OGO Scooters, the first available rideshare scooters in Kelowna, made their debut in Kelowna on July 12, 2019. (Mackenzie Britton - Capital News)

Bike share likely not returning to Kelowna, e-scooters could be slowed

The city would need to provide a $1M a year subsidy to attract a new pedal, bike-share operator, staff say

Pedal bikes are losing popularity as a method of shared transportation to e-scooters, e-bikes and e-mopeds, say Kelowna city staff.

And as such, it’s unlikely the city will see a similar program any time soon.

While some were sad to see DropBike, a pedal bike share program, not return after the summer of 2018 a report headed to city council next week stated the city would need to provide a subsidy of roughly $1 million a year to attract a new pedal bike operator.

E-scooters, on the other hand, had a successful introduction to the city in the summer of 2018 and while they’re not in operation right now, they’re expected to be back this summer — possibly with some speed restrictions in certain areas.

In November 2019, council requested staff take a look at the implication of allowing e-scooters on waterfront pathways from the City Park Pedestrian Tunnel to the Rotary Marshes. Now, staff is recommending the city set low-speed zones across the waterfront and the Bernard Avenue pedestrian area, set to be implemented later this month.

Currently, e-scooters are allowed on the waterfront walkway, something Coun. Brad Sieben has expressed his concern with in the past.

“To be honest, I’ve found it to be intrusive to people’s enjoyment of that promenade,” he told the Capital News in September 2019.

And if council doesn’t implement a speed limit, Sieben could get his wish, as staff’s other recommendation is to ban e-scooters from the waterfront and the Bernard Avenue temporary closure area.

Currently, the province is considering measures that could allow e-scooters on city streets, much as bicycles are treated now. If the province grants the city the ability to regulate e-scooters similarly to bicycles, staff will bring an amendment to council.

READ MORE: Bernard Avenue will be closed to vehicles this summer

READ MORE: Rideshare e-scooters intrusive, novelty rentals: Kelowna city councillor

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


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