Riding an electric skateboard is a great activity, and it isn’t limited to teenagers. You can perform tricks or simply get from one place to another with ease. It is also important to ensure you obey all the rules of the state especially when there is a provision for electric skateboards. So, what do the rules say about electric skateboards in Canada? Are they legal? What else do I need to know?
Yes, electric skateboards are legal but you cannot ride them anywhere with public vehicle access. This means that you cannot ride your electric skateboard on public roads and sidewalks. Anywhere that doesn’t qualify under these terms is seemingly legal for electric skateboards. Furthermore, your electric skateboard use is subject to the laws of the city you want to ride the electric skateboard in. Different cities have sub-laws that can still prove to be a hindrance to your electric skateboard riding.
Take a look on the following if you want to know more about electric skateboards and legal-wise matters in Canada!
Where can I ride my electric skateboard?
While each city has its laws and thus different locations where electric skateboards are allowed, they still have some locations in common. Some cities may not allow their usage altogether like in British Colombia, but where they are allowed, the locations are:
Your private property is not considered a civilian access area or pathway and as such you can operate your electric skateboard freely. Here, you don’t have to worry about licenses, insurance, and or police officers. Whatever you do here is legal as long as it doesn’t cause harm to any other person.
Parks are public recreational areas, but they allow the use of recreational vehicles. Bicycles, skateboards, and other vehicles are classified as motor-assisted vehicles. In some cases, parks are equipped with lanes, ramps, and other accessories to aid riders to enjoy their ride.
Laws relating to electric skateboard use in select provinces/ cities
The general laws involving where you can ride your electric skateboard apply to every city in Canada. However, each city still has other laws that govern electric skateboard use and are enforced by local law enforcement officers. To ensure you have no problems, it is best to look up the city-specific laws of any city you visit or stay in.
When in Ontario, the laws relating to electric skateboards that riders must obey include:
You must be at least 16 years old to ride an electric skateboard. If you aren’t up to 16, then you can only operate one in your home.
Use of helmets
All riders are required to wear a helmet when operating an electronic skateboard. It is normally advised that you wear a helmet, and Vancouver takes it to a new level. Failure to wear a helmet can attract fines depending on if the cop wishes to be lenient or tough. Some helmets are approved for this purpose and you must use one that is approved by law.
Maximum speed limit
The top speed allowed for an electric skateboard is 32km/hr (20mph). Many electric skateboards have speeds that are equal to or less than this limit and are approved. It is illegal to modify your electric skateboard and increase the speed beyond the set limits.
Ottawa doesn’t have any special laws in addition to the general laws. However, you can use your electric skateboard on any lane that is detached from the pedestrian paths. This means that cycling lanes and certain rural pathways are electric skateboards accessible.
Anyone riding an electric skateboard must be at least 18 years old. Also, you are not allowed to have an additional passenger on your electric skateboard.
You cannot operate an electric skateboard with speeds over 50km/hr (31mph). In this regard, it is recommended that you operate only low-speed electric skateboards to prevent you from breaching this speed limit.
At the moment, electronic skateboards are not allowed in Montreal. The city launched a pilot program to determine if it was safe to allow such devices, but the program was successful. For the foreseeable future, electronic skateboards and other mobility devices are still banned in the city.
Do you need a license?
No, it isn’t necessary to have a license before you can own or purchase an electric skateboard. However, in some cities, you may be required to have a certificate, proving that you are licensed to operate an electronic skateboard. This certificate is issued after a training program and you must have it with you if you are operating your electric skateboard. The certificate serves as a sort of driving license, and just as a driving license is mandatory for a car, so too the certificate is mandatory for an electric skateboard rider to have a certificate. This law is not in the application all across Canada with Quebec being the only city known to have such laws at the moment.
Do you need insurance?
This is a bit of a grey area as the situation is very complex. Legally, you are required to have insurance for an electronic skateboard in places like Vancouver. The reason is that electric skateboards are legally considered vehicles, as they can reach speeds higher than 30km/hr (18.6mph). The problem here is that they don’t qualify as vehicles to be insured under insurance laws. In a reported case, a man was fined 600$ for not having insurance for his device. If you wish to see a video explaining this, click this link. With this incident, one can only hope the law will change, allowing you to insure your skateboard, or there will be no penalties for not having insured it. Read more on the topic of insurance on electric skateboards and other motor-assisted cycles here.
Can you ride and electric slateboard on the sidewalk?
It depends on the city you find yourself in. Each Canadian city has different laws regarding where you can use your electric skateboard. In most cases, sidewalks are off-limits but in a city like Ottawa, you can ride your electric skateboard on the sidewalk. There may be additional rules such as speed limits or the number of passengers, so be sure to look out for those. In cities where you aren’t allowed to operate on the sidewalks, you may have to stick to special lanes like cycling lanes if they are available. With the high rate of fines that you could face, you are better off staying off the sidewalk.
In special conditions such as parades, electric skateboards are allowed on roads and sidewalks. However, in such situations, they need to be insured up to $200,000.
Each Canadian province and territory has its own road laws and regulations. To be on the safe side of things, go to the website managing these matters for the Canadian province you’ll be visiting or living in. Familiarize yourself with the laws regarding electric skateboard usage before buying one or taking to the road with one. If it is possible, get legal advice as well to help ensure you aren’t doing anything wrong. Once you have covered all the corners, you can own and ride your electric skateboard with peace of mind.