Bike-sharing could join e-scooters in Calgary in late spring

A rider travels on an e-scooter in a bike lane. File / Global News

Calgary could be getting more bike-sharing options in a program city councillors and micromobility companies alike are calling “innovative.”

Rather than subsidize bike-sharing like in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, the city of Calgary would require companies pay for all of the costs.

“I think this is a great way to look at how do you provide a different mobility option to Calgarians looking for it?” Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison said. “At the same time, there’s no cost to taxpayers on this.”

Representatives for both Bird Canada and Lime said they could do that if they were allowed to operate enough scooters to pay for the bikes.

Currently, two scooter companies will be limited to running 750 scooters each for 2021. Lifting that cap would allow for the companies to operate bikes and scooters in the city in an economical manner. And the city will only lift that cap if the companies address issues like scooter parking, wider availability and accessibility.

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“Part of the solution to this is figuring out if we can address those parking concerns, if we can integrate these options more widely across the city, looking at transit options, looking at International Avenue,” Davison, who also chairs the transportation and transit committee, said.

“And I think that’s going to be a bit of an iterative (trial and error) process.”

City officials told the committee Wednesday that a competitive permit process is underway, with the target of late May to have scooters on the ground.

Click to play video: 'Ask an Expert: Cycling safety for novice riders'
Ask an Expert: Cycling safety for novice riders

Ward 13 Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said late May was “unacceptable.”

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“It’s not going to serve our citizens for the need that they have now,” Colley-Urquhart said.

Doug Morgan, the city’s acting general manager of transportation, said he and his team will try to move up that timeline.

The committee also heard that while private electric scooters are allowed on the city’s pathways, they are not allowed on sidewalks or roadways per the Traffic Safety Act. E-scooter companies have insurance and have to get provincial exemptions to operate in the city, which include limiting top speeds.

Click to play video: 'Calgary launches e-scooter survey as pilot wraps'
Calgary launches e-scooter survey as pilot wraps

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