Chestermere residents will be able to scoot around the city on electric scooters by June.
Legislative Administrator for the City of Chestermere, Kallen Morrison explained during the May 2 council meeting, that city administration is in the process of finalizing a contract with Bird Canada.
Morrison noted that municipalities implement a pilot program when introducing e-scooters.
To determine how successful the pilot programs were in other municipalities, Morrison reviewed the pilot program survey results that were collected from Okotoks and Red Deer.
“The municipalities surveys found overwhelming support for the program, residents noted that they drove less, walked more during the duration of the program, which would be great for environmental purposes, health, lifestyle, and community aspects,” Morrison said. “Both cities continued the program after the pilot program. It got people out more, using their cars less, and residents found the experience to be fun.”
There’s no cost to bring the e-scooters to Chestermere, repair, or replace, as Bird Canada owns the scooters, however, the city could develop marked parking sports for the scooters to avoid congestion resulting in potential costs.
“Bird Canada is responsible, and covers the cost of delivering and retrieving scooters,” Morrison said.
Parking areas for the e-scooters was the primary concern of the program from council.
“While parking is a major concern, legislative services recommends that administration hold off on developing parking spots for e-scooters until the program is underway, to better understand hotspots and the use of resources more efficiency,” Morrison said. “If no one travels in that section, it’s a waste of resources.”
If the pilot program is successful, the city can place sidewalk decals in parking areas.
“I don’t think anything like bike racks or infrastructure will be needed but once again, we don’t know what we don’t know,” Morrison said.
The use of e-scooters on streets or sidewalks will be dependent on the area of the city, with mixed-use in central locations.
“When we get to the stage in what we implement for safety measures, wherever we designate the areas, we can look at pavement markings, signage, or bike lanes,” City Director of Growth and Planning Travis Fillier said.
The top speed of the scooters is 25 km/h, however, the scooters can be programmed to a lower top speed, to comply with city speed limits, and bylaws.
Bird Canada implements geo-fencing, creating an area where the scooters are operational, Morrison noted. The geo-fence prevents the scooters from going onto highways or major intersections.
To use an e-scooter, users must download the Bird Canada app to ensure safety measures are followed, use the safe start feature, which is designed to prevent users who are under the influence to ride, and wear a helmet attached to the scooter during each use.
“You can have all the safety provisions in the world, and stuff will still happen,” Morrison said. “There is a level of personal responsibility that the user must understand they agree to when using the service.”
Legislative services suggested to council that the city launch an information page on the city website, where residents can go to find the answer to any question they have, such as speed limits, safety, rules, and cost.