It’s been more than a month since the City of Kelowna rolled out its e-scooter pilot project. And in that time, it has become one of the city’s most controversial topics of the year.
“Messy,” Kelowna city councillor Brad Sieben told Global News of the program’s rollout.
“I don’t think it’s achieving the goals that we hoped it might,” Sieben explained.
Sieben made that clear at Monday’s council meeting, where staff brought forward a report on the first 45 days of the pilot project.
“To me, it’s not working currently and it isn’t doing what it’s designed to do and it needs a complete overhaul,” Sieben said during Monday’s meeting.
According to Sieben, the program isn’t meeting its objectives of safety, affordability and a reduction of cars on the road.
“Primarily, they are being used as a novelty and not as transportation,” Sieben said.
He pointed to bad rider behaviour and improperly parked scooters as just a few of his numerous concerns.
The four companies providing e-scooter rentals in Kelowna seem to know what a problem the pilot project has become.
In an effort to become better partners with the city, all four of e-scooter operators are offering a safety program on Wednesday, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., at City Park.
“As the e-scooter operators, we all have an obligation to provide education and make sure that everyone knows how to ride the scooter,” said Arda Erturk from Roll Technologies.
One of the major worries with e-scooters is the number of injuries sustained while riding.
So much so that the head of orthopedic surgery at Kelowna General Hospital has been openly critical of the program.
“I think the public needs to know that these things are fracture machines,” Dr. Steven Krywulak wrote in an open letter last month.
Krywaluk was crying foul after having to cancel surgeries to tend to patients injured while riding an e-scooter.
Kelowna mayor Colin Basran echoed some of Sieben’s sentiments, stating “it’s been challenging.”
During Monday’s meeting, after council adopted some new safety measures, the mayor suggested that city staff return to council with stricter e-scooter controls.
City staff is expected to return with that report in two weeks.