One-third of e-scooter trips in Calgary are replacing a car trip, raising the possibility that use of the ride-share electric scooters is reducing tail-pipe emissions, says a new municipal report.
“Calgary was the first jurisdiction in Canada to allow e-scooters, and over all, our first season was a success," Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said. "We know one-third of all scooter trips replaced one by car, and more than that, it made transportation fun. We’ll be making some adjustments heading into Year 2, and hope to see even more success.”
In Calgary, there have been 750,000 e-scooter trips from July until October, when they were taken off the road because of wintry weather.
Stewart Lyons, CEO of Bird Canada, which is running a pilot project with e-scooters in Calgary, said in an interview on Sunday that the figures on cars off the road is consistent with findings elsewhere.
“Typically, we see the same number, around 30 per cent. It’s a very consistent number,” he said. “It’s important, not just from a green perspective, but a congestion perspective. Every city has got congestion and Calgary is no exception.”
The report recommends such measures as low-speed zones in high-use pedestrian areas and bylaws to allow for better enforcement as well as strategic enforcement of rules and laws in locations where there were higher rates of 311 calls on bad behaviour.
“Bad behaviours included going too fast for the environment, swerving between pedestrians, and near misses of pedestrians,” said the report, which is set for discussion Wednesday at the standing policy committee on transportation, ahead of eventual review by city council.
Calgary is among an estimated 100 cities around the world taking a spin with the battery-powered scooters, which are available to the public for a small fee.
Bird Canada has pilot projects in Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal. It is hoping to launch in Toronto this spring and is also looking at Ottawa.
Mr. Lyons said he has met with officials in Vancouver and is looking at Victoria, which would be interesting markets because of the option, given the climate in both regions, for year-round operation. The B.C. government has introduced legislation clarifying the rules on the use of such personal transportation, allowing pilot projects to test them and other rules for rolling them out.
Calgary is trying out e-scooters as well as e-bikes.
A pilot project featuring both started in October, 2018, with Lime Electric Scooter deploying 500 e-bikes and Bird Canada deploying 1,000 e-scooters as of July.
The municipal report also covered e-scooter injuries; between July and October, there were 33 e-scooter injuries that required ambulances.
Thirty-two of them involved the riders of the e-scooters and one involved a pedestrian. Seven of the 33 were admitted to hospital.
Speed, losing control and hitting a pothole or stationary object such as a pole were the key causes of injury.
“While the pilot has been popular, there have also been concerns and complaints predominately surrounding where the devices are ridden, how they are parked, the behaviour of some riders and injuries involving the devices,” the report said.
We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.