It’s day two of Montreal’s new e-transportation scene, and people are already testing them out all across the city—but not everyone is following the rules.
The e-scooters, which can be found in the Ville-Marie, Cote des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grace and other boroughs across Montreal, as well as the city of Westmount, are being parked in undesignated areas; leaning against buildings and placed next to unmarked bike racks, for example.
The company who brought the scooters to the city, called Lime, said it wants to provide an efficient, green mode of transport.
Montreal has some of the strictest municipal regulations delegated to this international project, but it was clear on Wednesday that not everyone is aware of these restrictions. For now, though, it seems police were only giving out warnings.
Montreal police were not available to comment, but two e-scooter users said they were stopped by officers earlier in the day. According to the riders, police asked how old they were, and told them to wear helmets.
“They pretty much said to put them back if we don’t have a helmet,” said e-scooter user Jake Rapacourt. He said they didn’t end up getting a fine, and were let off with a spoken warning.
The city plans to be less severe with enforcing regulations at first, said Mayor Valérie Plante.
“We’re going to give a little mercy period,” she said. “That being said, it’s going to have to be a short one, because we want to assure everyone feels safe and everybody respects the law."
Eventually, once the grace period is over, “if an operator does not respect the rules, we will revoke the permit,” Plante continued.
Bylaws for new e-scooters
In Montreal, users have to be at least 18 years old, must wear a helmet, and ride at a maximum 20 kilometres per hour.
Four scooters can be parked at a time, but just like Uber's electric Jump bikes, they're only supposed to be parked in designated areas, which are highlighted by a painted silhouette of a scooter in white on the ground.
"We have fines,” explained Montreal Executive Committee member Eric Alan Caldwell. “There's a two-hour period where the operator has to remove the scooter if it's not well parked. If not, it will be fined."
There are also concerns about the safety of e-bikes in general. In the first two weeks after Lime launched in Calgary, emergency rooms saw around 60 scooter-related injuries, which were mostly fractures.
Patrick Gagné, a first-time e-scooter user, said he thinks the bylaws are important and should be respected for everyone's safety. He explained he rode to the Old Port from downtown,and there was a lot of traffic.
“Seriously, if people don’t follow the rules, there will be injuries and accidents,” said Gagné.
The new service results in a loss of parking: in the Ville-Marie borough alone, 65 parking spaces will be gone.
Drivers must be careful not to park in these areas because they could get fined as well.
The scooters cost $1 to unlock and then 30 cents per minute.
The pilot project will run until November.