Saskatchewan Government Insurance [SGI] has changed the regulations regarding e-scooters: Municipalities can now decide whether to allow them to travel on public roads and when they can be used.
SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy says public consultations were held in the fall of 2021, and a survey suggested more than 60 per cent of respondents were in favour of allowing e-scooters on the road.
"The majority were citing them as an eco-friendly alternative," McMurchy said. "They operate on battery power, reducing those greenhouse gas emissions, they could potentially support tourism and economic development In communities with municipal bylaws in place — for example, if somebody was to start a business."
The safety of e-scooters interacting with vehicles and pedestrians was the main concern of those opposed, McMurchy says.
Another concern is the scooters' small wheels might not be a good fit with Saskatchewan weather, which can wreak havoc on roads and create unsafe riding conditions.
Any bylaw passed by a municipality must restrict riders to streets with a 50 km/h speed limit, and riders must be at least 16 years of age and wear a helmet. The maximum speed of e-scooters will be restricted to 24 km/h.
If a municipality does not pass a bylaw permitting their use, e-scooters will be barred from public roads in that community
Rules governing sidewalks and paths will be up to each municipality.
Saskatoon is already working on a pilot project in which people would be able to rent electric scooters from a vendor. If approved, a two-year pilot project could be in place by 2023.
The city would put out a request for proposal and select a single vendor with a fleet of up to 500 e-scooters. The service would operate from April 15 to Oct. 31.
In a statement to CBC, the City of Regina said it is reviewing the e-scooter guidelines for Saskatchewan municipalities:
"Following this, the recommendations will be brought forward to city council on the relevant revisions to the Traffic Bylaw 9900 with respect to the use and regulation of e-scooters within the city."
E-scooters don't have to be registered and don't require a driver's licence to operate in Saskatchewan, though they must follow municipal bylaws and meet the provincial e-scooter regulations.