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.