E-scooters launch on Red Deer sidewalks and pathways

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Bright orange electric scooters are popping up in Red Deer for the long weekend as the city’s e-scooter pilot program began Thursday. 

Neuron Mobility is the first of several e-scooter companies launching in Red Deer throughout July. The company already operates in Calgary.

“We’re excited to be in Red Deer,” said Isaac Ransom, the company’s head of government relations for Canada. “This is our third city in Canada and our 20th city internationally. So it’s a huge milestone for Neuron.”

E-scooters not permitted on Red Deer roads 

The 250 bright orange Neuron Mobility scooters are not expected to appear on Red Deer roads or in bike lanes. The city is only allowing e-scooters on sidewalks and paved trails. 

The city’s website has parameters of where scooters can be operated.

The company also uses geo-fencing technology, to establish zones that are off-limits, said Ransom. 

Ransom said he expects riders will stick to the approved areas and hopes riders will make use of the sanitized helmets locked to the scooters.  

Safety first 

Stephanie Cowle of Parachute Canada, a national charity dedicated to injury prevention, says helmets should always be used on e-scooters, an emerging technology with limited and evolving injury data. 

“We’re really trying to understand the impact of these vehicles on injuries,” said Cowle. “But if we look at the data that we have from places in Canada and in the US and internationally related to these vehicles, there are some common injury patterns.” 

According to Cowle, falling off the scooters or colliding with a vehicle, pedestrian or object is common, resulting in fractures and “a fairly high rate of head injuries, which is concerning.” 

Red Deerians can look at Calgary’s injury rates when assessing the risk of e-scooters. 

In a statement emailed to CBC News, Alberta Health Services said from July 2019 to December 2019, there were 677 visits to Calgary zone emergency departments related to electric scooters. From January 2020 to December 2020, there were 702 scooter-related visits. 

Excitement growing 

This weekend Red Deerians can expect to see Neuron Mobility’s team of safety ambassadors on the trails, teaching users how to safely operate the e-scooters. 

“Hopefully, that will help to ensure that they’re not interfering with traffic and other cyclists,” said Ransom. 

Cyclist Kerry Greer, who lives in north Red Deer, said he’s happy to have more active transportation users on the trails and sidewalks, provided people use the scooters safely. 

“How could you not want to just drive this around today, just standing up there looking around? It’s great, really,” said Greer, an experienced user of electric bicycles. “But you’ve got to get used to it, and if you’re not used to it, you’re gonna get an owie.” 

AHS is asking Red Deerians to keep safety in mind and stay sober if renting an e-scooter this long weekend.

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