What is the City of London's role in this pilot program?
In January 2020, the Province of Ontario launched a five-year e-scooter pilot program. The pilot is intended to evaluate the use of both personal and shared e-scooters to examine their ability to safely integrate with other vehicle types and determine whether existing provincial rules of the road are adequate.
As part of the pilot program, Ontario municipalities first need to decide if they will pass by-laws to allow e-scooter use. Municipalities also need to determine if and where e-scooters can be operated and parked most safely in their community.
Municipalities are responsible for deciding such things as allowing or prohibiting them on municipal roads and/or park pathways. As part of this pilot program, the City of London will also be deciding how a shared e-scooter system would be managed.
In addition to clearly defining where e-scooters can operate, municipalities must also define where the scooters can be parked.
What is e-scooter share?
An e-scooter share system is a service in which electric motorized scooters are made available to use for short-term rentals. The e-scooters are generally rented and paid for through a mobile app, although some system operators have provisions for those without mobile data access.
E-scooter operators are responsible for setting their own prices. The cost to ride is typically a flat fee plus a variable fee based on the time the e-scooter is in use.
E-scooters are typically "dockless", meaning that they do not have a fixed home location that they must be picked up or returned to. Instead, dockless e-scooters can be left by the user in a designated service area. The system operator is responsible for redistributing e-scooters within the service area to prevent bunching.
Docking scooters have a fixed home location or rack that they must be picked up or returned to. There can be multiple docking stations that a scooter can be returned to.
How are other cities in Ontario using e-scooters?
Within the last few years, e-scooter share services have been launched in numerous North American cities with a wide range of experiences.
In 2019, Waterloo Region ran an e-scooter share service on private property. Waterloo Region is now seeking input on launching e-scooters on public property.
Brampton has also run a short-term, small-scale e-scooter share pilot project in one municipal park.
Windsor and Ottawa have launched e-scooter share services.
Hamilton and Mississauga are amending by-laws to allow personal e-scooter use and are studying shared services.
How fast can e-scooters travel?
To meet the requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, e-scooters must not travel faster than 24 km/h. Some municipalities have further lowered this speed limit for rider safety and to comply with speed limits on multi-use pathways or other facilities shared with pedestrians.
What features are e-scooters required to have?
In Ontario, e-scooters require an electric motor, brakes, a handlebar, lights, and a bell or horn.
Who can ride an e-scooter?
E-scooters are legal for riders over the age of 16. Helmets are mandatory for riders under the age of 18 years old.
Where are e-scooters typically parked?
E-scooters are generally required to be parked in designated areas, such as existing on-street parking spaces, or in designated spaces along a sidewalk closest to the road out of the way from where pedestrians walk.
How can the City ensure pedestrians on sidewalks and multi-use pathways are safe around e-scooters?
Some municipalities have banned the use of e-scooters on sidewalks or limited their speed in areas with high pedestrian activity.
Other municipalities have lowered the speed limit of e-scooters further on multi-use pathways to match their posted speed limits of 15-20 km/h.
In addition, areas could be “geofenced” with mandatory lower speed limits, meaning e-scooters would automatically have their maximum speed reduced to match the speed limit when in a defined area.
How would the City ensure shared e-scooters are parked correctly and won’t topple over?
Ending a trip using e-scooter share often requires a photo to verify the e-scooter’s location and orientation. Other jurisdictions have also implemented fines for improper parking.
Some models of e-scooters use a double kickstand, which can help to reduce scooters toppling over.
Depending on the specific operator, users are typically reminded of safe and legal parking practices when using the e-scooter share app.
How could theft and vandalism of shared e-scooters be mitigated?
Shared e-scooters are equipped with GPS devices, allowing the operators to track the location of each e-scooter in their fleet.