Montreal cyclists worried about growing presence of e-scooters on bike paths
Illegal to drive electric scooters on bike paths, Transports Québec says
With more electric scooters and e-bikes travelling Montreal's bike paths, some cyclists and pedestrians in the city are worried for their safety.
"It's a little bit scary," said Mariana Diez, a Montrealer who often goes out for walks pushing her baby on a stroller.
"They pass by really fast and sometimes it's not only one, there are two of them or three.... You feel that someone is going to run into you at some point."
In Quebec, bicycles and kick scooters are allowed on bike paths. Electric bicycles are also allowed as long as they have a maximum power of 500 watts and don't go over 32 kilometre per hour, according to Transports Québec spokesperson Louis-André Bertrand.
"It's a question of safety," he said. Bertrand also said the rules are clear and it's up to local police to enforce them.
Shadab Vhora, a delivery driver, uses his electric scooter for work and admits he sometimes hops onto a bike path, even though he doesn't think it's right.
"Sometimes I see kids on the bike path, and it's not safe for kids to be on the bike path when there's fast-driven vehicles there," he said. "I do sometimes when I have to, I wouldn't lie about it, but I usually don't prefer that."
Since 2018, the Quebec automobile insurance board — known by its acronym, the SAAQ — has been overseeing a pilot project to evaluate how electric scooters can be better integrated into the province's roadways. The project, initially slated to end in the fall of 2021, has been extended until September of next year.
Jean-François Papineau, who owns Mecamoto/Vespa Montreal, said more and more people are coming to his store to buy electric vehicles, with business nearly doubling in the last three years. He said many customers are asking him if they can ride their new toy on a bike path.
"They ask us if they can drive it over there but it has a plate, you need to have a helmet, so it's a street vehicle," Papineau said.
With files from Alex Leduc