Park board greenlights e-scooter use on Vancouver’s Seawall

Click to play video: 'E-bikes and e-scooters approved for Vancouver bike lanes'
E-bikes and e-scooters approved for Vancouver bike lanes
Cyclists on many Vancouver bike lanes will soon be sharing the space with e-bikes and e-scooters. Aaron McArthur has the details on a Park Board decision – Apr 9, 2024

Vancouver has taken another step toward legalizing and regulating the use of e-scooters and other micro-mobility devices.

Up until now, using such devices was technically illegal on parts of Vancouver’s Seawall and on cycle paths through city parks.

That changed Monday night when the Vancouver Park Board voted to update its bylaws to allow the devices on bike lanes in its jurisdiction.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver looking for e-scooter share operator'
Vancouver looking for e-scooter share operator

The move brings the board in line with the rest of the City of Vancouver, which moved last month to update its own bylaws to allow electric-assisted devices on the Seawall, in all protected bike lanes and on streets with a speed limit of 50 km/h or lower.

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“It’s happening anyway. What we are doing is recognizing the world has changed and there are micromobility devices like this, like kick scooters and electric skateboards and things like that, and they’re in the bike lanes,” said Jeff Leigh, president of Hub Cycling, which has long supported such a move.

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“It’s far better to have regulations around it and make sure we are not bringing in devices that travel too quickly, that are dangerous to young operators … you can’t do that while pretending it’s illegal.”

The move also comes as the City of Vancouver prepares to launch its own shared e-scooter pilot program. City staff are currently assessing competitive bids submitted by companies vying to run the initiative, with a winner expected to be announced by this summer.

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TransLink partnering with Lime e-bikes and e-scooters

While Monday’s vote passed with a majority, Green Park Commissioner Tom Digby raised concerns that the added volume and speed of people on electric devices could lead to increased conflict with park users.

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“Any sunny Sunday you are going to have a zoo along the Seawall. and I think people need to be better protected than that,” he said.

To address such concerns, the city’s engineering department will work with the eventually selected shared e-scooter company to implement “geofencing,” software-controlled areas where devices would be speed-limited or prevented from working.

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