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Provincial boost sought to regulate personal e-scooters in Calgary

With the growth of personal e-scooters, a Calgary city councillor wants to get ahead on the regulation of their use on city roads and sidewalks.

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner will bring an urgent notice of motion to this Tuesday’s regular meeting of Calgary city council, to help give the matter a boost at the provincial level.

They need the province to amend the Traffic Safety Act to allow for the use of personal e-scooters in these areas. Right now, provincial regulations only govern the use of ride-share-style e-scooters in Alberta on roadways.  

Penner said provincial rules changed in 2018 allowed for cities to create bylaws around rental e-scooters from companies like Bird and Neuron. The city has allowed them on roadways and sidewalks.

Transportation has evolved in five years, Penner said.

“I think mobility has changed a lot in five years and the availability of personalized e-scooters has changed,” she said.

“I think what we’ve seen and what we’re going to continue to see is a rise in the number personal e-scooters under which there’s no legal framework, whether it be Calgary or Edmonton or anywhere in the province.”

A Grand View Research report shows that the global e-scooter market is $33.18 billion in 2022, and is projected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.9 per cent from 2023 to 2030.

Penner’s urgent notice of motion would see the matter forward to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association as a resolution. They’re also forwarding it to Edmonton to be a seconder.  The resolution would be presented at the September AUMA meeting.

Not technically allowed off private property

Currently, the use of personal e-scooters is limited. It’s not supposed to leave one’s personal property, Penner said. City regulations allow their use on the pathway system, according to their website.

She did note that she’s not aware of any tickets for anyone using their personal scooters in the city. They’re in a sort of no-man’s land for enforcement.

That doesn’t mean a ticket couldn’t be issued.  If speed is an issue, a user could be pulled over similar to a cyclist on city roads or pathways.

If no one’s likely to get a ticket in transit, Penner was asked if new rules are even needed.

“I think we can look at it two ways. We can either ignore that they exist and not regulate it,” she said.

“Or we could understand that it’s an emerging mobility trend, and we can do the work we need to do to try to create the safest environment possible for them to operate under.

“I don’t think ignoring a trend makes it go away.”

Penner also said that if it’s approved for use on roads, the city should look at making a similar provision as bikes and allow them on transit.

The urgency of the notice of motion is because resolutions must be in to the AUMA by May 31.