Following up on the Province of British Columbia’s “Move Commute Connect’ strategy which intends to double the percentage of active transportation trips by 2030, the Province has just announced some new legislation. This legislation will allow the Province to enforce signalling and speed limits of vehicles. New regulation will also finally deal with the pesky challenge of what to do about things on the road that are not pedestrians, bicycle riders or car drivers.

Think of it. In British Columbia segways, hoverboards, electric scooters, electric skateboards and electric motorcycles are really not supposed to be on roads. And they really are not supposed to be on sidewalks either. The idea is that you are using those technologies on private property, at your own risk. The Province is allowing for a three year pilot for municipalities to explore how these items could be used, either on roads, sidewalks or bike paths, with an evaluation after the three year period.

The darling of these “micromobility” ways of moving is the E scooter. They are also cash cows for the E scooter industry with the investment in installation in cities being paid back in just a matter of a few weeks. It is no surprise that horror stories of E scooters littering sidewalks in cities have emerged, as different scooter companies try to get their piece of the pie.

But what problem are E scooters solving? Kelowna has a fairly successful trial of them on the 12 km. trail system between UBC Okanagan, downtown Kelowna and Okanagan lake. But in a study done in Paris it was found that if scooters were not available 47 percent of people would have walked, 29 percent would have used public transit, and 9 percent would have biked, with only 9 percent saying they would have used a car.Should we be encouraging E scooter use if it is taking people away from walking and cycling and using transit?

And exactly who is using the E scooter? reports on a study that found that people in the $25,000 to $50,000 salary range were more likely to use E scooters, and surprisingly showed that 72 percent of women thought positively about using a scooter than men at 67 percent.This is interesting in that men still account for 75 percent of E scooter trips.

The City of Victoria is hoping to do a E scooter pilot as it aims to have 80 percent of all trips by walking, cycling or public transit by 2030. But the big question about whether the E scooter carves out walking and cycling, and whether it is more than just a fad will need to be tested out.

Below is a YouTube video from 2018 from PBS  discussing some of the E scooter issues in Santa Monica when  E scooters were allowed in the municipality on a test basis.


Image: the LAist

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  1. “Should we be encouraging E scooter use if it is taking people away from walking and cycling and using transit?”
    Of course we should- takes the load off transit and roadspace for cars, adds more choice.
    Please let’s not get righteous about disapproving of people not walking or cycling!

  2. It’s a different experience being on a scooter than on transit or walking, likely one that is more fun. Isn’t fun allowed in the transportation system?

  3. Yay? I think it’s a good idea, more or less – it’ll drive innovation and we’ll have more options.
    I can see it being very popular.
    My only concern is congestion/bad-clueless behavior on busy routes. I’m a cyclist commuter and there’s no enforcement of existing rules (stop signs, lighting, hand signals…) and now we’re going to add a ton more traffic.

  4. Used one extensively in Austin, TX last summer. Loved it. But the clutter is concerning as is the risk of falling/accidents.

    A controversial topic with no right or wrong answers.

    You see quite a few at UBC. Why not allow them in downtown Vancouver or seawall?

    Many e-scooter companies have pulled out of many markets as they made no money, such as one of the dominant players, Lime:

  5. I live very close a park pathway in Calgary which had many e-scooters during spring-fall. Honest by Nov. I was relieved when the company retired them for the winter.

    I’m a commuter cyclist for past 28 yrs. in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. So I have cycled in sorts of conditions and busy pathways. Some people don’t quite look confident on the e-scooter. Even worse is double-riding with 2 people on 1 or a child in front … I just don’t want them around me, as a cyclist close by. Calgary has reported a number of injuries via its hospitals.

    I don’t mind wobby cyclist….a cyclist will not venture to join other cyclist on path until they feel confident on their own, cycling unaided. Or they will stop themselves or run into the grassy area to avoid others. There is considerable learned skill, thought and time for a cyclist to reach this stage. Whereas scooter, it’s anyone jumping on and not experiencing anything beforehand….on a public path. Not even in an empty parking lot.

    I’ve seen incredibly stupid things…women on e-scooter in high heels.

    I actually don’t mind skateboarders….because many can/do physically stop and not have a motor that they don’t quite understand to brake.

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