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With e-scooters on the rise in Richmond, safety becomes a priority

Have you tried the E-scooters in Richmond yet?
To use the vehicle, riders must download the Lime App onto their phone and use it to scan a QR code on the vehicle. Then the vehicle will be unlocked.

With the weather good, gas prices bad and electric cars expensive, more people are opting for e-scooters and e-bikes as a way to get around.

And while that’s a positive thing, safety needs to be a top priority warns the city, adding that riders who violate the rules will be slapped with fines issued by the city’s bylaw officers.

That was one of the messages delivered at an e-scooter safety training session held yesterday with the city, Lime (an e-scooter sharing start-up) HUB Cycling and Richmond RCMP. 

In May, the Richmond News reported that the city welcomed an e-scooter sharing service with Lime. Since then, more than 85 bright green e-scooters and 25 e-bikes have been made available for the public in Richmond’s city centre area. To use the EVs, people can download the app and start riding. 

However, operators need to know how to ride safely before hitting the roads, according to Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who was at the training session. 

“We have received comments from the public talking about the dangers of people who chose to ride e-scooters on sidewalks. If you see bicycles or e-scooters on sidewalks, that could be dangerous. We are mindful of that and want to educate people about it,” said Brodie.

He also noted that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a top priority for city council, and the e-bike and e-scooter sharing program has become one of the options to contribute to that goal. 

But some say e-scooters and e-bikes can be a hazard for pedestrians on recreational paths. 

The Richmond News has reached out to ICBC regarding incidents involving e-scooter collisions or injuries but hasn’t received a reply upon publication. 

According to the city’s website, all riders of e-scooters and e-bikes must wear a helmet, not ride on sidewalks, be a minimum age of 16 (Lime requires riders to be at least 18 years old) and abide by cycling road safety rules. 

Within Richmond, e-scooters are permitted to operate on:

  • off-street shared, paved pathways;
  • designated cycling lanes;
  • local streets defined as a street without lane lines or a directional dividing line with a speed limit of 50 km per hour or less;
  • streets with a directional dividing line and a maximum speed of 30 km per hour. 

New e-scooter and e-bike users can access riding courses for free by downloading the Lime app. 

Brodie said Hub cycling will also launch education programs for the public in the upcoming months to ensure people are using e-scooters and e-bikes safely. 

Unsafe riding behaviour should be reported to the Richmond RCMP non-emergency phone line at 604-278-1212. Fines for infractions range from $95 to $175.