Last week, Mayor Naheed Nenshi announced that shared electric scooters will be making a reappearance in Calgary this spring on a trial basis.
Unlike last year, only 150 scooters per company fleet (Bird and Lime) will be introduced on a trial basis from May 22 to June 22, 2020 out of an abundance of caution. The trial run will be closely monitored by the local administration and a determination will then be made as to whether to increase the fleet size.
Some are concerned that the scooters will increase the spread of the deadly virus through the community. However, bikeshare systems are continuing to operate during the pandemic throughout Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal and they have not been connected to any COVID-19 transmission cases.
NEW CHANGES TO THE USE OF E-SCOOTERS
The City of Calgary will be adopting a few modifications to e-scooter usage following a series of public engagement events and the solicitation of online feedback.
Slow speed zones will be enforced along 9th Avenue SE in Inglewood, along 10 Street and Kensington Road in Kensington and along 4th Street SW in Mission. In these areas, e-scooters are only permitted to travel 15 km/h maximum.
The city will also be imposing new fines to address public safety concerns and those that exhibit poor behaviour, as follows:
- A $75.00 fine for doubling up on a scooter;
- A $150.00 fine for using a scooter where prohibited or interfering with use while riding;
- A $400.00 fine for reckless travel or for colliding with a pedestrian.
Calgary has also created “Share and Go” zones for scooters to provide more accessible parking for these vehicles. There will also be painted areas along pathways and bike lanes to demonstrate the designated scooter parking spots. If these parking zones are not available, users are encouraged to park the scooters on sidewalks in line with bike racks, trees or trash bins.
MAYOR ISSUES SAFETY WARNINGS AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Nenshi is strongly advising that riders exercise essential health and safety measures if they choose to operate a scooter. He warns that the scooters will not be cleaned after each use. Mayor Nenshi advises:
These are shared devices – these are high touch zones. Someone will have touched it before you, they are not sanitized between users. So you need to mitigate that risk. You have to use hand sanitizer on your hands, give the handlebars and other high-touch areas a quick wipe down before and after use.
E-scooter users are also reminded not to touch their faces while travelling and to exercise social distancing measures by remaining at least two-metres between users and pedestrians.
ADDITIONAL SAFETY CONCERNS
Although many are concerned about the risk of contamination due to the sanitation of e-scooters, others are more concerned about the general safety associated with the use of electric scooters.
The introduction of e-scooters in Calgary last spring was a huge success with a recorded 750,000 e-scooter trips between July and October. According to a city survey, one in three e-scooter riders would have driven a car had an e-scooter not been available. That amounts to 250,000 fewer car trips.
One of the concerns surrounding the use of e-scooters were potential injuries. According to a municipal report, there were 33 e-scooter injuries that required the use of an ambulance. Thirty-two of them involved the rider of the e-scooter and only one involved a pedestrian. Only seven of the 33 individuals required an admission to the hospital.
The municipal report found the most common causes of injury associated with the operation of e-scooters last year included speed, losing control, hitting a pothole or a stationary such as a pole.
Interestingly, only one of the 33 individuals who required an ambulance following an injury last year was wearing a helmet. Although you are not required to wear a helmet while operating an e-scooter, it is strongly encouraged. Both Lime and Bird offer free helmets to their customers, you just have to pay for shipping.
Because e-scooters are lighter and smaller than anything else on the road, they are inherently more dangerous than other vehicles. They are less stable and more vulnerable to potholes and cracks.
E-scooters have the ability to travel up to 20 km/h. A collision between a scooter and another vehicle or another object can result in serious personal injury. Those travelling on e-scooters also lack the protection afforded of motor vehicle drivers.
SAFETY TIPS FOR OPERATING E-SCOOTERS
Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers would like to provide some simple safety tips for those who plan on using e-scooters in Calgary this year:
- Users must be 18 years of age.
- Only one individual can ride the scooter at a time (this also reinforces social distancing measures).
- It is strongly encouraged to wear a helmet while operating a scooter to prevent head injuries.
- E-scooter users can only ride their vehicles on sidewalks, pathways and in bike lanes. It is illegal to use these scooters on city roads.
- It is very important to watch out for pedestrians while operating the e-scooter.
- It is also important not to be distracted while operating an e-scooter (put away your mobile device).
- Obey all traffic laws and be respectful of rights of way.
- Proceed slowly through crosswalks.
- As with all motor vehicles, you may not operate an e-scooter under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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 Lawyers online or call 403-571-0555. Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers have many years of successfully handling claims for those victims injured through the fault of others. We will review your case to determine the best approach to take and how we can help you recover compensation for your injuries. Call our office today for a free consultation.