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

Logging Camp Nine on Great Central Lake overlooks a large forest fire across the lake in this historical photo from May 1943. Camp Nine was bustling, with residences for logging camp staff, a rail line and rail cars visible. This is one of 24,000 photos contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN12220 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Great Central Lake’s sawmill

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Vally Museum

Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ goalie Luke Pearson stopped all 22 shots the Cowichan Capitals sent his way to collect a 5–0 shutout in B.C. Hockey League action, Saturday, April 10, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BCHL: Pearson earns shutout in Bulldogs’ win over Cowichan Capitals

Alberni Valley will face Victoria Grizzlies Sunday, April 11 at 3 p.m.

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Princess Elizabeth and her new husband, Prince Philip—behind the wheel—visited the Alberni Valley on the princess's inaugural visit to Canada. A photographer with Charnell Studios in Port Alberni captured the young newlyweds along the parade route on Oct. 25, 1951, months before Princess Elizabeth became Queen. Prince Philip died April 9, 2021, just shy of his 100th birthday. This photo is one of 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum's online archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN 13605 COURTESY OF ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Prince Philip and his new bride visit Port Alberni

A special look back with the Alberni Valley Museum to honour the life of Prince Philip

John Ambrose Seward, 33, is described as Indigenous and five-foot-eight with short black hair and brown eyes. (Police handout)
John Ambrose Seward, 33, is described as Indigenous and five-foot-eight with short black hair and brown eyes. (Police handout)
High-risk sex offender banned from central Island, living in Vancouver: police

John Ambrose Seward, 33, has been released from prison under a number of conditions

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read