Uber launches in Regina, rolls out bike safety feature in Toronto

Regina

Uber began ride-sharing operations in Regina on Wednesday, and rolled out a new app feature in Toronto to notify riders when to look out for cyclists and other road users during drop-off.

“We are glad to see Uber leveraging technology to increase awareness [of] bike lanes.”

The service is being made available in Regina following the passing of new regulation by the Saskatchewan government, to allow services like Lyft and Uber to operate in the province. In February, Uber announced the launch of UberX in Saskatoon, marking the first service of its kind available in Saskatchewan.

Uber has technically been operating in Regina since August 2018. However only its food delivery service Uber Eats was available due to the provincial regulations restricting ridesharing.

The company has also announced it is piloting Bike Lane Alerts in Toronto, a new feature that Uber hopes will encourage safe practices and increase road safety. The new feature notifies riders through a push notification that their upcoming drop-off is near a bike lane or shared road, reminding them to look out for people on bikes and scooters. In addition to Toronto, it’s also piloting the app feature in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C.

“We are glad to see Uber leveraging technology to increase awareness [of] bike lanes and people on bikes,” said Jamie Stuckless, executive director of Share the Road Cycling Coalition. “While there is always more work to do, this is an important step in the right direction and we look forward to our continued work together to increase safety on roads across Toronto.”

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According to Uber, riders and drivers across Canada will also receive education on the Dutch Reach, a practice widely encouraged in the Netherlands that entails a car driver reaching with their right hand to open the door, which instinctively prompts them to look over their shoulder for oncoming traffic. Uber said the education materials were developed in collaboration with safety experts and bike organizations that aim to help to reduce the risk of “dooring” someone riding a bike or scooter when exiting a vehicle.

Along with Bike Lane Alerts and Dutch Reach education resources, Uber also announced a new deactivation policy for riders with a consistently low rating, speed limit alerts, and an increased two-year driving history requirement for Uber drivers. The company also instated its Ride Check feature, which uses sensors within the phone to detect sudden or unusual stops, to then reach out to riders and drivers.

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast