Over the last couple of years, electric kick scooters, or e-scooters as they’re called, have emerged as a popular form of personal transportation.
Now a new test study will take that concept to the next level in Vernon and Kelowna.
The e-mobility pilot project will soon allow people in six communities in B.C. to ride electric kick scooters on municipal roads.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure plans to work with each municipality to assess e-scooters as a safe mode of transportation as part of the province’s Active Transportation Strategy, ‘Move, Commute, Connect’.
“This is going to make e-scooters just like e-bikes, so you’ll be able to do a lot more with them, ride them on bike lanes, on roads,” said the City of Kelowna’s new mobility specialist, Matt Worona.
Riders will have to be at least 16 years old, wear a helmet and adhere to the rules of the road for cyclists.
Still, according to Worona, this new project will help transform e-scooters into a legitimate, viable mode, of personal transportation.
“Primarily, their use was very novelty, very recreational. You couldn’t go very far, you couldn’t make trips from A to B,” Worona told Global News.
That’s because, previously, e-scooters were prohibited from public roadways.
Soon, though, all that will change. And that news has e-scooter rental companies like Roll Scooters, looking to roll out their business model once again in Kelowna.
“Now people can take the scooter anywhere,” Roll Scooters cofounder Arda Erturk said from Toronto.
“They can ride it to their home and they can ride it to get groceries, it will be really convenient.”
News of the pilot project has been well received at Vintage Iron Cycles, where Tom Buehner sells e-scooters.
So much so that Buehner is already fielding calls from potential purchasers looking to get into the e-scooter market.
“We’re going to see a huge increase in volume of people who’ve been really curious about doing this as a form of transportation,” Buehner said.
But before e-scooters get the go-ahead on roads, each community must first pass their own bylaws as to where exactly they can be used.
Both Vernon and Kelowna are hoping to have those bylaw amendments in place by early this spring.