Fredericton city councillors suss out e-scooters

·2 min read
For many in the Fredericton group, it was the first time on an e-scooter.  (Shane Fowler/CBC News - image credit)
For many in the Fredericton group, it was the first time on an e-scooter. (Shane Fowler/CBC News - image credit)

One night this week, Fredericton's mayor and about a dozen city councillors and staff strapped on helmets and went for a scoot.

Most had never been on an e-scooter before, but after a few shaky starts they struck out for a cross-city tour.

The short scoot from the city's downtown to Marysville and back along city trails and walking bridges was part of an effort to better understand the electric vehicles that have exploded in popularity in Fredericton and other Maritime cities this summer.

"It's good that council can get out and understand how it all functions, [how] e-scooters and e-bikes relate to pedestrians using the trails," said Coun. Bruce Grandy, head of the city's mobility committee. "We know that e-scooters and e-bikes are getting more popular for active transportation."

Grady said the intention of the outing was to give council an idea of what the recreational vehicles are capable of in terms of speed and manoeuvrability, and potential dangers to pedestrians on the trails.

"To me, if you want to create a bylaw and you want to understand what the challenges are, both from an enforcement perspective and the wording perspective, you should try it out, or you should be involved."

Fredericton has a bylaw that sets rules for parklands and trails and includes rules around the use of bicycles, such as the need to wear a helmet, ring a bell when passing pedestrians, and stay under 15 kilometres an hour when on a trail.

But without specific mention of e-scooters in that bylaw, it means the devices aren't governed by any of those rules.

Shane Fowler/CBC News
Shane Fowler/CBC News

Mayor Kate Rogers weighed in on what surprised her about the vehicles.

"How quickly you can go fast," Rogers said. "If you wanted to, you could rev it up faster than I think clearly should be utilized, particularly along the trails and stuff. I'm just amazed at how easily that can happen."

But the group understood the appeal.

"It's a lot of fun," said Grady. "It takes a little bit of getting used to, but it is really a lot of fun. I can see the appeal to using one of these."

Shane Fowler/CBC News
Shane Fowler/CBC News

He said council will take what it learned into consideration when and if any bylaws around speed limits or licensing will be put forward.

He expects that decision will be made in the fall.

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