Kelowna launches micro-mobility permit program with an eye on safety

Micro-mobility ramps up

After a rocky first year of e-scooters on city streets, Kelowna has launched its new micro-mobility permit program with an eye towards overall safety.

According to the City of Kelowna, roughly 50 serious injuries caused by e-bikes and e-scooters were reported last summer, so finding the right companies to join forces with the city was vital, and that included the new rule of these vehicles providing helmets for their riders.

“It is something new for this permit season. It’s a recommendation that we reached in partnership with Interior Health after collaborating on a study on e-scooter injuries over the summer,” said Cameron Noonan, transportation planner for the City of Kelowna, at a public safety event Thursday in Stuart Park.

The City of Kelowna held a competitive permit application process over the winter where they received several applications which were scored on the company’s commitment to sustainability, to equity, as well as the technology and features offered. That includes Lime’s new built in training program for first-time users.

“When you come into the market for the first time, you start in training mode which is a reduced speed of 12 kilometres for the first number of trips,” explained Derek Robertson of Lime Scooters. “On top of that, we run a number of safety events throughout the season. Finally, there is an acknowledgement in the app that these are the rules in Kelowna.”

The city says this is an important way to give the residents of Kelowna more options to leave their car at home. Options for shorter trips, to cut down on congestion, to reduce emissions and to keep Kelowna moving. Two companies, Spin and Lime, are happy to help with those goals.

“We’ve been really excited to be in Kelowna over the last year. Right from the beginning when Kelowna decided to take the step to introduce e-scooters, over the last year we have found it to be a very successful program and residents and visitors of Kelowna have really taken to micro-mobility as a whole,” said Robertson.

According to the City, you can expect up to 1,000 new vehicles in Kelowna – 700 scooters and 300 bikes.

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