Councillor wants tighter regulations on popular e-scooters
OTTAWA -- There are calls to more tightly regulate Ottawa’s electric scooters, which are proving popular as people zip around downtown.
Users can ride and leave the machines anywhere but at least one Ottawa councillor says that's making a mess.
The pilot project has been met with enthusiasm, with approximately 2,400 trips on the e-scooters every day.
But Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Carol Anne Meehan says something needs to change.
“It’s not hard to find an e-scooter that is in the wrong spot,” Meehan says. “When there’s no docking station, the users just discard the vehicle wherever their trip ends. So, it could be on someone’s lawn, or intersections, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing here in Ottawa; and there are complaints, and I think it's unsightly.”
Three companies rent out scooters in Ottawa: Lime, Roll, and Bird. Bird Canada CEO Stewart Lyons says they’ve had 90,000 rides in Ottawa since the middle of July, with 92 complaints sent to them. Still, they know this is an ongoing process.
Lyons says Bird takes all suggestions from users and council into consideration and that other cities have created a hybrid model for accessing the scooters.
“That's typically the best way to approach it,” Says Lyons, “where it's still free floating but, in areas where I'ts dense, you have designated corrals that most people respect, so that they're kind of out of the way.”
Some riders have been using the service improperly, yutting their safety, or that of others, at risk.
Sgt. Rob Cairns of The Ottawa Police Service says fines have been issued.
“We have issued fines but, again, it's more based on the education component at this current time. Stopping people and advising them what they’ve done wrong and advising them the correct way of riding these scooters,” he said.
Council will be looking at the pilot project in October to figure out what needs to be done and if anything needs to change.
“They should be anywhere,” says one rider. “Anywhere and everywhere. They need to be accessible. If they're not accessible then what’s the point?”