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Scoot over bike share: Scooter share comes to Calgary

Calgarians have gotten used to bike sharing in the core, but now they have a whole new medium to explore – scooter sharing.

The pilot program will see electric scooters hit the street soon, possibly even this week. 

There will be no cost to the city, said Ryan Vanderputten, Director of Transportation Planning. Instead, the pilot program will be fully funded and operated by permit holders. According to a City of Calgary press release, any costs incurred by the city for this program will be recouped in permit fees paid from operators. 

RELATED: Phase 2 of Calgary bike share brings expanded area, transit parking spots

“Through these pilots the City is supporting private business and providing addition mobility options for getting around the city. All at no cost to taxpayers,” said Vanderputten.

Ryan Vanderputten, Director of Transportation Planning, stands in front of the electric scooters put forward by Bird and Lime – two ride sharing companies.

Bird and Lime are two ride sharing companies who have come forward for the program, but so far the City of Calgary hasn’t issued any permits.

The city had to work with the provincial government to get an exemption to the Alberta Traffic Safety Act to allow the scooter program. Scooters are not allowed to be operated on the road, but can be used on sidewalks and bike lanes. 

“Electric scooters and bike sharing trips can reduce short term car usage, which in turn can reduce emissions, traffic congestion and parking demands,” Vanderputten said. 

Scooter safety awareness

Safety is a big concern for all involved. Being that scooters are considered a motor vehicle, users are not allowed to operate them while being under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Bird, one of the companies in the pilot program, said scooters will not be available for use between midnight and 5 a.m. 

“Safety is paramount for the City of Calgary and we are encouraging all users to use helmets when offering these electric scooters,” said Nathan Carswell, Shared Transportation Program Manager with the City of Calgary. 

“Customers will be required to be 18 years of age or older. And the scooters will be governed to a speed of 20 kilometers per hour.”

Each company that gets a permit will be allowed to operate up to 1,000 scooters and for now they’re limited to Calgary’s downtown core.