Guelph on Verge of Permitting Use of E-Scooters
Starting August 1, Guelph is preparing to embrace the legal use of e-scooters on city roads and potentially on multi-use paths as part of a provincial pilot program. The committee of the whole at the city council has approved a motion to this effect, and it may be officially ratified later this month.
Adrian Salvatore, the chair of the Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation, expressed satisfaction with the city’s progress, stating, “We are very happy to see our city catching up with our municipal peers.” He commended the council for acknowledging e-scooters as part of active transportation and encouraged their use as a means to reduce reliance on motor vehicles.
Salvatore emphasized the importance of prioritizing the safety of vulnerable road users, advocating for e-scooters to be allowed on multi-use paths rather than busy roads like Woodlawn Road. The committee agreed to consider this suggestion, and city staff will provide a report to the council by the end of the month. The city’s liability regarding this decision may also be assessed by seeking a legal opinion, according to CAO Scott Stewart.
Several neighboring municipalities, including Waterloo Region and Hamilton, are already participating in the pilot program. Some of these municipalities have engaged e-scooter rental companies to provide the devices to interested residents. However, Guelph has decided against pursuing rental services under the approved motion by the committee.
To participate in the pilot program, municipal councils are required to pass a bylaw explicitly permitting the use of e-scooters and defining the permitted areas of use. Currently, e-scooters are not recognized as an approved mode of transportation under the Highway Traffic Act, which governs the rules of the road.
Given that the pilot program is scheduled to conclude at the end of next year and public consultation is a time-consuming process, Guelph’s city council waived the standard requirement for public consultation on the potential allowance of e-scooters.
The provincial pilot program defines e-scooters as devices with two wheels and a standing platform, equipped with a handlebar for steering and a horn or bell. These electric scooters must not exceed 500 watts in terms of motor power and should not have a maximum speed of more than 24 km/h on a level surface. Additionally, they should weigh no more than 45 kg.
The provincial government plans to announce province-wide regulations on e-scooter use after the conclusion of the pilot project next year.
The council meeting, where further discussions will take place, is scheduled for July 25 at 6:30 p.m. and will be livestreamed on guelph.ca/live.