E-mobility pilot project gets green light in 6 municipalities

Local governments must first pass their own bylaws, specifying where these devices will be used

PEOPLE living in six B.C. municipalities who want to use electric kick scooters will soon be on their way, thanks to a newly approved provincial pilot project.

The pilot project allows the B.C. government to partner with communities on a measured approach 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,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, on Tuesday. “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 participating municipalities are:

* City of Kelowna

* City of Vancouver

* City of North Vancouver

* District of North Vancouver

* District of West Vancouver

* City of Vernon

Amendments to the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act in 2019 made it possible for communities to collaborate with the Province in a three-year pilot project that examines the safety of the electric kick scooter on public roadways in the select communities.

“People throughout B.C. are eager for new, emerging ways to move around their communities,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of State for Infrastructure and MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale. “I have heard from many people in North Vancouver and around the province who are looking forward to embracing micro-mobility devices like electric kickscooters.”

Currently, the act does not allow electronic personal transportation (e-mobility devices) on public roads or sidewalks. This includes electric kick scooters, an emerging and popular mode of personal transportation.

“To achieve a low-carbon future, our government is supporting clean transportation technologies that make life better for people,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “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.”

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

The rules of use are like the rules for an e-bike. People using electric kick scooters must be 16 years or older, wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road for cyclists. A driver’s licence and insurance are not required.

As part of the Active Transportation Strategy, Move. Commute. Connect., these pilot projects are examples of government working with communities to find alternative solutions for personal mobility. E-mobility use is expected to contribute to the CleanBC goal of doubling trips taken by walking, biking and other kinds of active networks by the year 2030.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said: “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. 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.”

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said: “The City of Vancouver is very excited to work with the Province on pilots to further support sustainable transportation and road safety – particularly for our more vulnerable road users. As per council direction from the summer of 2020, we welcome the early opportunity to launch a trial of privately owned devices like e-scooters later this year.”

North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan said: “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. The City of North Vancouver is proud to be a part of this pilot project, as we are committed to delivering innovative and sustainable transportation options for people.”

District of West Vancouver Mayor Mary-Ann Booth said: “West Vancouver Council recognizes the importance to all North Shore residents of supporting a variety of healthy, active and low-carbon transportation options. This pilot program will provide us with the opportunity to learn about the impacts of personal electric scooters, consult with our community – including agencies such as the police department – and adapt the program to our community’s unique needs and topography.”

Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming said: “One of city council’s top priorities is to create a more sustainable community – environmentally, economically and socially. We are in the final stages of developing a Vernon-specific climate action plan that confirms that most of our community’s greenhouse gas emissions come from driving gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. Therefore, supporting active transportation modes such as electric kick scooters is critical to realizing our vision of being a leader in climate action. The city is grateful for the Province’s support to expand active transportation options with changes to the Motor Vehicle Act and the creation of this pilot program that will support new and sustainable ways to get around our community.”

Learn More:

Motor Vehicle Act pilot: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content?id=DFB02AD216544E7BADAC19FBD64FBD08