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At the unveiling of Lyft’s new Ottawa hub the company’s market manager says it hopes to offer e-scooters in the future.

“We think that it’s a very important part of our multi-model strategy, to have cars, have scooters and have bicycles up here, so we’re absolutely looking into the bylaws for that,” said Rob Woodbridge with Lyft Canada.

Under the current provincial legislation e-scooters "do not meet any federal or provincial safety standards for on-road use,” according to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Bird Canada is beginning an e-scooter pilot project in Alberta this month. In an e-mail CEO Stewart Lyons says he’s open to bringing the devices to the capital too.  

“We would love to come to Ottawa. We need Ontario provincial approval first, which is not far off, and then we'd be subject to rules enacted by the city of Ottawa, if any,” Lyons wrote.

The province does have plans to review regulations.

“We are committed to reviewing options that will improve Ontario’s economy, while providing more choice to consumers. The province recognizes the importance of new vehicle technology, especially if it expands mobility options for Ontarians – but safety is our top priority.”   

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says he is open to future discussions about e-scooters and other similar electric devices.

“We have to work with the province to determine where these vehicles can go,” Watson said.

Watson said it is likely pedestrians would not want the vehicles on sidewalks. It would need to be determined where it is safe to ride them publically.

“So we’ll eventually get around to having that kind of discussion because we can’t stick our head in the sands and pretend the world is not evolving and changing, but it has to evolve and change from the safety perspective,” Watson said.

In some major U.S. cities e-scooters are raising safety concerns after collisions with pedestrians on sidewalks and users falling off them. Consumer Reports found there have been 1,500 e-scooter collisions within the past two years.

Similar devices like electric bicycles are legal in Ontario as long as long as a person is 16 or older and wears a helmet. The bicycle must also meet the following regulations posted to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website.

E-bikes in Ontario must have:

  • steering handlebars
  • working pedals
  • an electric motor not exceeding 500 Watts
  • a maximum speed of 32 km/h
  • a maximum weight of 120 kg
  • a permanent label from the manufacturer in both English and French stating that your e-bike conforms to the federal definition of a power-assisted bicycle