A pilot project allowing electric scooters on public roads has been given the green light, with select communities across the province participating.
The project will see the provincial government partner with communities to assess e-mobility as a safe mode of personal transportation.
“We know people are changing the way they travel, and it’s important that our regulations address e-mobility as an emerging mode of personal transportation,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming said March 23.
“We will be working closely with these communities to test and research how the electric kick scooter can get us where we need to go, safely for everyone.”
The six municipalities participating in the project are the City of Kelowna, City of Vancouver, City of North Vancouver, District of West Vancouver and the City of Vernon.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman said that in order to reach a low-carbon future, the province is looking to support clean transportation technologies. In 2019 the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act was amended to allow the province to work with municipalities on the three-year pilot project.
“Our CleanBC plan supports active transportation for people of all ages and abilities. By partnering with municipalities, we’re finding safe, efficient ways to get around without increasing pollution.”
Rules for using e-scooters are much like the rules for using e-bikes: users must be 16-years-old or older, wear a helmet and follow road rules for cyclists. A driver’s licence and insurance are not required.
But before e-scooters can be legally used in municipalities, local governments must first pass bylaws and specify where they can be used.
Kelowna mayor Colin Basran said the city is looking forward to working with the provincial government on the project.
“The City of Kelowna is pleased to participate in the Province of B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act pilot, which will allow more people to use Kelowna’s existing active transportation network,” he said.
“As the way people travel around our community changes, we look forward to continuing to work toward investments that support diverse, sustainable modes of transportation.”
Vernon mayor Victor Cumming said creating a sustainable community is one of his council’s top priorities.
“Supporting active transportation modes such as electric kick scooters is critical to realizing our vision of being a leader in climate action,” he said.
“The city is grateful for the province’s support to expand active transportation options… with the creation of this pilot program that will support new and sustainable ways to get around our community.”