It’s e-scooter season again, with the handy little machines already busily zipping to and fro around downtown Calgary. Since its inception in 2019, the popularity of the City of Calgary’s shared micro-mobility program can’t be denied. Not only can riders save time on short trips, e-scooters encourage people to get outside more often and to be more physically active.
This year the City has partnered with Neuron and Bird for its e-scooter program. Riders must be 18 years old and have a valid credit card to join. All you need to do is download the app on to your phone, and then use it to search for the closest e-scooter when you’re ready to ride. Then, simply scan and go. You will be charged a flat rate plus an additional tally for every minute you ride.
Who pays for an e-scooter accident?
When you sign up for an e-scooter account, you will be asked to agree to the company’s Terms of Service. In the Terms of Service, each company states they carry all the insurance coverage required by law. Riders then state they will pay any fines, penalties, fees, impounding charges, court expenses, tolls, traffic tickets, and whatever charges you may incur as a result of parking or operating your e-scooter improperly or in a manner/location that violates the law. Riders are always fully responsible for any losses, damage, liability or claims that may arise from your use of an e-scooter.
Terms of Service will always come with a set of Riding Rules that users should familiarize themselves with for tips for good riding behaviour and a list of “don’ts.”
Most home insurance policies will not cover e-scooter use, and neither will car insurance. In some cases, motorcycle insurance may cover riders of personal e-scooters. If you have any questions, contact your insurance broker or provider.
Common e-scooter accidents
Last summer, e-scooter accidents sent hundreds of Calgarians to the emergency room, says the CBC. There were 675 crashes involving scooters requiring a trip to the ER from May 28 to Aug. 24, 2022. Around 138 of those resulted in head injuries like face lacerations, concussions, and jaw fractures.
We highly recommend wearing the helmet that comes attached to your e-scooter. They save lives.
Common e-scooter accidents include:
- Collisions with motorists, pedestrians, or other riders
- Improper or unsafe use
- Riders falling or swerving into traffic to avoid pedestrians or other riders
- Young or unsupervised children riding
- Use in an undesignated location
- Injury due to improperly parked e-scooters
- E-scooters left in the middle of roads or sidewalks
- People riding multiple e-scooters at one time or multiple people sharing one scooter
- Malfunctions such as brake failure, flat tires, battery crash, or locking of the front wheel while riding
- Crashes due to hazards such as debris, litter, or bumps on the road or sidewalk
- Sliding due to ice or water on the road
E-scooters are not a license to drink and ride, as well. Operating an e-scooter while impaired by alcohol, drugs or combination of the two, is a criminal and punishable offence.
Please be considerate
Even though e-scooters are allowed on city sidewalks, that doesn’t mean they should always be ridden there. Riders should utilize Calgary’s bike lanes wherever possible. Only ride on a sidewalk when necessary, and do not ride on busy sidewalks. You will also avoid the slow speed zones this way, where speed limits are automatically lowered to 15 km/hr from the maximum speed of 20 km/hr.
If you must ride on a sidewalk, yield to pedestrians at all times, politely dinging your bell to let them know you are coming up behind them.
Police officers and sheriffs have the ability to fine riders who are driving irresponsibly as follows:
- A $400 fine for operating an e-scooter in a reckless manner.
- A $400 fine for colliding with another user of the sidewalk or street.
- A $75 fine for carrying a passenger on an e-scooter.
Parking your e-scooter
The City of Calgary has installed numerous Share and Go parking zones along the bike routes. They are easily identifiable by four posts, a painted e-scooter and a “P.”
If your destination isn’t near a Share and Go zone, e-scooters can be parked in what is known as the “furniture zone,” which is the part of the sidewalk where bike racks, trees, and trash bins are found. Make sure to park so that your e-scooter does not block or inhibit other sidewalk users.
Through their user agreements, e-scooter companies have the ability to fines riders who do not park properly.
If you spot an e-scooter that is improperly parked or knocked over, proper etiquette is to pick it up and report it to Neuron or Bird through their apps. Contact information is prominently posted on each e-scooter.
Where can personal e-scooters be ridden?
Owners of personal e-scooters do not have quite the same amount of privileges as those using the City of Calgary’s program. Personal e-scooters can only be ridden on the pathway network and must not exceed the 20km/hr maximum speed limit.
The reason personal e-scooters can’t go on sidewalks is that they are regulated under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, which does not allow e-scooters on roadways or sidewalks without a provincial exemption. The City’s shared micromobility program has been granted a provincial exemption and has obtained the necessary insurance and permits, plus met all other requirements.
Lane’s Insurance covers Alberta
The experienced insurance brokers at Lane’s are always here to help you navigate the often-confusing insurance world. We are a leading Alberta-based brokerage representing Calgary, Banff, Edmonton and greater Alberta. Our brokers work hard to find you the very best coverage at the lowest possible rates, and will always be available to answer your insurance-related questions.