Electric scooters return to Edmonton streets Wednesday for third season

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Edmontonians are once again able to wheel around the city on electric scooters for the third straight year.

Lime, one of two approved vendors in the city, relaunched about 100 e-scooters Wednesday and will ramp up its fleet to meet demand as the weather warms.

Edmonton is the first Canadian city to see e-scooters return to the streets as a transportation option, Lime said in a statement.

“Edmontonians took nearly 500,000 trips with Lime in 2020, highlighting the important role e-scooters played in helping residents make essential trips during the pandemic,” the statement said. “With tourism and commuter trips severely reduced as a result of COVID-19, Edmontonians instead used scooters as a way to make errands, see friends as a socially-distanced activity and get outside to reconnect in their city.”

A recent study out of Emory University in the United States found e-scooters to be a valuable contributor to local businesses. Across four cities over a period of six months, every scooter on the streets led to $921 in revenue for restaurants.

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The other approved vendor, Bird Canada, said it plans to relaunch in Edmonton within the next two weeks depending on the weather.

Both Bird and Lime have been registered to operate in Edmonton since the summer of 2019 after council voted to permit bike and scooter sharing. No bike or e-bike sharing programs have been launched over the last three years.

In response to COVID-19, both vendors said they have enhanced cleaning methods and increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting scooters, although they aren’t cleaned between each user.

E-scooters aren’t allowed to operate on sidewalks or park trails and can only be used on roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h or less, bike lanes, shared pathways and shared streets when they come online. They can be parked on sidewalks, parking lanes or parkland, but in a way that doesn’t block doors or walking paths. Use of a helmet on an e-scooter is encouraged, but not mandatory.

More to come.

duscook@postmedia.com

twitter.com/dustin_cook3

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