The B.C. government is calling on municipalities to submit proposals on how they would allow e-scooters and electric skateboards in their communities.
The province is accepting applications from municipalities wanting to establish pilot projects following recent changes to the Motor Vehicle Act.
“We recognize technology and transportation are changing, and people want new ways to commute,” NDP MLA Rick Glumac said.
“I look forward to seeing how these pilot projects will help British Columbians access modern ways of getting around their communities.”
Kelowna and Victoria have already expressed interest in potential pilot projects.
Under the current rules a device that does not fall under the Motor Vehicle Act’s definition of a motor vehicle or cycle is not permitted to operate on bicycle lanes, roadways, highways or sidewalks. Breaking the current law comes with a potential $598 ticket.
The provincial legislation will leave decisions up to each B.C. municipality on where to allow Segways, motorized unicycles, e-scooters and hoverboards.
“We are working on regulations and will hopefully have something soon for a pilot project,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said in October when the legislation was introduced. “The scooters would be used in the bike lanes. One of our staff were down in San Francisco and said the bike lanes were filled with scooters.”
In Calgary, more than 550,000 trips — totalling 1.3 million kilometres — have been taken on 1,500 Lime and Bird e-scooters since a pilot project was launched in July.
Critics noted the pilot project allows riders to cruise on both sidewalks and bicycle lanes and has led to some challenges between pedestrians and scooters sharing the same space.
Helps says Victoria would learn from what has occurred in other jurisdictions.
“We can learn from their best practices to make sure our regulations are put in so conflicts are avoided,” Helps said.
The new rules will allow the provincial government to work with communities to research and test how new mobility technologies should be used to promote the safety of all road users and address changing public mobility needs.
The province will be accepting applications until March 6.