Victoria would be an ideal place for e-scooters, according to company executives. ( (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Victoria would be an ideal place for e-scooters, according to company executives. ( (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Victoria is a ‘no brainer’ for e-scooter program, say company executives

The best place for an e-scooter – which can travel up to 20 km/h – is in a bike lane

Despite the failure of the U-Bicycle program, top executives of the two biggest electric scooter companies have both said Victoria would be an ideal place to implement a program.

Lime and Bird, two of the top competing e-scooter companies in Canada, agree the city would be an ideal place to launch an e-scooter (similar to a push scooter, but with a motor) rental program.

In B.C., communities can submit proposals to the provincial government to conduct a pilot project for the use of e-scooters or other micromobility devices not currently authorized to be used on streets and sidewalks. While the deadline has passed for communities to submit proposals, they can still be considered for a possible future phase.

“From our point of view, Victoria is kind of a no brainer,” said Jonathan Hopkins, director of strategic developments for Lime.

According to Hopkins, Lime has engaged with the city on having the e-scooters as Victoria has signed up to be a participant in the pilot project but is not currently “on the slate to operate this year.”

READ ALSO: Victoria unveils next phase of bike lane network

Stewart Lyons, CEO of Bird Canada, said his company spoke with city representatives “quite often in the last year” and “would love to be in Victoria” but is waiting for the city to make the next move.

When determining cities in which to launch e-scooter programs, both companies look at such factors as urban density, tourism and infrastructure.

Bird launched in Calgary a little over a year ago, and have had more than a million rentals, with an average ride of 20 minutes, in that time Lyons said. “That proves, from our perspective, that it’s really a commuting tool. It’s not just a toy or a tourism tool.”

For Corey Burger, president of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition, the prospect of having e-scooters in the city is an ‘interesting double-edged sword.”

The positives, he said, are that scooters attract a new group of people to using active transportation, but the concerns about sidewalk clutter are important to take into account. In 2019, disability advocates took the city of San Diego and operating scooter companies to court for blocking rights-of-way.

Burger said Victoria saw a similar problem with the U-Bicycle business.

READ ALSO: Just over half of Victoria U-Bicycles remain on city streets

“They need to be left in defined places, but even that hasn’t solved the problem,” he said, adding that there needs to be additional rules to where you can park them. “I could just go pick one up and move it out of the way, but what about someone who uses a walker or a wheelchair?”

Hopkins said the best place for e-scooters – which can travel up to 20 km/h – is a bike lane.

“We don’t put pedestrians in the middle of a highway because pedestrians and cars go different speeds, and we try not to put scooters on sidewalks,” he said.

Another factor is the number of scooters that would need to be available in the city to make the program worthwhile.

“That’s part of the reason why the U-bike is essentially gone, is that they didn’t have enough bikes on the road to make it actually useful,” said Burger.

Skateboarders have been using bike lanes in Victoria for a few years now, and Burger said there have been no problems with that, adding that scooters are “just one more small micromobility device that can use that space.”

“And if there aren’t enough bike lanes, well let’s go and add some more – that’s not a big deal,” he said.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps did not respond to requests for comment.

City of VictoriaTransportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming moves to the role of transportation minister in the NDP’s new cabinet. (B.C. government file photo)
Greater Victoria MLAs claim key roles in new cabinet

Transportation, Indigenous relations, children and family development ministries headed by locals

Victoria police are warning people after two Victoria residents fell victim to financial scams on Nov. 18 and 19. (Black Press Media File photo)
VicPD issues warning after two Victoria residents scammed $3,500

In both cases, the fraudsters were posing as financial services employees

Peninsula Panthers' owner and general manager Pete Zubersky questions the decision-making process leading to the suspension of play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). (Black Press Media File)
Peninsula Panthers’ owner questions process behind suspension of Junior B hockey action

Pete Zubersky does not understand actions of provincial body administering amateur sports

The old home at 785 Island Rd. is coming down as the developer was unable to find a feasible business case to save it. (Black Press Media File Photo)
With no takers to move old Oak Bay home, teardown begins

‘We tried a last hurrah,’ developer says

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Light Up parade a no-go, but Ladysmith’s streets are still all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Gracie couldn’t stop nursing from her previous owner’s goats which was problematic given the goats were trying to be dried out to breed. Gracie now lives at A Home for Hooves. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Cowichan animal sanctuary gets international accreditation

A Home for Hooves farm sanctuary accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has spoken out about some veterans losing their Dimished Earning Capacity income. (Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror photo)
Blaney pens letter to minister about veteran supports

Concerned about veterans losing some income

Most Read