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More scooters, new rules coming for Calgary e-mobility users

Low-speed areas, parking, enforcement and education are on the way for Calgary e-scooters in 2020, as the city is set for the second year of its micro transportation pilot program.

Councillors at Wednesday’s Transportation and Transit committee meeting approved changes to the Calgary Traffic bylaw related to scooters, and also allowed for a dynamic fleet cap based on trip per vehicle.

In all, it will likely mean more scooters in Calgary in 2020.

“When you go back to the fundamentals of this, which is for me, we want to see people use these and people are enjoying use these because it improves the quality of life,” said Coun. Evan Woolley, who pushed for the original pilot project this year.  

“The balance of that is, is that we need to make sure that that doesn’t, for those not using them adversely impact their quality of life and how they get in and around the city. And I think that that’s the important balancing act that actually has proved itself out incredibly well.”

Changes for Calgary e-scooter users

Along with more e-scooters, there will be other changes to help protect both riders and those around them.

The city saw more use in the Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) in the downtown and Beltline areas and in these busier retails areas, where there are more pedestrians and less space, the city is proposing a reduction in speed to 15 km/h, down from 20 km/h.

Designated parking zones will also be set up in higher volume areas, funded by fees paid by the e-scooter companies.

The changes to the bylaw addressed e-scooters and enforcement issues with them, including added fines that reach $400 for reckless use and for hitting another sidewalk user. A penalty of $150 is in the bylaw if an e-scooter operator interferes with another sidewalk user.

Coun. Druh Farrell wanted to see the scooters remain but said addressing pedestrian conflicts was important.

“They’re super fun, but pedestrians are the most vulnerable user and we’ve just introduced another vehicle in a really tight public realm,” she said.

“I think Calgary has the narrowest sidewalks in the country. And now we’ve added… a vehicle that goes a lot faster. So, I’m really concerned about that.”

Calgary e-scooter data

More than 915,000 trips were logged with Calgary e-scooters and e-bikes, travelling more than 1.6 million kilometres through two primary providers – Bird Canada and Lime. There 150,000 unique visitors who logged into the ride systems.

Calgary has compiled a substantial set of data on the use of e-bikes and e-scooters and some of it is available on their data portal.

Some of the data highlights:

  • Most use on Saturdays between 1 and 8 p.m.
  • Highest concentration of trips ends were on Stephen Avenue (8 Avenue)
  • 8 Avenue, 12 Avenue and 17 Avenue saw the highest volume distribution of the e-scooters and e-bikes
  • The Riverwalk area (south side of Bow River) was by far the most popular e-route
  • Sidewalk riding and bad behaviour were the two most common 311 complaints

Attach 2 Shared E-Bike and E-Scooter Data by Darren Krause on Scribd