E-Scooter Ride Share in Waterloo

November 29, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Electric scooters are very popular in America and their popularity is spreading to Canada as well. An E-scooter share pilot program is underway in Waterloo marking the first of its kind in Canada.

E-scooters are being seen as a cool, fun and hip alternative to commuting in town for shorter distances. The trial in Waterloo is limited in scope due to regulations under the Highway Traffic Act. The City is only allowing the scooters on a 6 km loop around Waterloo Park, UW main campus and David Johnston Research and Technology park. Lime, the company running the rideshare app is active in 130 markets according to their website.

E-scooters are meant to be operated in bike lanes or sides of roads only, and manufacturers are against them being used on sidewalks due to the dangers posed to pedestrians.  For this e-scooter trial program users will download an app that will show them where the nearest available scooter is. The scooter can be unlocked and taken to the destination point where it is dropped next to the bike racks or the ‘furniture zone’ of the sidewalk. The cost is reasonable - $1 to unlock and 30 cents a minute after that. They are used in the spring, summer and fall. Scooters are collected nightly and recharged/maintained before being redistributed for use the following day.

There are concerns regarding the safety of the scooters which have resulted in some cities turning down pilot rental projects. Several fatalities have occurred with their use in America and rates of emergency room visits are high for e-scooter users. The rental company encourages safe use of scooters with a tutorial on the first login. Maximum speeds are set to 24 km/h which matches a bike speed. The rental company encourages the use of helmets with the scooters although this is not enforceable.

The rental company will have to address these safety concerns along with regulations under the Highway Traffic Act that currently prohibit the use of vehicles like e-scooters on city road and public roads including bike lanes. They have also faced a safety recall on some o the scooters in Waterloo that broke in half while being ridden.

The City of Waterloo is supporting this program as a means of encouraging alternative modes of transportation. Many municipalities are waiting for the preliminary results of the e-scooter sharing program to be released. The rental company has indicated that uptake in this trial is higher than they expected, and they are encouraged with the results.

You can read more about the rental program by Lime here.



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