E-scooters are gaining popularity in Ottawa
OTTAWA -- It seems as though you cannot turn a corner in the city of Ottawa without spotting an e-scooter; and the popularity has increased during the second year of an e-scooter pilot program.
The city is marking a milestone for completed trips. So far this year, there have been more trips than in total last year.
"Since the launch of the e-scooter program on May 28, 2021, to Sunday, August 23, 2021, there have been over 280,000 e-scooter trips for a total trip distance of over 480,000 kilometres," writes Heidi Cousineau, Program Manager, Neighbourhood Traffic Calming, Transportation planning with the city of Ottawa.
Last summer, more than 72,720 unique riders took more than 238,000 rides on e-scooters between July 16 and Oct. 31.
E-Scooters are available for rent from one of three different providers, Bird Canada, Lime and Neuron. The scooters are electric, and powered by a battery.
"This is actually my first time in Ottawa, and then my friend over here told me about these scooters, and I was like, 'Why not try them?'" said Talel Jamour while trying one out for the first time while visiting the ByWard Market.
"We’ve had a good response from the people of Ottawa. We’ve been seeing that they’ve been using it, multiple usages, making purchases, going out and meeting their friends," says Ankush Karwal, Regional Manager for Neuron. "An average scooter ride in Ottawa is about two to two and a half kilometres per trip," he says.
"The Ottawa pilot has been excellent so far. We are so proud to have served Ottawa with over 300,000 rides since the program’s inception, which has led to 120,000 motor vehicle trips not taken," said Stewart Lyons, CEO of Bird Canada, in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.
It’s not all smooth rolling on Ottawa's roads.
"We’re getting complaints daily about scooters being left on sidewalks, or ridden on sidewalks," says Catherine McKenney, Somerset Councillor. "It really is a serious issue, for people who are parents with strollers, seniors, seniors in walkers, people with any sort of disability."
When you’re done riding, you’re supposed to leave the scooter out of the way, and “upright in the sidewalk furniture zone, the area closest to the curb in line with trees, benches and bike racks and out of the way of pedestrian travel," according to the city’s website.
"I would like this to work, I think it is fun. I think it’s a great way of people travelling about, but our number one priority has to be about safety for pedestrians," says McKenney.
The city of Ottawa has received 108 e-scooter inquiries through 311 and 192 emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. The city says the majority of the emails and inquiries are about improperly parked e-scooters and sidewalk riding.
The following regulations are in place for the use of e-scooters in Ottawa.
- Riders must be 16 years or older;
- The operating speed limit is 20 kilometres per hour;
- Shared e-scooters from providers can be used daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.;
- For riders under the age of 18, a helmet is required to ride the e-scooter;
- Each scooter is allowed a single rider at a time; and,
- Riders must follow proper riding and parking behaviour.
The pilot program wraps up on November 30 with a report expected at the Transportation Committee in February.