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'We made them safer and more fun': Here's what's new about e-scooters


Electric scooters (e-scooters) have been gaining popularity in the capital and this season comes with some changes and updates.

This year, e-scooters have new features, Tim Tierney, city councillor for the Beacon Hill-Cyrville ward told CTV Morning Live's Rosey Edeh.

“It's been an evolution. We used to have the dumb scooter that you could park anywhere. And now, we have the smart evolution of scooters,” Tierney said.

“They're always updated all the time, and it makes it so it prevents sidewalk riding, jumping at a round.”

Tierney notes that residents wanted the service to start earlier, as some use e-scooters to go to work.

“We've looked at the trips and it's really exciting. Some of the data we got back, people wanted it to start earlier because they wanted to go to work and it used to start only at 6 a.m. (and) now 5 a.m.,” said Tierney.

The service is also going after 11 p.m. and Tierney says some safety measures have been added to accommodate this extension.

“You got to be cautious because after 11 o'clock there's going to be a sobriety test. So, it's going to use either the speed or matching lines. I won't tell you which. And it's just to ensure we have some safe riding after 11 o'clock till 1 a.m. in the morning,” he said.

Tierney says it's not only fun to use the e-scooters, but also easy to navigate.

“They have the barcodes on the top of the scooters and this is for demonstration purposes. You scan it in, you punch it in and now suddenly you're on your way,” Tierney said.

“So you strap on your helmet if you wish and you're gonna hop on the scooters. And that's about it.”

Tierney notes that the e-scooters are expected to foster tourism and economic growth in the city.

“The tourists love it. They are to get around,” he said.

He notes that residents in Ottawa will not incur an increase in taxes as a result of the service.

“It's not going to cost tax payers a dime,” he said.

What are the safety rules?

Though the e-scooters are “all about having fun,” there are some safety rules in place, Tierney said.

“You can't ride on the sidewalks. You riding crazy, you're account will probably be shut,” he said.

  • Riders in Ottawa must be 16 years old and above.
  • Those under 18 need consent from a parent or a legal guardian.
  • Helmets are mandatory for riders under 18 and strongly recommended for all users.
  • E-scooters can be ridden on city bike lanes, multi-use trails, pathways and streets that have a speed limit of 50km/h or lower. Always stay as far right as is safe.
  • The speed limit for e-scooters is 20km/h or 12km/h in designated “slow zones.”
  • Riding on sidewalks is not permitted
  • One rider is permitted per e-scooter and no tandem riding. Do not ride with children.
  • Always keep a safe distance from pedestrians and mobility devices such as wheelchairs.
  • Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
  • Be aware and remove earphones.
  • Follow local parking guidelines.

There are two companies providing the e-scooter service in Ottawa -- Neuron and Bird.

This year, the season of the e-scooters kicked off on April 18 -- an earlier start to the season. The program will run until Nov. 15.

The 2023 season of the pilot program ran from May 15 to Nov. 15 where approximately 50,000 users took about 179,000 trips around the city. There were about 1,000 trips per day, the city says.

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Ted Raymond and William Eltherington Top Stories

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