Speed limits for electric scooters may be implemented in New Westminster

Sep 13 2023, 2:30 pm

“We’re not going to go back to a day where there aren’t e-scooters and unicycles … and e-bikes,” New Westminster Councillor Daniel Fontaine said. This is part of why he is proposing a motion to implement speed limits for motorized vehicles on sidewalks. 

As people are being encouraged to find alternate transportation, Fontaine said it’s essential there are safety precautions in place to keep pedestrians safe. 

“If there is going to be multipurpose use on sidewalks and there are going to be different modes of transportation being used… we have to take action and make sure that [pedestrians] are safe.”

Fontaine said he brought the motion forward after hearing from a number of community members who expressed concern about the speed of electric motorized vehicles and the “erratic driving” on the sidewalks.

Since the issue was raised, he said he noticed the unsafe conditions and even “had my own personal experience.” 

“Not long ago, I was sitting in a cafe and someone drove by at a very high speed — in fact, faster than the cars on the road — and ended up hitting a woman right on the sidewalk,” Fontaine explained. While the woman was not seriously injured, he added, “It got me thinking that we need to come up with a better… enforcement and setting some standards around the speed.”

“We’re only one collision away from something more serious,” he said. 

The motion asks staff to create recommendations on establishing a bylaw that would effectively impose a speed limit for electric motorized vehicles. 

Fontaine added he is proposing a pilot project to test and monitor the speed limit. He also aims to create rules regarding enforcement and education programs associated. 

New Westminster is one of the few cities in Greater Vancouver that allows bikes and e-scooters on roads and sidewalks.

This motion is expected to be presented in an upcoming council meeting.

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