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It’s up to individual municipalities to decide if e-scooters will be permitted on public roads, but provincial rules will limit the allowable speed to 24 kilometres per hour and require riders under 18 to wear helmets. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The provincial regulations come one day after The Logic reported Ontario was likely to approve the controversial devices “very, very soon.” Ontario’s approach tasks municipalities with the decisions on more controversial issues—namely, whether or not e-scooters can operate on public roads and where they can park. There has been backlash this year around where e-scooters are parked in Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary. But some cities have already indicated they’re ready to play ball. Earlier this year, Waterloo said it was interested in permitting e-scooters on public roads once the province changed the rules. It’s unlikely to be the only one—earlier this month, Stewart Lyons, CEO of Bird Canada, told me he expects Ontario to have the most scooter markets in the country.

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The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec’s investment is part of a US$275-million round that includes Sequoia Capital and values Bird at US$2.5 billion. (The Logic)

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Talking point: This is the Caisse’s first e-scooter investment, and it comes as Ontario government officials keep dropping hints they’re about to allow the vehicles on public roads. Bird already operates in Calgary and Edmonton, and is trying to carve out beachheads in Kelowna, B.C. and Toronto. Several city councillors have expressed reservations about Bird coming in to Toronto, but it’s not the only Ontario market up for grabs. Windsor, Waterloo and Ottawa have all indicated a willingness to have e-scooters on their streets. The Caisse’s investment puts pressure on rival Lime to bring in a similarly large amount in the round it’s currently trying to raise. Both firms are looking for cash to fuel their expansions, but the era of quickly trying to enter as many cities as possible—regardless of regulatory concerns or losses—is well over. Investors are less willing to back money-losing businesses since Uber and Lyft’s underwhelming public debuts. “Because the tech investing community is changing and reacting quickly to the public markets, I think it’s very difficult if you’re a growth-stage company—a growth-at-all-costs company—to be burning hundreds of millions of dollars with negative unit economics,” said Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference on Thursday. “I think this is going to be a healthy reset for the tech community.”

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The suspected vandal, Randall Thomas Williams, is accused of slashing the brakes and putting stickers over the activation barcodes of at least 20 e-scooters in Fort Lauderdale, rendering them useless. Williams, who did not reveal his motive to police, has been charged with criminal mischief and released on US$500 bail. (New York Times)

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Talking point: At least 140 scooters have been vandalized in the city, and though police only linked Williams to 20 incidents, most of the remainder occurred within a two-block radius of his apartment and had a similar damage pattern. E-scooters have suffered comparable fates in other U.S. jurisdictions, where critics have decried them as a nuisance and a safety risk—more than 100 were dumped into a California lake last year, while some Los Angeles residents have taken to smearing the scooters with feces and setting them on fire. Meanwhile, Parisians have been known to throw e-scooters into the Seine. In Canada, Bird e-scooters underwent a pilot trial in Toronto’s Distillery District in September, and scooters are already on the road in parts of B.C., Alberta, and Quebec. So far, incidents of vandalism have been reported in Montreal and Calgary.

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Bird Canada e-scooters will be available from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends until September 15. The e-scooters can only be used within the district, but earlier this week, CEO Stewart Lyons registered to lobby the city on rules governing e-scooter use “throughout the City of Toronto.” (The Logic)

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Talking point: Bird is looking to use its Distillery District pilot as a beachhead for a larger Toronto expansion. To do so, it needs to win over provincial and municipal regulators. This pilot will end three days after the provincial government’s consultations on province-wide regulations that would allow e-scooters to go anywhere bicycles can. On Wednesday, Bird lobbyists emailed six city councillors, including Mike Layton, who requested in August that the city come up with rules for e-scooters. Also on Wednesday, a lobbyist for the firm met with Daniela Magisano, senior legal adviser in the Office of the Mayor, according to its lobbying records. Bird has been lobbying city officials for a while; its lobbyists emailed Magisano five times between July and August before meeting with her. Its e-scooter rival Lime, which operates alongside Bird in Calgary and Edmonton, first registered to lobby in Toronto over a year ago. The firm had a telephone call with Magisano on August 30.

