E-scooters are now allowed on Kelowna streets.
Under a three-year provincial Motor Vehicle Act pilot program, Kelowna residents and tourists will be allowed to use the city’s road network to scoot around town on shared or privately owned electric scooters.
Previously, shared e-scooter programs operated in Kelowna through the summer of 2019, but they were only permitted on certain shared pathways, providing limited usage as a legitimate means of transportation.
Now, the scooters are allowed to traverse roadways in the same way bikes and e-bikes do, making them a more practical commuter option.
“Through the development of our Transportation Master Plan, it is clear we need to find low-cost ways to move more people through our existing road space,” said Mariah VanZerr, the city’s strategic transportation planning manager, in a presentation to city council on Monday, April 12.”Rather than a novelty, this change will enable e-scooters to be used for more utilitarian transportation purposes.”
Alongside some of the operators that provided scooter-share programs in 2019, two new companies are coming to Kelowna, Lime and Helbiz.
Riders will be expected to wear helmets, but most companies will be offering them for free, either by shipping a requested helmet to a user’s home or via public helmet giveaways.
City staff will report back to council before the end of 2021 with an evaluation of the city’s micromobility permit program as a whole, including both e-scooter and e-bike share programs.
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