Shareable electric scooters are back on the streets of downtown Ottawa after a delayed start to the 2022 season, and the city hopes they’ll be safer for riders and pedestrians.
Under the pilot project, which the city council extended for a third year in March, the battery-powered, GPS-enabled scooters appeared in late May last year and mid-July in 2020.
In a press release, the city said two companies had been selected to return this season: Bird Canada and Neuron Mobility. A third company that operated in Ottawa, Lime Electric Scooters, will not be returning this year.
Neuron scooters hit the streets on Wednesday, followed by Bird next week.
According to the city, this year’s launch will take place in a few select neighborhoods and then expand to other areas if new features designed to improve safety are found to be working properly.
Electric scooters will now emit a continuous sound that will alert others when they are nearby. The new integrated technology will also deter riders from using the sidewalk and encourage proper parking, the city said.
Drivers who don’t park their scooters securely will face additional fees, and those who violate other rules could face additional fines and even be banned from using apps, according to the city.
This aims to address concerns raised by accessibility advocates who have complained that scooters are often left cluttering up sidewalks, creating a hazard.
Scooters will be available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. throughout the season.