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

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Raising more than $1,300 for the KVHS’s dementia home project, Dennis and Brenda Horwood leave Kitimat with a bang and start their new retirement journey together. (Photo supplied)
KVHS thanks local Kitimat couple for their contributions to the dementia home project

Dennis and Brenda Horwood raise $1,360 during a retirement garage sale

No increase in fees will be made by the leisure services department in the summer months. Reviews will be made again in May/June for any recommended fee adjustments in the fall. (District of Kitimat photo)
District of Kitimat halt leisure fee increases until the fall

The Leisure Services Advisory Commission recommended no increase take place at this time

Mount Elizabeth Theatre have been approved for a provision of funding by city council for up to $42,000. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat’s multi-use theatre grant request approved for live streaming equipment

A funding commitment of up to $42,000 was granted from council to the Mount Elizabeth Theatre

Tracy Owen-Best with her husband, Larry Best. Tracy runs both the Nechako Barbershop and Hair Essentials Salon in Kitimat. Diagnosed with cancer in March 2020, she’s kept a positive mindset with the help from a supportive family. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Tracy Owen-Best

Barbershop owner and cancer fighter keeps it positive

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read