Electric scooter pilot rolling in Ottawa

OTTAWA – Ottawa’s electric scooter pilot program kicked off last week and visitors can now rent and roll all over the city.

“The city is pleased to announce that three operators – Bird Canada, Lime, and Roll – are bringing up to 600 shared e-scooters to the city’s multi-use pathways, bike lanes and streets,” city staff released in a statement last week. “E-scooters are a form of mobility that supports physical distancing and reduces car trips on our streets and crowding on transit. The electric kick scooter pilot, designed to gauge public interest and evaluate safe and courteous riding and parking, will run until the end of October. The city looks forward to working with Bird Canada, Lime and Roll to provide a safe and enjoyable e-scooter program for residents and visitors.”

Companies interested in providing e-scooters were asked to submit applications by Friday, June 26. The City has entered into an agreement with Bird Canada and is finalizing contracts with Lime and Roll. Residents could see Bird Canada’s e-scooters on streets starting Thursday, July 16, with Lime and Roll beginning operations in the following days.

Privately owned e-scooters have been allowed in Ottawa since the Electric Kick Scooter Bylaw came into effect Monday, June 29.

E-scooter sharing, which is available in many cities around the world, is when a private company provides a fleet of e-scooters, similar to a dockless bike share, for use by the public. Residents and visitors use a mobile app to unlock e-scooters and pay for the ride. At the end of the ride, the rider parks the e-scooter according to local rules.

“E-scooters must be parked upright in the sidewalk furniture zone, the area closest to the curb that is in line with trees, benches and bike racks, and out of the way of pedestrian travel,” city staff said. “Inappropriately parked scooters create barriers to accessibility, cause clutter and block access to homes and business.”

If you see an inappropriately parked e-scooter, report it to the provider. Each e-scooter will include contact information. Companies must move the e-scooter within one hour.

Shared e-scooters must be equipped with a bell, brakes and lights, and are for one rider who is 18 years or older. They can be used daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The providers’ apps will provide Ottawa Public Health’s guidelines for handwashing and physical distancing.

Shared e-scooters have a speed limit of 20 kilometres per hour. Like private e-scooters, they are not allowed on sidewalks, National Capital Commission pathways, in the City of Gatineau, in OC Transpo facilities, on buses and trains, and on streets with a posted speed limit of more than 50 kilometres per hour. Providers will use geofencing technology to slow scooters to a crawl and prevent them from being parked in these areas.

Providers use dockless technology, meaning there are no physical stations and e-scooters can be picked up and dropped off anywhere in the area of operation.

Bird Canada’s e-scooters can be picked up between Parkdale Avenue and Nelson Street, within the orange area on the map below. E-scooters can be ridden outside of this area, but service will be limited with geofencing. The deployment areas for all providers can be found on the city’s e-scooter web page.

“Whether you’re riding a shared or privately-owned e-scooter, it is important to practice safe and courteous riding and parking,” city staff said.

For more information on city programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 311 (TTY: 613-580-2401).