Forget using a bike or walking, 15-year-old Jason Riley Evon is hitting the streets of Windsor with his e-scooter.
As someone with asthma, Evon says the e-scooter has given him a way of getting around without having to over-exert himself. He said it’s also a good alternative mode of transportation for those who don’t want to take the bus, but have to reach a destination that’s far away
And, they’re a lot of fun, he said.
“The thing I like is the thrill of riding it,” Evon said. “It may not seem like much fun but when you get on it and you start like … it’s a really exhilarating and fun experience.”
Many other Windsorites may soon join Evon sometime this year as city council is set to revisit a 12-month e-scooter pilot project that would allow the devices to be made publicly available and used on the riverfront and select parks.
Council had approved the project last February, but discussions on how it would rollout were deferred until spring 2021 due to the pandemic.
E-scooters, or electric scooters, involve handlebars and a horizontal board for a rider to stand on. The speed limit for e-scooters approved by the province is 24 kilometres per hour.
E-scooter riders must be 16 or older and helmets must be worn for those younger than 18.
The last day for public, private and not-for-profit sector companies to submit a bid to the city for bicycle and e-scooter sharing programs was Feb. 8.
Now, Ward 9 Counc. Kieran McKenzie says the city is committed to implementing a bylaw that will allow the devices to be used on city trails, which is one of the next steps in moving forward with the program.
“I think it’s an important component of diversifying the transportation options that we have available to people in our community and proceeding with a pilot project to see what that interaction can be like and should look like,” he said, adding that once the pilot wraps up then they can have a better idea as to how to expand the program.
The use of e-scooters on the city’s trails and sidewalks has been debated, with Windsor’s environment, transportation and public safety standing committee having been against endorsing the use of the motorized devices where people walk.
At this time, the city says the pilot project will operate in a Phase 1 service area that includes the Riverfront Pathway to the north, Prince Road to the west, Tecumseh Road to the south and Drouillard Road to the east.
The city says once a successful vendor is selected, it will allow access to certain sidewalks and other areas where the devices can be used.
In total, the city says it is looking to have a maximum of 600 devices.
Though the details of Windsor’s pilot are still unclear, Ottawa kicked off its e-scooter pilot last summer and plans to bring it back again this year.
The program was popular among users, who rode scooters that required an app on a mobile phone to unlock the devices. But, the city said it did receive 250 complaints about the scooters being allowed on sidewalks.