Vernon has been selected to be part of an electrifying pilot program – but it will be a while yet before electric kick scooters are legal on city streets.
Vernon and Kelowna are among six B.C. communities selected to participate in a three-year pilot program to examine public use of the scooters for personal transportation.
The scooters are an emerging form of active transportation that were not previously permitted to operate on public roads or sidewalks.
“We are in the final stages of developing a Vernon-specific climate action plan which confirms that most of our community’s greenhouse gas emissions come from driving gas- and diesel-powered vehicles,” Mayor Victor Cumming said in a press release following the provincial announcement. “Therefore, supporting active transportation modes such as electric kick scooters is critical to realizing our vision of being a leader in climate action.”
Participating in the pilot could also open the door for electric kick scooter sharing companies to operate in Vernon.
Council has directed staff to initiate a competitive bidding process to secure a shared electric kick scooter service provider to operate the pilot.
“Electric kick scooters have rapidly surpassed bicycles as the most popular form of shared vehicle,” says Angela Broadbent, the city's active transportation co-ordinator. “A sharing service would make it easier for residents and visitors to explore our community and experience everything Vernon has to offer.”
The pilot still requires minor bylaw amendments to be adopted in Vernon, and city staff are preparing a report for council to consider at a future meeting.