E-scooters can be a fun and affordable addition to life, they’re convenient for commuting and make the perfect gift to yourself. But if you live in Canada there are a few considerations you must take into account when owning or operating an electric scooter.
While e-scooters seem like all fun and games, if used improperly they can be quite dangerous, and illegal in some parts of the country. An electric kick scooter is a motorized mode of transportation, and as such there are regulations that must be followed both legally and morally to ensure that you aren’t endangering yourself and others.
If you want to own an electric scooter in Canada these are the considerations you must understand to be a responsible scooter owner:
- Safety is the most important aspect of owning and operating an electric scooter
- Winter might be beautiful, but it’s not always E-scooter friendly
- You should research your city or region's bylaws regarding e-scooters before riding one
- If you’re riding on the road or sidewalk you have the same responsibilities as a car
- Storage and maintenance are essential for your electric scooter's health
At the end of the day, when riding an electric scooter in Canada the main concern is safety, both the safety of yourself and the safety of other people on the road. When riding on the crowded streets of Toronto or even in rural areas you must put safety first, this also includes responsible riding at all times.
But it's also important to remember that electric scooters are a fun and enjoyable addition to your commute or everyday life. While you have to be safe & responsible, this doesn't detract from any enjoyment you get from your scooter! Without further ado, here are some important things to consider as an escooter rider in Canada.
Safety is important
We said it once and we’ll say it a hundred more times, safety is important. An electric scooter can go up to 45 KM/H which is a lot faster than most bikes or skateboards, this added speed comes with additional responsibilities that must be practised by all e-scooter riders. At the top of the safety list, wear a helmet. Helmets aren’t meant to make you look ‘uncool’, they're meant to keep your head safe in case you fall off the scooter.
A lot of people don’t like wearing helmets, who does? But think about the cost of looking cool. Without a helmet riding an e-scooter is dangerous, and getting into an accident can cause serious injuries if not a fatality. On top of a helmet, you should also consider wearing reflective clothing if riding at night. While E-scooters do come with lights and a bell, drivers can often be oblivious to their surroundings, wearing a reflective shirt or helmet can help you stand out in the night.
Most importantly of all the safety tips, don’t fool around on the electric scooter, it’s not a toy. While E-scooters can be a real rush to zip around on you need to accept that you’re going at least 20 KM/H without any protection, unlike a car which is fully enclosed. With this in mind, it's safe to say that being a responsible rider is the least you can do to keep yourself and others safe.
But, even though we always advocate for safety, this doesn't mean that you can't have loads of fun while also being safe. Wearing a helmet, reflective gear, and respecting the rules of the road doesn't make riding your scooter any less fun. Instead it ensures your safety so that you can have more fun more often.
Can I Ride In the Winter?
Canada is truly a beautiful place to live, that is when we’re not covered in mountains of snow and ice. Canadian winters are some of the harshest winters in the world, we get snow, wind, ice, freezing temperatures, and hail, none of which are compatible with electric scooters. Can you ride an electric scooter in the winter? Technically yes. Should you ride an electric scooter in the winter? Only if you feel safe to do so, it's important to avoid snow, slush and ice, but wet roads are still acceptable as long as you use caution.
Icy roads and sidewalks are just a couple of the threats e-scooter riders face in the wintertime, snow, salt and black ice present just as much if not more of an issue to riders. In Canada, we have good riding weather from April to November, during this time the only thing that could stop e-scooter riders is the rain. For the other 4 months of the year, it’s probably best to leave the e-scooter at home and find another way to get around.
Of course, suggesting that Canada only has 4 months of winter is pretty generous and only applies to Southern Ontario, other parts of Canada can have 8 months of winter weather. But for the months that are bright, sunny and warm, bust out the e-scooter and live your best life!
With that being said, you might buy an electric scooter and see that it has an IPX Rating suitable for wet & cold temperatures, its not, IPX ratings deteriorate for a range of reasons, so this isn't very reliable for winter riding. So can you ride in the winter? Of course, at your own discretion. Should you ride in the winter? Only if you feel safe to do so and if the weather permits.
