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City of North Van legalizes e-scooters on local streets

District of North Vancouver and West Vancouver should follow soon

Legalized electric kick scooters are about to get rolling in the City of North Vancouver.

Council voted unanimously Monday night on a series of rules that will be in place, including where people may ride when legalization comes into effect

When the province announced a two-year pilot project to test e-scooters on municipal streets and paths in 2020, all three North Shore local governments signed up. The province gave the go ahead for legalized e-scooters in six jurisdictions 2021 but left it up to municipalities to add further rules.

Under the provincial law, riders must be at least 16 years old and they must wear a helmet. Sidewalks and provincial highways are strictly off limits. No passengers are allowed. E-scooters must have a maximum speed of 24-kilometres per hour and they must have a bell and lights. Riders must also slow down when near pedestrians on shared paths.

Under the city’s rules approved this week, people may ride e-scooters on any minor roadway that does not have a continuous solid line. They will be prohibited on arterial streets unless the rider is within a mobility lane. They’ll also be free to use multi-use paths like the Green Necklace and the Spirit Trail. Although because the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) was not included in the pilot, it will still be technically illegal to ride scooters through the Mosquito Creek segment of the trail.

Anyone caught violating the rules by the RCMP could face a fine of $109.

The city is working with the District of North Vancouver and District West Vancouver to have harmonized rules across all three jurisdictions, although the two district councils have not yet had a debate or vote on the bylaws.

City council members voted the enabling bylaw through with gusto. “Micro-mobility” and active transportation are major components of the city’s official community plan, and transportation and climate action strategies.

“I'm just so happy to see that we’ll have more mobility options to provide residents to reduce dependence on the automobile and automobile ownership, which will certainly help reduce our community's overall carbon emissions, which benefits us all,” said Coun, Angela Girard.

Coun. Tony Valente noted consumers are already buying other micro-mobility devices like electric skateboards and self-balancing unicycles to get around.

“This is a bit of a catch-up exercise. The technology is way further ahead than this,” he said.

Mayor Linda Buchanan suggested the minimum age should be lowered as it leaves out many high school students who would probably like to have the option for themselves.

“I also know there's young people under the age of 12 who use them and are really actually safe in doing so,” she said.

The bylaw will require one more vote by council and a final approval from the province before it comes into effect, which staff hope to have done by late January or early February.