City recommends lower speeds and parking spots for e-scooters, but some say changes aren't enough
CALGARY -- A Calgary committee says electronic scooters should be reintroduced to city sidewalks and pathways with reduced speeds and recommended parking spots, but some still have concerns about the pilot program.
If council approves changes to the pilot program and its bylaws, there will also be new fines to punish people who double up on the scooters, collide with another user or ride in a reckless manner. The maximum fine would be $400.
The shared e-scooters will have their top speed capped at 15 km/h in high-traffic areas in 2020. The maximum speed of the vehicles was previously 20 km/h and will be adjusted in designated areas remotely.
But some speakers during the committee’s public hearing Wednesday say the new rules don’t go far enough. Two people with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind said improper parking of the scooters on sidewalks create barriers for those who suffer from vision loss or have mobility issues.
Lui Greco with the CNIB Foundation suggested the companies operating scooters — Lime and Bird Canada — should limit maximum speeds even more and said abandoning scooters in the middle of sidewalks should be added to bylaws.
According to the city’s data, there were 750,000 rides on e-scooters in 2019. It also surveyed 9,200 riders in the city and found that e-scooters replaced vehicle trips 32 per cent of the time.
Data collected from the first part of the pilot project showed most of the e-scooter rides took place in downtown Calgary or in the Beltline.
"The location data showed us that many Calgarians are riding to areas where there are a lot of restaurants and retail stores such as on 17th Avenue S.W. and Stephen Avenue," said Andrew Sedor, business development coordinator with The City of Calgary.
Part of the pilot also included the collection of e-scooter injuries. Thirty-three e-scooter rides required an ambulance between July 8 and Oct. 1 (32 of those injured were riding the scooter and the one other person was injured as a pedestrian).
The changes to the bylaw and pilot project will go to council in the new year.