Calgary

Rules of the road and sidewalk: Here's what you need to know about e-scooters

Calgarians have been quick to jump on board e-scooters and e-bikes. These are the city's rules for getting around Calgary on wheels.

Riding anything from unicycles to mopeds in the wrong lane can result in fines

The City of Calgary is running a shared electric scooter pilot project until October 2020. (Lime)

Electric-powered scooters rolled out across Calgary on the weekend — and Calgarians have been quick to jump on board. 

Lime had its most successful e-scooter opening weekend globally in the city.

"Calgarians really like their shared services," said Andrew Sedor, business development co-ordinator for the city's transportation department. 

Sedor said there have been more than 100,000 trips on Lime e-bikes since they hit Calgary streets one year ago. 

Here's what you need to know if you plan on wheeling around the city: 

Bicycles and unicycles 

Minimum age: Cyclists under 16 are required to wear a helmet when riding. 

E-bike and e-scooter users, as well as cyclists and unicyclists, are permitted to use bike lanes in Calgary. (Kirthana Sasitharan/CBC)

For the most part, Calgarians have to follow the same rules as cars when commuting — except they can use bike lanes, where available. 

The city requires cyclists to have a bell and at least one working brake. If riding in the dark, cyclists must also have lights and a rear reflector. 

Cyclists face a handful of fines if they fail to follow the rules of the road. According to city bylaws, cyclists can be fined $100 for failing to yield before entering a roadway, sidewalk or pathway. There is also a $100 ticket for operating a bicycle on Deerfoot Trail. 

E-bikes, both personal and shared 

Minimum age: Users can be as young as 12 to use a power bicycle, but they need to have written consent from a legal guardian. Riders must be 18 to use a shared e-bike. Calgarians under 16 are prohibited to carry passengers on private e-bikes, while shared e-bikes are single-rider devices. 

Lime launched its dockless e-bikes in Calgary last fall. (Dave Dormer/CBC)

All e-bike users are required to wear helmets, either motorcycle or bicycle helmets, once they hop aboard a vehicle. 

Riders must yield to pedestrians and obey all traffic laws as they ride on roads, pathways and in designated bike lanes. It is illegal to ride these vehicles on sidewalks and those who do so can be fined. 

The golden rule for riding any electric vehicle is ensuring pedestrians have the right of way, Sedor said. 

He added that driving an e-bike or e-scooter while intoxicated is prohibited — and can result in an impaired driving charge. 

E-scooters, both personal and shared

Minimum age: Users must be 18 to ride a shared e-scooter.  

A man uses a Lime e-scooter in Calgary with a boy standing in front of him. (Joel Schulz)

The province classifies e-scooters as prohibited miniature vehicles that can be used only on private property. However, the City of Calgary has permission to run a shared e-scooter pilot project until October 2020. That's why Lime has launched its scooters in the city.

Bird Canada plans to launch e-scooter rentals in Calgary and Edmonton, but the city said the company has yet to apply for a permit. 

These devices won't be available to the public during the winter months, between November and March. 

While it's not illegal to ride these devices without a helmet, Sedor said the city "strongly encourages" Calgarians to wear them. 

E-scooter and e-bike users driving while intoxicated can be charged. (Craig Desson/CBC)

Users can ride only on sidewalks, pathways and in bike lanes. It is illegal to ride these single-user devices on city roads. 

City bylaws state e-scooter riders can be fined $25 for riding on the street, $75 for riding on sidewalks where signs indicate they are prohibited and $150 for interfering with a pedestrian. 

Both shared e-scooter and e-bike riders must also park their vehicles out of the pedestrian path, Sedor said. 

Hoverboards, golf carts, go-karts, motorized skateboards, pocket bikes and segways

The province defines these devices as miniature vehicles, which are restricted to private property. It's illegal to operate them on highways and in busy private spaces accessible to the public including mall parking lots. 

Calgarians can ride hoverboards only on private property. (Marta Iwanek/Canadian Press)

Private e-scooters also fall under this restricted class of vehicles. 

However, a new Calgary bylaw allows for these modes of transportation to be used on city pathways — but not bike lanes, streets or sidewalks.

Inline skates and non-motorized skateboards and scooters 

These devices can be used on sidewalks and in designated bike lanes in Calgary.

The City of Calgary updated its transportation bylaws to allow inline skate, skateboard and scooter users to ride on sidewalks and in bike lanes. (Dan Kerslake/CBC)

However, users must yield right of way to pedestrians and can be ticketed for interfering with passersby. 

Mobility aids 

Mobility aid users must follow the same laws as pedestrians when it comes to getting around Calgary. Users are prohibited from riding down streets and bike lanes, if not simply crossing them. 

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this article did not acknowledge that a new City of Calgary bylaw allows what the province deems "prohibited miniature vehicles" to be used on Calgary pathways.
    Jul 18, 2019 3:40 PM MT