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E-Scooters Coming to Hamilton

The City of Hamilton will launch an electric scooter rental program next spring. The project will run for 24 months as a pilot to allow the City to assess operations and safety features. The City will partner with the private sector, and all capital and operating costs will be the responsibility of the selected commercial operators.  

E-scooters assist with the first-mile or last-mile commute and can support connections to transit. Since they are electricity-powered, they also have environmental benefits, including reduced air emissions.

Earlier in the year, safety concerns with e-scooters were raised by pedestrian and road users. This concern led to additional engagement with the City’s Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities (ACPD), and the Seniors Advisory Committee provided feedback along with the Hamilton Cycling Advisory Committee, Cycle Hamilton, and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

As a result of this engagement, Hamilton’s e-scooter pilot program will have the following features:

Operating Speed: Commercial E-Scooters will be limited to a maximum speed of 20 km/h (comparable to a beginner cyclist) and will be “geo-fenced” to reduce speed to 10 km/h when operating in identified parks, high-pedestrian areas, and paths (comparable to walking speed); 

Operating Areas: E-Scooters will be permitted to operate on roads, bike lanes, and designated pathways and trails. E-scooters will not be allowed to operate on sidewalks. Each e-scooter will receive a sticker saying, “No Sidewalk Riding,” and an app message will remind users of this when starting their trip;

Lock-Up E-Scooters: All commercial e-scooters will be required to have a “locking” mechanism and will be required to be fastened to a rack or pole, similar to the existing bike-share system. This aims to address the issues experienced in other jurisdictions where e-scooters could be left anywhere.

Parking Management and Enforcement: Commercial operators will be required to educate users on proper parking procedures, such as not blocking the sidewalk clearway path of travel, obstructing features such as utility accesses, garbage bins, or doorways, or curbside zones reserved for uses such as buses, taxis or loading. The City and public members may report improperly parked e-scooters, which the operator must address within a defined period. Should the operator not meet the time allotted, the City has the option to address the issue and recover the cost through a security deposit; 

Scooter Style: All e-scooters will be kick-style, meaning that they will not have a seat or pedal, and riders will need to stand while using them. As per the Government of Ontario’s E-Scooter pilot framework: there can only be one rider at a time; no cargo is allowed onboard; baskets are not allowed; it must have two wheels and brakes; must have a horn or bell; as well as, front and rear lights.

Scooter Complaint Hotline: E-Scooters must include obvious contact information, including a unique identifying vehicle number, a call-in complaint phone number, and a complaint website. 

Scooter Platform Visual Alert: E-scooters will be required to have a high-contrast treatment on the handlebars and the deck (the part on which riders stand) that helps to visually alert individuals with low vision of potential obstructions in their path.

Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System: Operators will be required to include specialized equipment or techniques that create a sound automatically to alert pedestrians of the presence of an e-scooter on a sidewalk or pathway. The alert system is in addition to providing a bell, which is a legal requirement for operators.