  • CalgaryUnlike residents of most cities, Calgarians can use Lime and Bird scooters on sidewalks, and they must stay off roads. Speed is capped at 20 km/h.
  • EdmontonUsers of Bird and Lime scooters must be at least 18 years old and must stay off of sidewalks. Speed is capped at 20 km/h.

As more scooters are rolled out and other cities and companies explore the possibility, regulations will continue to shift. It is important that you stay on top of them to avoid getting a ticket.

E-Scooters as Divisive as They Are Popular

As much as riders love their e-scooters, drivers and pedestrians are cursing them. So far, more than 200 people have been hurt in scooter-related accidents in Calgary. And other cities have had to grapple with a rash of deadly accidents and are taking action, such as banning e-scooter usage at night.

If you are to take a Bird or Lime for a test drive, it’s important to remember that you are on a motorized vehicle that can cause harm to others or yourself if you are not responsible. That means:

With cold weather fast approaching, it might be time to get out there and give e-scooters a shot. Have fun and be careful!

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