The last time I rode a scooter was twenty years ago, back in my hometown of Shanghai, China.
I remember standing on that rusty old two-wheeler, chasing and being chased by other kids in my neighbourhood. We were screaming, laughing and having fun.
Then came buses, subways and cars, and I never touched a scooter again – until yesterday when an e-scooter ride training event was held at the Minoru Centre Park.
The event marked the launch of a new e-scooters share program in Richmond sponsored by Lime, an electric vehicle company, in partnership with the city and HUB cycling.
So there I was, pressing the throttle and awkwardly moving through the southeast corner of Minoru Park trying desperately to not crash into any pedestrians wandering around.
While I wasn’t quite as smooth and fearless as I was when I was a kid, the feel of fresh air on my face, the sense of wind through my hair and the sight of cherry blossom petals littering the ground brought me back to my childhood in an instant.
Derek Robertson, a spokesman for Lime, told the Richmond News that they will first test out these e-scooters within Richmond’s city centre area (between No. 2 and Garden City roads and between the middle arm of the Fraser River and Alderbridge Way.)
Currently, a fleet of 50 bright green e-scooters and 25 e-bikes are available for rent in Richmond, but Robertson anticipates the total number of e-scooters will grow to 200 in the coming days.
To use the vehicle, riders must download the Lime App onto their phone and use it to scan a QR code on the vehicle.
Each scooter comes with a helmet and all of the scooters and helmets are charged and sanitized on a daily basis.
However, riding these e-scooters isn't free.
It costs $1.15 to unlock the e-scooter and $0.35 per minute. The News found that the total cost was close to $5 for about ten minutes.
According to the city's bylaws, riders are allowed to ride the scooters in bike lanes, on streets without dividing lines or in parks that are marked for shared use with pedestrians. But e-scooters cannot be used on sidewalks or unpaved trails, such as the dyke trails. And users must be over 18 years old.
People who take an e-scooter onto a sidewalk (which the app can track) or forget to return the scooters to a designated location will be automatically fined via the app, said Robertson, adding that users are also not allowed to take the e-scooters out of the city.
Riders will receive an electronic receipt through the app at the end of their ride and an in-app message showing how many kilometres they travelled.
Regarding accidents, Robertson said the company has a trust and safety team responsible for dealing with people who are injured or might have caused injuries while riding one of their scooters.
Shaun Allen, an operations coordinator with Lime, said, hopefully, e-scooters will quiet Richmond traffic by encouraging more people to "ditch" their cars.
More training events will be held in Richmond to ensure all riders obey the road rules, ride safely and park properly.