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Ontario legalizing e-scooters!!! (Bird, Lime, segway, electric kickscooter, micro mobility, electric skateboards)

mdrejhon

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Fantastic last mile solution. I can see why you're excited about them and I hope they catch on here once we resolve some of the issues.
Yes. They are borderline miraculous during good weather. It's fun, and you don't arrive sweaty at work.

Segways at $5,000.00 were not popular -- but as ordinary-looking kickscooters electified at mere 500 bux -- scootershare born -- BOOM (thermonuclear) -- now mega-boom of scootershare worldwide -- and Bird has a $2 billion market cap with just a segway-kickscooter share system.

They're also deploying quickly & for free (cities don't have to pay Bird) -- which is different because bikeshare systems are usually partially tax/grant/donation subsidized.

The big big question seems to be - are they sidewalk friendly? I have no experience but at first glance I would expect e-scooters to coexist with bikes, rather than with pedestrians. The sidewalks should be for people on foot, who don't need to collide with anything that is moving faster. That assumes that we continue to enlarge and improve bike lanes and bikeways, of course - but in theory the speeds would seem to be more compatible and the need for protection from cars (and from pedestrians) is similar
Having visited 4 escooter cities, my opinion is escooters belong on bike infrastructure since their speeds are similar.

Sometimes city-specific rules.
- Safer roads with cycle infrastructure (but only narrow sidewalks) = city may allow only on roads
- Dangerous roads with no cycle infrastructure (but much wider bike-allowed sidewalks) = city may allow on sidewalks.

Due to this, I now think they should be permitted in a weight/speed limited manner in cities that have wide bikes-allowed sidewalks.
Definitely not narrow bikes-banned downtown sidewalks -- but those wide multiuse-trail sized suburban sidewalks.

The problem is some cities don't cap their speed. So in some cities, the scooters were faster and more scary to pedestrians. The key is implementation in a "right tool for right job" way -- size/weight/speed limit if allowed on multiuse trails. Definitely not 35kph -- that's too fast and dangerous, IMHO. One may hear those horror stories of other cities with scooters and pedestrians -- in a similar manner as bike accidents with pedestrians. Different for different cities.

But mandatory electronic speed cap of ~20kph + ~10kg for scootershare system?
Sure. No problem for wide multiuse trails. Why make these neutered kick scooters more illegal than a Fisher-Price rideable toy car or jeep.

From what I have seen on YouTube, residents can sign up to pick up scooters whenever they want and charge them. You get paid a certain amount per bike or per hour charged. Not to sure this is the same everywhere but I will look into it more.
Yes, they're using the gig economy. Rewards for picking up scooters & charging them & bringing them out.
- Bird calls them "Bird Chargers"
- Lime calls them "Lime Juicers"

A few university students have earned over $1000/month to help supplement studies.

CBC: Life of a 'Lime Juicer': How Calgarians charge up their bank accounts with Lime e-scooters
 
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crs1026

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The applications cited all assume a fairly dense urban environment where a sharing station is just a few steps away. I’m in a less dense (and hence more auto centric) inner suburb where a centrally located sharing stand is unlikely to be practical.. But for $500 I could certainly see people in the burbs owning one - plenty of room in the garage - and using it to run last-mile errands. It would really help the less mobile for whom walking and cycling pose physical issues (this is a bigger segment of the population than is recognized, and will grow as demographics age)

In suburban environments, It might really open up attitudes away from relying on cars. As noted, bikes while great, do have down sides in bulkiness, wardrobe constraints, and sweatiness factor. It is probably far easier to manoeuvre a scooter than a bike in close clearance situations and when stopping. There is a sizable portion of the population for whom bikes are not an option for a particular journey, and this may be an alternative. Being able to recharge at the outer point in a journey would likely add further appeal.

The biggest dilemma on my street is how to move beyond the car without shelling out big bucks for an e-car. These devices might help that.

- Paul
 

mdrejhon

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The parking enforcement officers should use the e-scooters. Won't take up street space as they write up and hand out parking tickets. Other police agencies use segways currently.
201527


Those quaint segways!
(While fun, the real revolution is the kickscooter format)

While nice and preferred by some, those classic segways are really slow, bulky and expensive in comparison. They’re nice for specific uses, and was formerly hyped as the revolutionary micromobility solution.

But the real micromobility that spectacularly succeeded (One city had more kickscooters than bikes on their bike paths) were just simple kick scooters that have been electrified with hidden batteries, and cost one-tenth as much as the original segways.

The electric kickscooters can go much faster than a Segway, while weighing less. To the point where electronic speed limiters are now mandatory — Bird/Lime programs them to match the city law.

The identical scooter often rode 7kph slower in one city than a different one. And they can automatically become slower if you exit your geofence (like the Kitchener-Waterloo multiuse-trail-only campus-only trial). They all have built-in computers (with GPS and LTE) for Lime and Bird scooters. I hope the city puts a reasonable electronic speed limiter law specific to their downtown cores to avoid scaring pedestrians — I’ve seen that happen.

The backend infrastructure at Lime/Bird already exists for automatic GPS geofenced speed limits and parking areas — since every single scootershare scooter in the world has GPS+LTE. They can easily automatically program a slightly slower electronic speed limiter in the Toronto Downtown GPS geofence, and a slightly higher electronic speed limiter on the waterfront bike trail, and a higher electronic speed limiter on suburban roads. You actually notice your scooter slow down. I’ve seen it happen to my scootershare scooter.

