Rules of the road for electric scooters

Scooter pilot extended

B.C.’s electric kick scooter pilot project has been given a four-year extension.

Effective April 5, new rules will come into effect, as the lessons learned in the first pilot project, which began in 2021, are applied.

Electric kick scooters used on our highway must meet all of the following criteria in order to be used legally:

• Handlebars for steering and front and rear wheels (no more than 430 mm in diameter) with a platform in the middle for standing on.

• One or more electric motors powered by batteries with a continuous power output rating not exceeding 500 watts.

• Weight not exceeding 45 kg, including motors and batteries.

• Maximum speed capability of 24 km/h on a clean, paved and level surface.

• A braking system that can stop the device travelling at maximum speed within nine meters. The motor must also stop when the accelerator is released or brakes applied.

• A bell or horn that must be sounded when passing pedestrians and other road users.

• Front and rear lights that must be turned on between sunset and sunrise (Note: Lights may also be worn by the operator).

The scooter operator must be a least 16 years old and operators must wear a helmet that is approved for cycling use. These helmets are marked showing they meet one of the following safety standards—CSA, ANSI, ASTM or SNELL B-95.

A driver's licence, vehicle licence and insurance are not required.

A person operating an electric kick scooter on a pilot project highway has the same rights and duties under Part 3 of the Motor Vehicle Act that apply to the driver of a vehicle.

Other rules include:

• If the road has a speed limit of 50 km/h or less, you must stay on the right side of the road as much as possible or use a designated cycling lane if one is available

• If the road has a speed limit above 50 km/h, you can only use an electric kick scooter if there is a designated cycling lane available

• Use on sidewalks is prohibited unless a sign allows cycles on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk.

• If used on the sidewalk, scooter must not travel at a faster speed than pedestrians except to pass (which requires sounding a bell or horn).

• You must not carry any passengers, tow people or devices.

• You must ride single file. You must not ride beside another person operating a cycle or an electric kick scooter.

• You must indicate whenever you are turning by using hand signals or lighted turn signals if your device has them.

• It is illegal to operate an electric kick scooter while impaired by alcohol or drugs, or when using a cellphone or other electronic device.

Other rules also apply and are set out in the pilot project regulation.

Violation tickets issued under the regulation carry a $109 fine. You may also have your scooter impounded or face other penalties of up to $2,000 if you don't follow these safety rules.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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