Electric scooters, e-bike share programs could come to Edmonton

Electric scooters and electric bikes could ride their way onto Edmonton roads as early as this summer if approved by city council.

City officials want to have a bike share program up and running by June

Lime is one of the companies hoping to set up an electric scooter share program in Edmonton. City council will need to get provincial approval before e-scooters are allowed on the road. (Lime)

Electric scooters and electric bikes could ride their way onto Edmonton roads as early as this summer.

The city's urban planning committee recommended on Jan. 15 to move ahead with a bike and scooter share program, and city council followed up with its own approval on Tuesday.

This paves the way for companies to set up their own bike share programs instead of the city owning and paying for bike share infrastructure. Users would need to pay to rent a bike or scooter once a program is running.

In their recommendations, the urban planning committee also wants to allow electric bikes and electric scooters to ride on city roads. Also known as e-bikes and e-scooters, those devices have some electrical power to get people around.
Lime hopes to bring electric scooters to Edmonton streets this summer; it is already running programs in Waterloo and Calgary. (Lime)

But electrical scooters would require the city to amend bylaws and "request an exemption from the Alberta Traffic Safety Act to allow for the inclusion of electric scooters in the City of Edmonton's shared active transportation system," reads the committee's Jan.15 minutes.

Council has voted in favour of pursuing an exemption from the province.

E-scooters can hit 24 km/h

Lime is one of the companies hoping to offer an electric scooter share program in Edmonton. The company already has an e-scooter share program in Waterloo, Ont. and a pilot e-bike share program in Calgary.

Chris Schafer, a strategic development director with Lime, said electric scooters are increasingly becoming an alternative way to get around and cities like Edmonton could benefit from them.

We think the electric scooter ticks all of those boxes for cities.- Chris Schafer, Lime

"A lot of cities across Canada are talking about mode shift, getting people out of cars and into active, more healthier, forms of transportation," Schafer told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Friday.

"We think the electric scooter ticks all of those boxes for cities."

An e-scooter or e-bike are quick options to get people from point A to point B during warmer weather, with Lime's e-scooters able to hit speeds of around 24 km/h, said Schafer.

He added that if people want other options to get around without a vehicle, they need to be given choices.

"What really changes behaviour and mode shifts away from the car is the option. Residents need to have that choice and if that isn't available to them, it's hard for them to make the choice," said Schafer.