Kelowna and Vernon are among six B.C. communities where electric kick scooters are to be allowed on municipal streets.
The province has approved a pilot project to assess the safety of electronic personal transportation.
“As the way people move around our community changes, we look forward to continuing to work toward investments that support diverse, sustainable modes of transportation,” Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran says.
“Supporting active transportation modes such as electric kick scooters is critical to realizing our vision of being a leader in climate action,” says Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming.
The B.C. Motor Vehicle Act doesn’t currently allow transportation such as electric scooters on roads or sidewalks. But a 2019 amendment permits communities to work with the province on pilot projects.
Other participating communities are Vancouver, West Vancouver, and North Vancouver city and district.
The cities will now have to pass bylaws saying where the devices can be used. Once that happens, expected to be this year, e-scooters will be treated like e-bikes.
This means a driver’s licence and insurance won’t be needed, but riders must be at least 16, wear a helmet, and follow the rules of the road.
Allowing e-scooters on roads, officials hope, will reduce the number of people who rely on private automobiles to get around, contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and make better use of existing infrastructure.