Intelligence

Regulators should allow dockless bikes and scooters in Canadian cities, subscribers say

WASHINGTON, DC - OCT. 11, 2018: Two dockless electric scooters parked, SKIP scooter rider rides in background., downtown, DC. Lime-S and Bird scooters among several scooter companies in Washington Shutterstock
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The Logic subscribers believe regulators should allow dockless bikes and scooters in Canadian cities.

Seventy per cent of subscribers who responded to the January survey said the vehicles should be allowed. 41.2 per cent strongly agreed that they should be allowed, and 29.4 per cent somewhat agreed.

In November 2018, The Logic broke the news that North America’s largest scooter companies, Bird and Lime, were quietly looking to expand to major cities across Canada including, for Lime, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Victoria and Edmonton.. Last week, The Logic reported that ride-hailing giant Uber is looking to get in on the action with scooters and dockless bikes in Toronto.

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“Our cities are changing, and municipalities are not adapting fast enough,” wrote one subscriber. “I believe private sector innovation, though [it] often [goes] awry, is the way for forward progress.”

Bird and Lime are lobbying provincial governments in Alberta and Ontario to change laws that bar scooters from being on public roads. Lime has already found ways to operate in Canada despite the legal restrictions, with a dockless bike pilot in Calgary and a scooter pilot in Waterloo.

Not all subscribers were optimistic about the devices. Overall, 11.8 per cent of subscribers somewhat disagreed with the idea of regulators allowing dockless bikes and scooters, while 17.7 per cent strongly disagreed.

“They will impinge on limited sidewalk and public realm space, and in general be a public nuisance. Public authorities lack the policy tools to regulate them, and the resources to enforce,” said one subscriber.

Several subscribers cited Canadian weather as a potential limiting factor for scooter and dockless bike expansion. “These companies are successful in American cities where the climate is mild and [they] have an established cycling road system,” one wrote.

Winter weather has caused a number of problems in U.S. cities including scooters having struggling to move along snow-filled roads and having difficulty charging in the cold.

Methodology

The results are from The Logic’s fifth subscriber survey. A private link was sent to subscribers by email and the survey was conducted online. All respondents were kept anonymous and duplicates were removed as needed. Our subscribers were asked to provide responses to a series of questions. For this question, subscribers were asked to indicate if they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “Regulators should allow dockless bikes and scooters in Canadian cities.”

Some subscribers think that the devices would be good for environmental reasons. One respondent said they were “green methods of transportation.” Another wrote, “Ultimately the multiple options for transport is a good thing and will move us closer to car-less societies.”

Many subscribers said the vehicles should be allowed but only under certain conditions. That’s generally the approach Canadian regulators have taken so far.

In Calgary, for example, all users of Lime’s dockless bikes are required to wear helmets. One subscriber said there should be “adequate safety regulations,” and several mentioned avoiding accessibility issues. A subscriber wrote, “Interference with wheelchairs, etc. on path[s] and sidewalks need to be minimized,” though they said they weren’t sure how this would be done.

Let’s give it a shot and see how it goes,” wrote another respondent. “Let’s also be on the ready to promulgate norms and, where necessary, hard rules. For instance, we don’t want to create inaccessibility on our sidewalks.”

The results are from The Logic’s fifth subscriber survey conducted from Jan. 16, 2019 to Jan. 22, 2019.