It’s the city responsibility not to be too speed-generous with excessively generous speed limits (and scooter parking) when granting a permit to Bird/Lime in problematic pedestrian-filled downtown cores.
 
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robmausser

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Will this law cover electric skateboards as well? Currently they are "technically" illegal (the law says no electrically powered devices on sidewalks, and no skateboards on the road. so...nowhere)
 

BurlOak

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As a recreational cyclist, I would like to try these electric scooters one day.

30 km/h is too fast for my liking. It's as if I were biking downhill on a rather steep slope.
30 is too fast for safety.
30 is too slow in a 50 km/h zone (even 40 zone is iffy).
It would be nice if these things had a high and low range.
Low range (<10km/h) you could ride on (non-busy, i.e. suburban) sidewalk.
High range (up to 25 km/h), you could ride on street that's posted at 40 km/h or less.
Just like bicycles, you should need a (vehicle?) license (cheap, cost ~$10) just so rider has greater regard for rules.
 

crs1026

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Just like bicycles, you should need a (vehicle?) license (cheap, cost ~$10) just so rider has greater regard for rules.
What a pain to administer!

And - having a license makes auto drivers obey the rules so thoroughly? Inevitably there will be a system of demerit point, cops issuing warnings etc.

These things are a sea change for mobility, but we can’t put our heads in the sand and limit their use to avoid grappling with change.

The current theory is there will be an age limit of 18, but a prime application for these might well be students (for a relevant case study, consider how the late afternoon hordes on Royal York buses might get to the subway differently wirh folding scooters) (and imagine the impact on a high school if every student needed to recharge their scooter during the day....how many plugs are there in the hallways?)

- Paul
 

BurlOak

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What a pain to administer!

And - having a license makes auto drivers obey the rules so thoroughly? Inevitably there will be a system of demerit point, cops issuing warnings etc.

These things are a sea change for mobility, but we can’t put our heads in the sand and limit their use to avoid grappling with change.

The current theory is there will be an age limit of 18, but a prime application for these might well be students (for a relevant case study, consider how the late afternoon hordes on Royal York buses might get to the subway differently wirh folding scooters) (and imagine the impact on a high school if every student needed to recharge their scooter during the day....how many plugs are there in the hallways?)

- Paul
For 50+ years we have been putting more and more rules on many things to make things safer - and now we throw them all out. If we as a society really want, let's reduce our level of safety by and order of magnitude and we can accept these new things, and modify the old.

Cars have license, insurance, seatbelts, airbags, DRL, etc., etc. Now we throw safety out the window so that people can quickly grab a scooter and travel 30km/h with no protection at all.
We put onerous regulations on taxis requiring driver certification, licenses, tests, etc. but then Uber comes along and offers a cheaper ride and the regulation saddled taxi industry dies.
We put onerous regulations on hotels, including zoning, safety, fire rules, etc. but when Airbnb comes along we throw that all out to save a few bucks on accommodations.
 

mdrejhon

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I think Toronto City council would go with the 20kph speed limiter in the scooter-share services found in Calgary and Edmonton. This gives reasonable speed consistency with bikes.

25kph would be my upper limit. That would work well in Hamilton.
 
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W. K. Lis

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I think Toronto City council would go with the 20kph speed limiter in the scooter-share services found in Calgary and Edmonton. This gives reasonable speed consistency with bikes.

25kph would be my upper limit. That would work well in Hamilton.

Ll

M
Only if the automobile manufacturers include a 120 km/h speed delimiter, or better yet a computerized GPS delimiter that restricts the motor vehicle going faster than 10 km/h over the posted speed limit.
 

lenaitch

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There are always two speed limiting factors, inherent and legal. For traditional motor vehicles, legislators have chosen to regulate the latter rather than the former, which is operator-dependent and implies licencing. It would seem regulating the inherent speed of the scooter would be less cumbersome (creative hackers aside). Liability remains a concern but I suppose no more or less than with bicycles.
 

mdrejhon

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Every single e-scooter share system in the world have standardized on remotely-programmable speed limiters, as a matter of unconventional fit in for sidewalk/bike/road rule variances on a city by city basis. Who wants 35kph e-scooters on sidewalks? Or 10kph scooters in the middle of the road?

It’s a tool that is there.because of the necessity of GPS tracking and remote logistics (renters looking for nearby available scooters, various geofence features, fleet anti theft protection, gig economy to find dead scooters for scooter charging), that all of the e-scooters all have GPS+LTE.

My actual real-world experience in 4 cities leads me to prefer them merged into bike infrastructure, with similar speed limiters (20 or 25). In some cities, I saw personal-owned souped-up kick style e-scooters zoom by at 35kph, and you don’t want those on a MUT.

Tiny motors and batteries now exist today, to propel some kid size kickscooters to killing speeds nowadays. It’s amazing when you see such a kickscooter zoom past you that fast. Technology! Progress! And this will keep getting slimmer. Speed you can hide in a bag.

For *rentals* that ANY 18 year old — can already actual randomly rent simply by scanning their iPhone on the e-scooter QR code to unlock instantly — I feel the speed limiters are a mandatory thing in my actual experience. Pedestrians in some cities get too freaked otherwise. You see the news in those cities!

I love the scooters, but 20kph for rental units, usable by any kid without a driver license, was a wise call by Calgary and Edmonton, and I don’t use a helmet to ride these kickscooters. At faster speeds, helmets probably should be mandatory for self-owned scooters that go close to motorcycle speeds (I.e. faster than 25kph.)
 
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