Kelowna bike-share program may see growth in electric bikes

City staff said they saw an unexpected uptick in the bicycle program

Kelowna’s bike-share program is cycling ahead.

The uptick in the bike-share program has been higher than expected and it may expand to include electric modes of transportation, according to a report which will be presented to Kelowna council Monday.

Between June to September 2018, there were more than 33,000 rides from 9,000 users on 331 bikes, the report said.

“Breaking the data down further, roughly a third of the total trips were made by 600 frequent users which indicates that there is a dedicated user base emerging for this service,” the report said.

A majority of riders already had access to a bike, and 92 per cent of them had access to a car, the report said. Users were also younger and wealthier than the average Kelowna resident, the report said.

READ MORE: Kelowna bike share program proving popular

There are two possible reasons for this. “One is that bike-share is a service that increases travel options across the income spectrum. Another conclusion is that staff should examine how accessible the service is for the economically disadvantaged, making amendments if prudent,” the report said.

“Benchmarked to systems worldwide, bike-share in Kelowna was able to pull people out of their cars at a higher rate. Because Kelowna’s transportation network isn’t as diversified as larger cities where bike-share has been implemented, it is believed that pedal bike-share, and other services like it, can compete more directly with personal car trips,” the report said.

With the growth in the bike-share fleets, operators are now offering a variety of electric modes of transportation including e-bikes and scooters with the potential to reach more residents.

READ MORE: Kelowna city council approves bike-share program

“A larger share of the total travel market can be encouraged to make a trip on a small electric vehicle than traditional bike-share even with a higher price point,” the report said.

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carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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