Calvin Barry Professional Corporation

DUI On an Electric Scooter in Ontario

The first DUI offence involving an electric scooter was successfully prosecuted by the City Attorney’s office in Toronto in 2020 wherein a 64-year-old pedestrian was knocked over by a 28-year-old man who was riding an electric scooter while having a blood alcohol level that is three times more than the legal limit. The electric scooter’s rider was sentenced to 36 months of probation, ordered to pay restitution, fined $550, and was required to complete a DUI program upon conviction.

Increasing Popularity of Electric Scooters in Ontario

In the last few years, electric scooters have become very popular around the world. Also known as E-scooters, these devices have a high-tech battery that can transport the riders at over 20 kilometres per hour which makes them a more convenient and faster way of transportation compared to their predecessor, the two-wheel manual steering scooter. Due to its built, E-scooters have become part of daily life in urban areas wherein they can be an eco-friendly and quick way of navigating the sidewalks and the city streets. As a result, thereof, E-scooter programs have popped up all over the world.

With the rise of the E-scooter’s popularity, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario initiated a five-year E-scooter pilot program that lets municipalities determine how people can legally and safely use E-scooters within their area. The goal of the program is to develop regulations for the future use of E-scooters in the province of Ontario.

With the above said, the city of Toronto declined to join the pilot program in a unanimous decision in May 2021. Toronto councillors voted to maintain the ban on private and shared E-scooters on bike lanes, sidewalks, pathways, trails, public streets, and other public spaces. Despite this, there are thousands of E-scooters in the Greater Toronto Area and the police are having a difficult time enforcing the ban.

E-Scooters and Ontario DUI Laws

The GTA police will fight against any form of impaired driving and charge DUI charges when they come across an impaired E-scooter rider. Electric scooters are covered under conveyances in the Criminal Code of Canada. Under the code, a conveyance means an aircraft or railway equipment, a motor vehicle, or a vessel. In other words, the reason why an E scooter is characterized as a motor vehicle is because it is motorized and therefore a form of conveyance. Operating a form of conveyance places impaired riders of E-scooters under DUI offenders.

Get Out of E-Bike and E-Scooter Related DUI

The strategies for defending a DUI charge against an E-bike or an E-scooter rider are still evolving since this form of transportation is relatively new. There are a lot of challenges that have been raised including when to say that an E-bike or an E-scooter has its motor turned on during the time of the accident. For example, if the motor is not on, then technically an E-bike or an E-scooter is not really a form of conveyance as defined under the Canadian Criminal Act. There are so many technicalities regarding this that it would be best to consult a Toronto DUI lawyer in case you were charged with a DUI related to using an E-bike or an E-scooter while impaired. Contact Calvin Barry Law for an obligation-free initial consultation regarding a DUI on an electric scooter.

Calvin Barry Professional Corporation