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The scooters have since been used by some 30,000 riders. But hospitals have also seen injuries related to their use. A Calgary emergency room doctor told the Star that about a third of those have been fractures, 10 per cent facial or head traumas, and also noted that a bolt in the scooters’ rear wheels were causing ankle injuries such as sprains and lacerations. (Star Calgary)

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Talking point: Calgary’s pilot project provides a glimpse of what other Canadian cities may face once they launch e-scooters. Companies like Bird and Lime have lobbied regulators in Ontario, B.C., Alberta and Quebec to accommodate e-scooters in cities in those provinces. Montreal also launched a pilot project in early July. Unlike other cities, Calgary only allows e-scooters on sidewalks, pathways and in bike lanes, rather than on roads. Part of the pilot project’s focus is determining the best place for users to ride them. Cities in the U.S. have also seen injuries caused by e-scooter use. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that of 271 scooter accidents in Austin over a three-month period, nearly half were head injuries.

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Anyone over 14 years of age will be able to use the scooters without a helmet. The law will come into force in June. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: Germany put scooter companies through the ringer on regulation. The German cycling association successfully pushed for a ban on scooter use on sidewalks—which was granted—and called for a low speed limit, for which the maximum was set at 20 kilometres per hour. Swedish mobility startup Voi had to build a special scooter to be able to enter the market. Now that Europe’s largest market is open, the real question is who will dominate it: U.S. companies Bird and Lime with their growing global ambitions, or the increasing number of European startups edging to get in on the market. The European players have raised a combined US$150 million in investment, less than either Bird or Lime individually. But that may not matter, because the big two are distracted. Lime is focused on eating into Bird’s market share in the U.S. and looking to expand in Asia. Bird said it’s “looking forward” to expanding to Germany, but it’s in the midst of a global retrenchment.

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At a press conference on Monday, Uber said it will focus on alcohol delivery electric scooters and bikes in the coming year. Last week, The Logic reported that these would be areas of focus for the company this year, but there were two significant new pieces of information coming out of today’s press conference: that Ontario is a priority market for alcohol delivery and that the company thinks it’s “likely” Toronto will see scooters and/or dockless bikes this year. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Uber unsuccessfully bid on Calgary’s electric bike pilot in 2018, and it’ll face stiff competition in Toronto, with e-scooter companies Bird and Lime looking to get in on the action here. Monday’s announcement comes on the heels of a significant cross-country lobbying push by the company. In Toronto alone, Uber lobbied city officials 168 times in 2018. The company hopes its lobbying will turn into partnerships. Uber’s multimodal plan, for example, involves partnering with local governments on transit—like offering users bus passes for their commutes, which may also involve taking an UberX or e-bike, for example—in what Rob Khazzam, Uber Canada general manager, said is an effort to not make congestion worse as it puts more cars, bikes and scooters on the roads.

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Nearly 100 Lime and Bird scooters have been dumped in Oakland’s Lake Merritt since late September. That’s in addition to theft, vandalism and damage: Scoot Networks, a U.S. electric bike- and scooter-sharing company, told The Wall Street Journal that more than 200 of its 650 scooters in San Francisco had been stolen or destroyed within two weeks of launch. (The Guardian)

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Talking point: As scooter companies like Bird and Lime have grown in popularity, so too has the waste. San Francisco, one of the first launch grounds for the year’s scooter craze, impounded 503 scooters in the spring, only returning them to their respective companies after they’d paid fees. The Los-Angeles based Instagram account @birdgraveyard, which posts submissions of damaged scooters, said it receives 50 to 100 submissions a day. As Lime—and, eventually, other scooter-sharing companies—moves into Canada, it’s only a matter of time before similar issues spread north, as well. 

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The extension follows a call from several groups, including the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance (AODA Alliance). The group is concerned that the government’s proposed five-year pilot project, which would allow e-scooters on roads in the same places as bicycles, poses dangers for people with disabilities. The group wants the government to agree to study the safety impacts of e-scooters before going forward with the pilot. Comments on the proposed regulation can be submitted until September 12. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Ontario is facing pressure from some of the world’s largest e-scooter companies—including Lime, Bird and Uber—to catch up to regulation in other provinces and allow e-scooters on the roads. B.C., Alberta and Quebec have all granted exemptions so e-scooters can go on roads in Kelowna; Calgary and Edmonton; and Montreal, respectively. In Ontario, the City of Waterloo cited laws limiting e-scooter use on public roads for the termination of its pilot with Lime. The pushback over accessibility concerns is a growing challenge to the e-scooter companies’ desire for quick regulatory changes, as the AODA Alliance is one of several groups with major concerns. Balance for Blind Adults and the CNIB (formerly known as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind) have also sounded alarms about the potential dangers of e-scooters to disabled Canadians. The advocacy groups are concerned that because e-scooters are dockless, they can be placed anywhere—including a crowded sidewalk—when a user is done with them. They argue this can significantly hamper freedom of movement for wheelchair users and visually impaired individuals.