Edmonton to crack down on e-scooters over long weekend

·2 min read
First approved in July 2019, Edmonton has licensed up to 4,000 e-scooters through three companies.  (Lime - image credit)
First approved in July 2019, Edmonton has licensed up to 4,000 e-scooters through three companies. (Lime - image credit)

The City of Edmonton says it will undertake its first e-scooter enforcement blitz this long weekend, nearly two years after the two-wheelers first hit city streets.

From Saturday through Monday, bylaw officers will up enforcement in areas such as downtown, Old Strathcona and the river valley where e-scooter use is highest, the city said in a news release Friday.

Bylaw officers will educate riders and, if necessary, issue tickets, the city said.

E-scooters are permitted in bike lanes, on shared pathways and shared streets, and on roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h or lower.

The pledge to crack down on e-scooter rule breakers comes after some city councillors and Old Strathcona business owners criticized a lack of enforcement targeting sidewalk riders.

People who ride on the sidewalk could face a $100 ticket, but as of April 21, the city had not issued any fines this year.

City council first approved the scooters in July 2019. Edmonton now has licensed three e-scooter companies — Spin, Lime and Bird — for a total of 4,000 machines.

A city-administered survey completed in December found public opinion was split about the number of e-scooters on the roads.

About 30 per cent of respondents said there should be fewer scooters on the road, while 21 per cent said there should be more. Other respondents either said they had no opinion or the scooter numbers should stay the same.

The survey found roughly one in five scooter users thought they could ride on sidewalks while about one in three thought they could cruise on unmaintained park trails, both prohibited under city bylaw.

E-scooter companies say they have taken steps to clamp down on outlaw scooting, with "no sidewalk riding" notices listed on Spin's app and website.

Lime said it was adding large "licence plates" to scooters so people could report misbehaviour.

The city said there will be a second period of escalated enforcement in June.

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