Riding on e-scooters
Blowing through town on an electric scooter? Recently, the Ontario Government initiated a pilot allowing the province’s municipalities to test out kick-style electric scooters — think Lime or Bird — in their respective jurisdictions. With many people choosing to rent or buy e-scooters, the roads have become flooded with them.
If you’re contemplating these as a last-mile transportation option, stay on the right side of the law. While still part of a five-year pilot, e-scooters come with a number of regulations; street legal units must max out at 24 km/h, and carry a bell, as well as lights. Just like bikes, scooters must be equipped with a white light on the front and a red light on the back (of the scooter, or the rider), with both lights on half hour before sunset and a half hour before sunrise, as well as in limited visibility. Parking is an important consideration for scooters too, with riders required to keep thoroughfares open for pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
While municipalities have the final say on bylaws, e-scooters are still governed by Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act. Just like bikes, e-scooters are expected to use the bike lanes (but check your local city’s bylaws to make sure), are intended for solo riders, and aren’t to be used to carry cargo. The pilot is designed for users over the age of 16, with those under 18 required to use helmets. To keep confusion to a minimum, the Ministry of Transportation has released best practice guidelines, helping everyone steer through this trial.
Getting around as a pedestrian
Of all the ways to get around, pedestrian life may be the most familiar. In Canada, pedestrians are classified broadly as anyone using foot or small wheeled devices for mobility. This can include travel by foot, wheelchair, stroller, skateboard, Segways and more. Given this, it’s important to brush up on the basics, no matter how straightforward being a pedestrian may seem.
For example, did you know that pedestrians can be ticketed if they enter a crosswalk after the “don’t walk” countdown timer has started? If you’ve already entered the crosswalk when the countdown timer starts, it’s okay to finish crossing — just stay aware of your surroundings. When on the crosswalk, you’ve got the right-of-way over other vehicles, but vigilance is still important. While jaywalking isn’t explicitly banned in the Highway Traffic Act, the City of Toronto recommends crossing mid-block only when you are more than 30 meters from a crosswalk — otherwise, stick to the marked crossings.