After one week on the road, Montreal 'not satisfied' with Lime e-scooters
Scooters winding up on sidewalks, riders not wearing helmets
App-activated electric scooters have been on Montreal's streets for just over a week, and they're winding up in some unlikely places.
Like the bottom of the Lachine Canal.
While most of the scooters are staying above ground, many are not being left at one of their 239 designated parking areas.
Farhad Rahmani, who owns a downtown dépanneur, says riders regularly leave the scooters outside his store.
"It's blocking my store. People can't get in," said Rahmani.
"It's bothering me."
He says he has to go outside and ask the riders to leave the scooters elsewhere, and has considered calling the police.
Those who do not park their scooters in the designated zones, or are not wearing a helmet, can be fined.
The city says that if the situation does not improve, the scooters won't be permitted to stay.
"We are not satisfied on how it is being implemented," said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.
She says the city is concerned for the safety of riders and the public at large, and that they are in close communication with Lime to improve the situation.
While Lime has a permit to operate 430 scooters in Montreal, the city says they've only deployed about half of their fleet so far.
"I'm glad that they're moving slowly," Plante said. "If [Lime] doesn't respect the rules then we'll have to stop it."
Lime scooters, which are activated with a smartphone app and charge riders per minute of use, are allowed to operate in the city until November as part of a pilot project.
They run on batteries, and can reach speeds of up to 20 km/h.
While other cities allow the scooters to be dropped off anywhere, Montreal has special parking zones.
But there's nothing in the app that stops riders from breaking that rule.
A Lime spokesperson told CBC News says that the Montreal operation has been a success so far, and that the company is working with the city on ways to educate their riders.
They say that could include holding events, adding informational messages in the app or attaching tags on the scooters, to remind riders what is and is not allowed.
Student Ines Hmida was using a Lime scooter for the first time Thursday, downtown.
While she knew riders must have a driver's license and be at least 18 years old, she was unaware of the parking restrictions.
"They don't have time probably to find a spot, it's understandable," she said about the problem of scooters left on sidewalks.
"You should probably leave them where they're supposed to be if that's the rule … but no one is stopping them, so they're just going to park it anywhere."
With files from Brian Lapuz