E-Scooters Now Legal in Guelph with Limitations
Following a bylaw passed by the council on Tuesday, e-scooters are now legally permitted to operate on the streets of Guelph, but are still prohibited in parks and on trails. This decision aligns Guelph with the provincial e-scooter pilot program, which will conclude on January 1, 2025, after which the province is anticipated to establish e-scooter regulations.
The bylaw’s enactment on July 25 has marked the official start of Guelph’s participation in the program, ahead of the initially planned date of August 1. While city streets are open for e-scooters, parks and trails remain off-limits due to city staff’s limited capacity to manage safety concerns currently. However, multi-use paths and cycling tracks are e-scooter-friendly zones.
The city defines e-scooters as two-wheeled vehicles with a platform, handlebar, and either a bell or horn. The electric motor should not exceed 500 watts, the speed limit is 24 km/h, and the weight must be under 45 kg.
E-scooter operators must be at least 16 years old. Riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited. Users must always stand on the scooter and are not allowed to carry cargo or passengers. Helmets are compulsory for users aged 16 to 18.
At present, e-scooter rental services are disallowed as per the bylaw. E-scooters should not disrupt traffic or be left on city property for more than 24 hours consecutively. The bylaw may impose charges on e-scooter owners for violations, which may lead to the seizure and storage of the e-scooter, at a cost of $50 per day. E-scooter users are expected to follow the same traffic regulations as bicycles.
Enforcement of e-scooter usage will be spearheaded by the city bylaw staff as requested by the Guelph police, while the police department’s information office will run an educational campaign about e-scooters in coordination with the city to ensure consistency in messaging.