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Blackfalds and Lacombe gets e-scooter link

Roll Technologies Inc. hopes to establish Lacombe to Red Deer route
Roll Scooters, a Toronto-based E-scooter company will launch in Red Deer on July 1. (Photo courtesy of Roll Scooters)

Lacombe County has given the green light to e-scooters on the TransCanada Trail between Blackfalds and Lacombe.

Roll Technologies Inc. asked the county if it could expand its approved routes, which would allow riders to use a paved trail between Lacombe and Blackfalds, whose council recently approved the use of e-scooters in town as a two-year pilot project.

In June, Lacombe city council also approved e-scooters and Lacombe County agreed the following month to allow them to be used in the Rosedale Valley subdivision just outside town boundaries near Burman University.

The new eight-km route will go from the Lacombe Research Station Arboretum at the north edge of Lacombe to link up with the Blackfalds trail system at its south edge. A small section in the middle uses internal roads in the Lacombe Lakes subdivision, where Roll plans to have a parking area with fully charged e-scooters.

Roll has even bigger plans for the region. The Lacombe-Blackfalds link is the first time it has connected communities by e-scooter.

The company hopes to extend the route further to create a link from Red Deer to Lacombe.

Roll co-founder Ardo Erturk said in an email they are “currently working with our provincial and municipal partners to safely enable the connection between Blackfalds and Red Deer, however, this will take more time as we explore a safe route for our riders.”

Lacombe County operations director Bill Cade told council that Red Deer County has been reluctant to allow C&E Trail to be opened to e-scooters, meaning another route must be found. A possible route could use Highway 597 east to Highway 2A then south into Red Deer.

Lacombe County Coun. Dwayne West said he has tried out the e-scooters with his family and they enjoyed it.

However, based on his experiences where several of his family’s e-scooters batteries ran out, ensuring the rides have enough juice to get between the two communities could be an issue.

“On the trail between Lacombe and Blackfalds (low battery power) could be a real issue.”

Ertuk said Roll will have fully charged e-scooters at designated parking spots at the trailheads between the two communities and at the Lacombe Lakes subdivision.

A fully charged scooter can travel up to 40 km depending on the surface conditions, however, riders should monitor their battery power through the app as a precaution.

Time-boxing and geo-fencing technology will be used to ensure e-scooters stick to the path and the operating hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. E-scooters will automatically shut down if riders don’t follow the rules.

E-scooter start and end points must be in the two communities or riders can face an extra charge.

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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