Kelowna council to review e-scooter program after 45 days

Kelowna City Council is set to review the e-scooter program that has had people gliding around the city for the last 45 days.

City Council will be reviewing a report prepared by city staff that outlines the positives and negatives of the project.

“I’ve heard for and against (the project), and I’ve seen erratic riders,” said Mohini Singh, a Kelowna city councillor.

“But those who believe in the program are very strong about it, those against it are also very strong about it.”

Read more: Edmonton’s 1st e-scooter enforcement blitz sees 17 tickets, more than 100 warnings

One positive outlined in the report is the reduction of traffic around the downtown core, with the potential to remove over 250,000 km of vehicle travel in the next year.

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On the negative side, the report indicates that one-third of e-scooter injuries could be related to impaired riding.

Three companies already require riders to take an electronic pledge that they are not intoxicated and only companies with this option are allowed to operate late at night.

Read more: E-scooters, e-bikes coming back to Calgary as long-term contracts awarded

When talking to residents, thoughts about the e-scooter program are varied.

“I think it’s good, besides always seeing them all over the road and sidewalk,” said Johnny Anber, a Kelowna resident.

“I’d rather see it axed than repositioned. Maybe at park settings or on the trails, where there is more space. It’s just too busy around downtown,” said Mike Pangia, a Kelowna resident.

“I think it would be a great addition if they could do it safely. But I don’t think there is a great way to do it safely,” said Sierra Sanger, a Kelowna resident.

Read more: City of Kelowna lauding transportation benefits of e-scooters pilot project

And safety is the concern of Interior Health, which has written a letter to city council that will also be presented with the report.

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“Evaluation of shared e-scooter programs in the U.S. and Australia estimated that between 20 to 28 injuries per 100,000 trips required medical attention — 70 per cent of injuries were either fractures or head injuries,” wrote Dr. Silvina Mema, in the letter.

“The rate of head injuries is more than double the rate experienced by cyclists.”

Clinicians at Kelowna General Hospital have also reported a rise in injuries of e-scooter riders, but exact statistics haven’t yet been compiled.

The report will be reviewed by city council at its next meeting on Monday.

Pilot project to allow e-scooters on roads – Mar 24, 2021

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