Am I Allowed To Ride My E-Scooter In Toronto?
Electric Scooters have been a heavily debated topic across Canada for a few years now, some regions are pro e-scooters and others have deemed them as too dangerous for the roads and sidewalks, such as Toronto.
Oddly enough, Toronto has banned the usage of E-scooters but other parts of the greater Toronto area such as Durham Region and Brampton actually endorse and support the usage of E-scooters. As we said, the topic has been debated for a while now and every city/region has different bylaws regarding this topic.
While Toronto has ‘banned’ the use of electric scooters in the city, the Toronto police department has stated that they won’t enforce the ban unless the scooter rider is directly breaking a road law or if the rider is posing a threat to pedestrians or traffic. So if you want to ride an electric scooter in Toronto you can, but you have to be a responsible rider. For more information on E-scooters in Toronto check out our blog which discusses this exact topic Here
Overall, we recommend that you research the bylaws of your city or region before using your electric scooter, the rules are different all across Canada, and it’s better to know the law before possibly breaking it. But keep in mind that in most places that have the ban in effect, this will only be enforced if you're being a reckless rider, otherwise you should be free and clear to ride as much as you like.
The rules of the road apply to everyone on the road
Remember how we said safety always comes first? Well, here it is again, if you ride an electric scooter on the roads or sidewalks then you accept the responsibility that comes with it. In Canada, the main issue that people have with E-scooters is the irresponsibility of riders. We directly asked a few groups of Torontonians what their issue is with E-scooters and they all said that they think electric kick scooters are dangerous because of the negligence of their riders.
Negligence is the key word here, it’s one thing to obey traffic signs and general rules of the road, but as an electric scooter rider, you must also be aware of your surroundings at all times. Toronto, just like many other Canadian cities is crowded, Queen St. is a madhouse 365 days a year, as such it's the responsibility of the rider to ensure that you are aware of everyone around you to avoid an accident.
It’s Canada, we’re known for being nice and easy going, well if you ever want to see the opposite of that, take your electric kick scooter for a spin in Downtown Toronto and be irresponsible, the people will surely set you straight in no time!
So remember, if you ride an electric scooter you accept the same responsibilities as a driver. Riding can be very fun, and following the rules of the road won't detract from that at all.
Canada’s climate isn’t always E-Scooter friendly
We’ve discussed the cons of riding an electric scooter in the wintertime, but did you know that storing an electric scooter in Canada is different from other, warmer climates? In Canada, if it's cold, it's cold, and that means both inside and outside. When you want to store your e-scooter you can’t simply cover it with a tarp and leave it out all winter, you also can’t stick it in your cold damp basement for 4 months and expect it to be good to go in the spring.
When the temperature is too cold the battery of your electric scooter drops drastically, this directly impacts the expected range of the scooter. Essentially, the battery on your electric scooter needs to be cared for, otherwise the short term and long term damages caused by the weather will mean less time you’ll get to enjoy your e-scooter.
Electric scooters require maintenance, even when you store them, and in Canada, that means keeping them in a dry and warm place, like a closet or at the back of your garage away from the door. By effectively storing your e-scooter over the winter you are ensuring that it’s in good condition when you try to use it again. For more information on maintaining your electric scooter check out our E-scooter maintenance cheat sheet: How to Maintain your Electric Scooter
So there you have it, 5 'must know' topics about electric scooters in Canada. At the end of the day, electric scooters are a fun and convenient mode of transportation, they can be used year round in most cases, and are legal in most parts of the country. It's important to remember that if you're a rider, you need to be safe & responsible on the road, obey the law, and not be a nuisance to traffic or pedestrians.
E-scooters are the perfect commuting option for Canadians, whether you live in the 6ix or in a small town, an electric scooter is a great addition for your travel & enjoyment. Have a question about electric scooters in Canada? Be sure to contact us today with any concerns you may have!