Very popular… and illegal scooters

Grand priced electric scooters have never been more popular, but for Quebecers who ride them, they’re in for a nasty surprise… they’re illegal on almost all of our roads.

“It’s time for our politicians to step in. They allow a company to sell me an electric scooter but I get a ticket after riding it. It’s not clear,” plagues Frédéric Theraud.

To his surprise, the Montreal native was fined $173 in June. Mr. Theraud’s offense: Driving his small vehicle on a street in the LaSalle neighborhood.


Montreal resident Frédéric Theraud was fined $173 last June for riding his electric scooter at LaSalle.

With kind approval

Montreal resident Frédéric Theraud was fined $173 last June for riding his electric scooter at LaSalle.

“I’ve been with the police for weeks and I’ve never been told anything. I think the agents wanted to fulfill their quota that day,” he denounces.

The rules, however, are clear…though unknown: scooters cannot ride on a public road, even to cross it, the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) warns. The only places where they are allowed to circulate are private properties or shopping centers, the regulation specifies.


It's not uncommon to bump into a Montrealer on an electric scooter downtown.

Photo agency QMI, Joël Lemay

It’s not uncommon to bump into a Montrealer on an electric scooter downtown.

The same story at the Laval Police Service (SPL).

“It is a crime, so the police officer has discretionary powers in this type of crime,” said SPL agent Érika Landry.


Electric scooter - illegal

Photo agency QMI, Joël Lemay

In Longueuil, police say that as part of an ongoing pilot project, only GEEBEE-branded scooters are allowed on their territory.

more tolerant

It should be noted that offenders are given few fines. In Laval, four have been linked to the use of these vehicles since 2018. Only two findings were made in Longueuil for the same period.


Electric scooter - illegal

Photo agency QMI, Joël Lemay

However, the Capitale-Nationale seems to be the least restrictive city for electric scooters, as a pilot project by the SAAQ allows them until September 2023 under certain conditions.

Environmentally friendly and indispensable

Marc-André Drolet, a resident of the Laurentians, regrets having received numerous warnings from the police threatening him with a speeding ticket while he was out on his electric scooter.


Marc-André Drolet, a resident of the Laurentians

With kind approval

Marc-André Drolet, a resident of the Laurentians

“I have health issues, including a sprained lumbar spine, after being very athletic. I have too much pain on my bike. With my girlfriend, we rediscovered the joy of the cycle path with this electric vehicle. It’s wonderful,” he says.

Like Mr Funnyt, many users of the electric scooter contacted by Le Journal hope that this transport on public roads will become legal.

In view of climate change, this is all the more relevant because it is an interesting alternative to the car, for example.


Charlie Arsenal

With kind approval

Charlie Arsenal

An entrepreneur who wants to share the joys of electric scooters in Chambly cannot develop his rental business because of the law, which he considers obsolete.

“We’ve been trying to do this service for a year but we’ve been told we don’t have the right to do it and we’re getting in each other’s way. We’re trying to contact the SAAQ to get a pilot in Chambly but there’s no response,” says Charlie Arsenault, 21.

The young man, owner of Locations Électrigo Inc., assures that he can sell these electronic devices without any problems.

“It’s not bad what we can do in the meantime. Customers are told that the law prohibits scooters. At the same time, I mention to you that there are so many people doing this, how are you going to control that? asks Mr. Arsenault.


Electric scooter - illegal

THE ELECTRIC SCOOTER

forbidden

  • On a public road, either street, bike path or sidewalk

Permitted

  • On private property, on a parking lot

fine

complaint

  • Criteria for use under the influence of alcohol or drugs and dangerous driving apply.

Price

Source: SAAQ, Éducaloi and SPVM

AND THE ELECTRIC BICYCLE?

It is legal on public roads provided the engine is electric, not petrol, and does not exceed 500 watts. It must also have working pedals, like a classic bike.

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone riding an electric bike. Users must be over 14 years old. Up to the age of 17, possession of a moped driving license is required. Permission is not required for those over the age of 18.

But why are they banned?


Electric scooter - illegal

If electric scooters are banned on our public roads, it’s simply because the Highway Code hasn’t had time to adapt to these technologies.

“Electric scooters are banned because the code doesn’t provide for it, so they can’t ride on public roads. It’s very simple,” explains Mario Vaillancourt, spokesman for the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).

However, in response to the huge popularity of this mode of transport, Mr. Vaillancourt reveals that a committee made up of experts from SAAQ and the Ministry of Transport of Quebec (MTQ) is currently examining the issue.

security question

“They analyze the situation. With this type of vehicle, there is obviously a question of safety towards third parties and living together with other road users. That’s all that needs to be analyzed,” he says.

“I’m not saying it’s more dangerous than a bike, no. It all depends on the human factor. However, for self-service scooters, for example, few wear knee and elbow pads, says Marco Harrison, traffic safety expert and director of the CAA-Quebec Foundation. Also, drivers are not yet very used to seeing these vehicles on the road,” comments Mr. Harrison.

With the arrival of electric unicycles or electric skateboards, he notes that “offers for new electric vehicles are coming in very quickly now. Faster than the traffic rules. »


Patrick Althot was fined $44 for riding his unicycle in Montreal.

With kind approval

Patrick Althot was fined $44 for riding his unicycle in Montreal.

criminal charges

Also, these scooters are considered motor vehicles. So beware of those who would be tempted to use this mode of transport after consumption.

“The penal code is clear. Since it is a motor vehicle, a report could be made for dangerous driving. We are also talking here about charges related to impaired performance after drug or alcohol use,” warns Me Jean-Benoit Dionne, a lawyer at Éducaloi.

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