In Calgary, e-scooter riders are taking the winter off. In the meantime, city officials are reviewing all of the data collected by the city, Alberta Health Services and ride-share companies to assess the successes and failures of the four month pilot project.
A shared e-bike pilot project began in October 2018 with 500 e-bikes in Calgary. In July 2019, e-scooters were introduced with 1000 e-scooters deployed by Lime and 500 e-scooters deployed by Bird in Calgary.
During the four month pilot project (July to October 2019), more than 150,000 individuals used the scooters over 915,000 times. Calgary Major Naheed Nenshi addressed the success of this pilot project:
Calgary was the first jurisdiction in Canada to allow e-scooters, and over all, our first season was a success. We know one-third of all scooter trips replaced one by car, and more than that, it made transportation fun. We’ll be making some adjustments heading into Year 2, and hope to see even more success.
STUDY BY THE CUMMING SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
The City of Calgary commissioned a study by the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine to study all e-scooter injuries that required an ambulance. Using this data, as opposed to those who self-report at the emergency department, would provide more detailed information regarding how, why, when and where individuals were being injured as a result of riding e-scooters.
The data showed that between July 8, 2019 and October 1, 2019 there were 33 e-scooter injuries that required an ambulance. Of those injured, 32 of them were riders and the other was a pedestrian who was injured by a scooter rider.
According to the study, the most common causes of injury involved speed, losing control or hitting a pothole or stationary object. Of the 33 incidents, eight patients were found to have alcohol in their system and two accidents involved a motor vehicle.
Unfortunately, only one of the seriously injured riders had been wearing a helmet. Although this is not required by city by-laws, wearing a helmet while operating an e-scooter is highly recommended, especially by Cuming & Gillespie LLP, for safety purposes and to avoid the risk of a head injury.
According to the medical data, it is estimated that serious e-scooter injuries requiring hospitalization occurred at a rate of 1 patient per 100,000 rides. There were more non-admitted e-scooter injuries resulting in a visit to the emergency room, which were estimated to occur at a rate of 1 per 1,500 rides.
NEXT STEPS CONSIDERED FOR THE RETURN OF E-SCOOTERS IN THE SPRING
It is anticipated that e-scooters will return to the streets of Calgary in the spring of 2020. To address various concerns derived from data collected by a public survey (over 9,000 individuals responded), 311 phone calls (281 calls) and the studies regarding e-scooter injuries, a number of issues will need to be addressed before the next phase of the pilot project.
According to the December 18, 2019 Phase One Report, there is a plan to lower speed zones in high pedestrian areas, such as 4 Street SW in Mission and 17 Ave SW in the Beltline. In specific areas, the speed limits will be dropped from 20km/h to 15 km/h.
There is also a plan to implement designated parking zones for e-scooters in high demand parking areas. These designated parking zones will be installed prior to the re-introduction of e-scooters in the spring of 2020.
It was also determined that there is also a need to introduce and better enforce by-laws that are specifically related to the operation of e-scooters. The need to enforce rules and laws will need to be addressed by the administration in the coming months.
A plan is also being developed to provide new signage and education in an effort to inform users on the operation of e-scooters and to provide safety tips.
We will continue to follow the legislative changes that are being considered for the operation of e-scooters and the plans for enforcing any rules or by-laws that are being developed to address the complaints and injuries surrounding the use of e-scooters in Calgary. We will also report in this blog should any litigation arise out of injuries that have occurred during the use or operation of this mode of transportation as its use rises in popularity.
In the meantime, if you or a loved one have suffered personal injuries as a result of an accident and believe a third party is responsible, please contact the award winning and experienced lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP online or call 403-571-0555. We offer free consultations for new clients. We will review your case to determine the best approach to take and how we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.