A newly approved provincial pilot project will soon allow electric kick scooters to legally cruise the streets and bike paths of six British Columbia municipalities. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

A newly approved provincial pilot project will soon allow electric kick scooters to legally cruise the streets and bike paths of six British Columbia municipalities. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

B.C. pilot study to allow e-scooters to operate legally in 6 cities

Participating municipalities include Kelowna, Vernon, Vancouver, West Vancouver and North Vancouver

A newly approved pilot project will allow electric kick scooters to legally cruise the streets and bike paths of six British Columbia municipalities.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said Tuesday the pilot project is all about looking at emerging forms of transportation.

“E-scooters are growing in popularity, they’re not terribly well-suited for sidewalks and pedestrians,” he said. “They’re much more like an e-bike, but the Motor Vehicle Act has not contemplated the emergence of this new choice.”

Fleming said one of the main goals of the pilot is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The B.C. Motor Vehicle Act doesn’t allow transportation such as electric scooters on roads or sidewalks, but a 2019 amendment permits communities to work with the province on pilot projects.

The six participating municipalities where e-scooters will soon be legal are Kelowna, Vernon, Vancouver, West Vancouver and North Vancouver city and district.

Before electric kick scooters can be legally used on municipal roads in these communities, the local governments must first pass their own bylaws, specifying where these devices will be used.

“We all want to move safely and efficiently from place to place. It’s time to modernize how we move to and through communities, otherwise we will see significant impacts on our health, economy and environment,” said City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan in a statement.

The e-scooters will be treated like e-bikes, where a driver’s licence or insurance won’t be needed but riders must be at least 16, wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road.

Dates for the passage of local bylaws haven’t been set, but Mayor Kennedy Stewart says Vancouver aims to begin a trial of privately owned devices like e-scooters later this year.

Olivia Yau, the co-founder of Vancouver electric scooter dealer Urban Machina Inc., said they’ve been advocating for the last few years for the changes.

Yau said there were few electric scooters on the road when the company started about five years ago, but they have now become popular methods of getting around.

“Bus stops, SkyTrain stations aren’t everywhere,” she said. “Scooters bridge the gap where there’s no transit options.”

Fleming agrees with Yau’s assessment, adding that the pilot project could have a large impact on the future of transportation planning.

“It could be a huge win for transportation planners, just in terms of reducing congestion and shifting people to more active transportation modes,” he said.

The project requires little funding, as those riding the scooters will primarily use infrastructure that has already been built, Fleming added.

Ontario started a similar five-year pilot project in January 2020, allowing municipalities permit electric scooters.

However, a Toronto city staff report released last June cautions that there’s a need for improved industry standards for consumers for both the purchase and use of the e-scooters.

Those issues, combined with a lack of enforcement resources, create a safety risk to riders and the public on streets and sidewalks, the report says.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

Two teen boys admitted to playing with a lighter for the April 16 wildfire in Oliver. (Lynda Shoemaker photo Facebook)
Two youths admit to causing grass fire in Oliver

That same night a 26-year-old man was arrested for deliberately setting a field on fire

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

Abandoned Rail Brewing Company, located at 1220 Davenport Ave. on the KVR trail, has applied to the City of Penticton for a manufacturing facility and lounge endorsement. The city will review the application in their April 20, 2021 council meeting. (City of Penticton photo)
Penticton could be getting a new brewery on the KVR trail

The patio would seat up to 113 just 10 feet from the trail

courts
Penticton man guilty of assaulting young boys

Bryan Lamb was found guilty of two counts of assault

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
‘Do not occupy’ order lifted, residents of West Kelowna apartment allowed to return home

The building was evacuated early Sunday morning due to a strange smell

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

Vernon Search and Rescue’s helicopter team was asked to be on standby to rescue a missing hiker in Naramata. (Air Rescue One/VSAR photo)
Lost hiker rescued in Okanagan Mountain Park

COSAR, PENSAR, and VSAR worked together to rescue a hiker in Okanagan Mountain Park

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Increased COVID-19 activity brings vaccine clinic to Enderby

Registration opens Tuesday, April 20 for May clinic for anyone over the age of 18

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Most Read