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City committee asked to green light e-scooter use in Ottawa
City staff recommend Ottawa allow e-scooters in Ottawa (Photo courtesy City of Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- Electric scooters could soon have the green light to travel on City of Ottawa paths and roads with speed limits of up to 50 kilometres an hour.
However, e-scooter riders will not be permitted on sidewalks or National Capital Commission pathways.
A report for the June 3 Transportation Committee meeting recommends the city hold a one-year, electric kick scooter pilot project to allow e-scooters in Ottawa. As part of the pilot project, the city would partner with private service providers to offer e-scooters.
On January 1, the Ontario Government started a five-year electric kick scooter pilot project, allowing municipalities to opt in. An e-scooter is a two-wheeled device the rider stands on, holding a handlebar. It is powered by a battery and can travel up to 24 kilometres an hour.
City staff say electric scooters offer potential benefits by reducing trips taken by personal car or by ride-hailing services, and can support transit ridership.
“However, there are also challenges such as parking compliance, illegal sidewalk riding, and potential injuries.”
Staff recommend the city approve a new Electric Kick Scooter By-law covering the use of e-scooters by both private and shared e-scooter use.
Staff also propose the city partner with a private service provider for a one-year trial, offering a maximum fleet of 600 e-scooters. Two e-scooter sharing companies have expressed an interest in offering shared e-scooter service in Ottawa.
Ontario’s regulations for e-scooters include riders being 16 years of age and older, a maximum speed limit of 24 kilometres an hour, helmets for riders under 18 and all e-scooters equipped with a bell, a brake and lights.
The City of Ottawa’s proposed bylaw would prohibit e-scooter riding on sidewalks and permit e-scooters on all city-owned cycling facilities, multi-use pathways, footbridges and on roads with speed limits of up to 50 kilometres-an-hour.
Staff recommend the city launch an education and outreach campaign on considerate e-scooter riding and parking behaviour to mitigate the risk of sidewalk riding.
The City of Ottawa report notes both the NCC and the City of Gatineau are not permitting e-scooters this year, which would limit their use on shared pathways.