McBurney requests council toreview helmet bylaws for e-scooters

NORTH HURON – Coun. Ric McBurney asked council if they could review the current bylaws for e-scooters, specifically the need for all riders to wear helmets.

McBurney, who sits on the Coalition for Huron Injury Prevention (CHIP) board, informed council members of an interesting conversation during the last meeting.

“E-scooters are becoming a little more popular in urban centres,” McBurney said. “They are allowed on the roads and riders must be 16 years of age, and riders between the ages of 16 and 18 must wear helmets. Some municipalities have bylaws in place that all riders wear helmets and we should be concerned for all riders.”

Coun. Kevin Falconer brought up a valid point about the definition of an e-scooter, which he said is a grey area, with so many different types of electric style “scooters,” like mobility scooters.

Reeve Bernie Bailey commented on the increase in these types of transportation in the North Huron region and how some drivers don’t even look. He concurred that for safety’s sake, they should look into this further.

Deputy Reeve Trevor Seip said the current bylaw was recently updated for the ATV rule changes, adding that any changes would have to be made by the next sitting council.

Ultimately, it was decided that a notice of motion to bring the current bylaw back to council would have to be given after the election and agreed upon by the next council.

If a staff report is requested, then that will be the time to update the “grey areas” of the descriptions of e-scooters.

According to the Ontario government website, an electric kick-scooter (e-scooter) is a vehicle that has two wheels (one at the front and one at the back), a platform to stand on, a handlebar for steering, an electric motor that does not exceed 500 watts and a maximum speed of 24 km/h on a level surface.

Similar to bicycles, all Highway Traffic Act rules of the road apply when riding e-scooters. Penalties will also apply to violations of the pilot regulation (fine of $250 to $2,500).

Municipalities that want to allow e-scooters to operate on their roads must pass bylaws to permit their use and set out specific requirements based on what is best for their communities.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times