The City of Moose Jaw is considering allowing electronic scooters (e-scooters) on municipal roadways.
At Monday night’s meeting, city council instructed administration to return with a future report to amend the Traffic Bylaw to allow e-scooters.
The motion to bring forward a future report passed by a slim margin, 4-3, with councillors Heather Eby, Doug Blanc and Jamey Logan opposed.
Last year, the Saskatchewan government changed the provincial law to allow municipalities to set their own rules when it comes to e-scooters.
The rules are still subject to province-wide restrictions including:
- E-scooters can only be permitted on roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h or less unless the road has a designated bike lane
- E-scooters cannot operate at a speed greater than 24 km/h
- The minimum age of the operator must be 16 years or older.
- Riders are required to wear helmets.
- No passengers
- Operators cannot tow anything behind an e-scooter
- Operators must follow all rules under The Traffic Safety Act that apply to vehicles.
The Traffic Bylaw amendments would need to outline when and where e-scooters can be used and the fines and penalties for illegally operating an e-scooter. If the bylaw is not amended e-scooters remain prohibited on municipal roads.
“There's some that are automatic that you have to follow, but there's also flexibility to determine how you want to regulate their use,” said city solicitor Andrew Svenson.
In a preliminary report to city council on Monday, the Moose Jaw Police Service noted that enforcement of e-scooter bylaws could be difficult due to the portability and capabilities of e-scooters, saying they are already having difficulties dealing with offenders using motorized skateboards.
Coun. Crystal Froese said amending the bylaw should be straightforward.
“Well, I agree with the provincial Traffic Safety Act. You have to wear a helmet, it's a mechanized thing, stay off the sidewalks, follow Traffic Safety rules and all that. So, I don't see that there's really anything else that we would need to kind of weigh in on,” she said.
Meanwhile, the police noted that most commercially available e-scooters are not limited to the 24 km/h speed limit making it difficult to determine if an e-scooter is operating at a faster speed.
“I recognize that the police have made a comment in here that it's going to be pretty hard to charge anybody anyways. But I mean, I do think people are riding them in the city already. It's happening in other cities. So, personally, I'd like to see us update that bylaw myself,” said Coun. Dawn Luhning.
Currently, Saskatoon and Regina have updated their traffic bylaws to allow e-scooters. Both cities are partnering with private vendors to rent e-scooters on a trial basis. After the trial, the cities will determine whether to continue allowing e-scooters on municipal roadways.