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Safety concerns prompt changes to Calgary’s e-scooter program

Click to play video 'Changes coming to rules for e-scooters in Calgary' Changes coming to rules for e-scooters in Calgary
WATCH ABOVE: Calgarians will see some changes when the popular shared electric scooters return to the city in the spring of 2020. As Gil Tucker reports, users will have their speeds limited in busy areas and face new fines for risky riding.

City officials are recommending changes to Calgary’s shared electric scooter program, trying to improve safety for both riders and pedestrians.

The changes were approved Wednesday at a meeting of the city’s transportation committee and it’s expected city council will formalize them early in 2020.

One new initiative involves using technology to limit the scooters’ speed in areas of high pedestrian traffic.

“The devices actually have a governor on them that limits the speed,” said Andrew Sedor, the City Of Calgary’s business development co-ordinator. “So we looked at areas like Inglewood on 9 Avenue and 4 Street in Mission, where the sidewalks are a little bit more narrow, [where] we can actually decrease the speed to 15 kilometres per hour in some of those high pedestrian areas.”

During the first part of the e-scooter trial project in Calgary, the scooters were set at a constant maximum speed of 20 km/h.

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The changes approved on Wednesday come after the city reviewed responses from more than 9,000 Calgarians in an online survey, and also reviewed extensive data collected while the scooters were in use.

Many people told the city that e-scooters are a convenient and fun way to get around Calgary quickly.

There were also concerns about safety and complaints were made about close calls between e-scooters and pedestrians.

In response, the city is bringing in new fines for dangerous riders.

“[There will be a] $75 fine for doubling, a $400 fine for running into a pedestrian on the sidewalk and a $400 fine for basically acting badly on the sidewalk,” Seder said.
“Things like swerving, near misses. We worked with bylaw [officers] and the Calgary Police Service to look at what they were seeing in the field, so just some bad behaviours.”

READ MORE: New Calgary report shows complaints, injuries and destinations related to explosion in e-scooter use

The city is also planning on putting in designated parking spots for the e-scooters, but riders would not be required to park in them.

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The city will probably allow an increase in the numbers of scooters when the second half of the trial program begins in the spring of 2020.