Kitchener-Waterloo

Waterloo open to allowing e-scooters on public roads

As the province's Ministry of Transportation is looking at whether or not to allow e-scooters and e-bikes on public roads, the City of Waterloo said it would be interested in the idea.

Province looking into allowing e-scooters and e-bikes on public roads

Ontario's Ministry of Transportation is looking at allowing e-scooters and e-bikes on public roads. (Lime)

The province is considering allowing e-scooters and e-bikes on public roads and it's an idea Waterloo is open to seeing happen.

Currently, the city is piloting Lime e-scooters on six kilometres of trail along the Laurel Trail in Waterloo Park and the David Johnston Research and Technology Park. That pilot runs until September.

Ryan Mounsey, senior economic development adviser with the City of Waterloo, said if the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) allows the scooters and e-bikes on roads, they'd work with police "to develop a team approach to see how this could be applied on specific roads."

He said staff are currently exploring the possibility of expanding the e-scooter pilot to other parts of the city, as well as how the use e-scooters could merge with the LRT once it starts running on June 21.

Philip Hewitson, Waterloo's manager of active transportation, said in an email the city will be in talks with the MTO in the coming weeks.

Lime's senior director of strategic development Chris Schafer told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo they have received notice from the MTO about the consultation on e-scooter and e-bikes on the road.

"We'll be engaged in that consultation as it moves forward," Schafer said.

"Our view is to treat the e-scooter as you would a bicycle or a pedal assist e-bike and where those can be ridden on the road, or in bike lanes ideally."

He notes if the province were to allow e-scooters and e-bikes on public roads, municipalities would most likely have to update their current bylaws to allow it.

E-scooters on sidewalks

Concerns around using e-scooters on sidewalks have been raised in some cities in the U.S., with complaints about scooters whipping by pedestrians and people leaving scooters on the sidewalks.

Schafer says Lime has ways to mitigate those kinds of disruptions by alerting users on their phone that they have left a scooter in the wrong place and can even fine a user for doing so.

Hewitson said there have been a few instances where people have left scooters in inappropriate places, but Lime is quick to respond to complaints.

He said all e-scooters are picked up by 9 p.m. every night and brought to a maintenance facility to be cleaned, repaired and charged. The scooters are then set out the next morning to their designated spots by 7 a.m.

Lime Scooters are parked near a bus stop in the David Johnston Research and Technology Park in Waterloo. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

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