FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, May 23, 2019
K’JIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) - Today, Councilor Shawn Cleary will present a motion requesting a staff report on dockless bike share and scooter share. The motion aims to review by-laws that will be required to support these emerging modes of transportation.
Kelsey Lane, sustainable transportation coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, says it’s important that municipalities and provinces proactively put regulatory frameworks in place in preparation for micro-mobility.
“E-bike share and e-scooter share provide other opportunities for residents to get around without needing a car,” says Lane.
“If we are going to meet our regional targets of reducing car trips by almost 10 per cent by 2031, we need to make sustainable transportation much more accessible, attractive and convenient.”
Lane says e-scooters are an opportunity to provide a low-carbon way for people to get around without using a car, and are growing in popularity in Canada.
“In other cities, e-scooters have been successfully used to complement other forms of sustainable transportation, such as getting to and from the nearest bus stop,” Lane says.
In some municipalities across Canada, residents are already using e-scooters. In Waterloo, Ontario, more than 6,000 e-scooter riders completed over 18,000 trips since the City’s e-scooter pilot began in November 2018.
Free-floating micro-mobility doesn’t come without challenges. Many of the regions that have successfully introduced e-bike share and e-scooters have existing infrastructure such as protected bike lanes.
“While the concerns are legitimate, HRM is expecting to have a network of connected bike lanes by 2022,” says Lane.
Other objections to e-scooters have arisen around equity and access to the devices. But Lane says some cities are already paving the way for equitable access to micro-mobility.
In Portland, Oregon, 20 per cent of e-scooter and e-bike fleets must be deployed in underserved neighborhoods. In Washington, DC, the region requires that e-scooters have the ability to be unlocked without needing a cell phone or credit card.
“We have a strategic advantage in Nova Scotia because we can learn from other cities. It’s important that we ask ourselves now what we expect of micro-mobility systems. If we proactively plan for equitable access, parking, connectivity and accessibility, the technology can deliver that,” says Lane.
Overall, Lane says that residents in HRM would benefit from e-bike share and e-scooters. “If we are serious about reducing our GHG emissions from the transportation sector, we need to embrace shared mobility options. If we are proactive we can set the terms and use this as a tool to achieve our region-wide transportation goals.”
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For more information, please contact:
Sustainable Transportation Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre
(902) 266 - 5263