Micro-mobility in Edmonton: Should the Segway be allowed alongside the e-scooter?

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WATCH ABOVE: The popularity of e-scooters in Edmonton has some people wondering why the rules are different for Segways. Vinesh Pratap reports. – Aug 26, 2019

Chris Szydlowski watches with pause as micro-mobility takes off with the e-scooter, a decade after he brought a different form personal mobility to the city.

“I mean, maybe frustrated is just one way to phrase it,” explained Szydlowski, who operates River Valley Adventure Co., which offers Segway tours of a small part of Edmonton.

Even before he opened his company, Szydlowski had been pushing to see Segways used in more places than the specific areas he’s designated to, but there’s been no luck.

“Commonly misunderstood, the Segway,” Szydlowski inferred as the reasoning behind the restrictions he continues to face.

In July, the city approved rule changes for e-scooters available through share service companies, allowing their use on bike lanes, shared pathways and even roadways where the speed limit is less than 50 kilometres per hour.

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“If you go back a generation, which really, what we’re talking about with the Segway, there wasn’t that kind of pressure,” says Edmonton Councillor Scott McKeen, when asked by Global News why e-scooter rules evolved so quickly.

But with times changing, should the Segway share the same space with its e-scooter cousin?

The province is the overarching authority. But when it comes to the rules around where personal mobility devices can be used, it’s up to local politicians.

“I’m not going to take that on, it’s not a high priority,” McKeen says. “I don’t think it’s an unreasonable position like that operator to come before council or come before administration.”

READ MORE: E-scooters zipping around Edmonton cause for excitement and concern

Szydlowski is taking things in stride, also getting into the e-scooter business, now offering the service in Kelowna.

The goal is to expand elsewhere, including Edmonton, with the hope that eventually, the Segway can also ride the coattails of the e-scooter phenomenon.

“I think we need to change the bike lanes. Those need to be called micro-mobility lanes.”


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