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E-scooters could be coming to Richmond

The province is starting a pilot project allowing municipalities to regulate e-scooters.
E-scooters could be coming to Richmond, albeit with mandatory helmet regulations.

The City of Richmond is looking at getting on board a provincially led e-scooter pilot project.

E-scooter provincial regulations are similar to those for bikes and e-bikes, except e-scooters, also called electric kick scooters, have a maximum speed limit of 24 kilometres per hour while e-bikes can go up to 32 kilometres per hour.

E-scooters are currently not allowed on roads or sidewalks anywhere in the province (but they are allowed on private property and they are allowed on a trail or pathway if a municipality has approved that use).

It will be up to individual municipalities to decide on their own speed restrictions and where these upright e-scooters can travel. (E-scooters are upright ones - this pilot project isn't for mobility scooters often used by seniors and people with mobility issues. These are allowed on sidewalks.)

Riders must be 16 years and older, must wear a helmet but don’t have to have a driver’s licence. No passengers are allowed on e-scooters.

E-scooters in Richmond, if accepted by into the pilot project, won’t be allowed on sidewalks, but will be allowed in bike lanes, on local streets and on larger streets where the speed limit is 30 kilometres per hour.

They will also be allowed on paved shared pathways next to roads, for example, the Railway, Middle Arm and Imperial Landing greenways, but not on unpaved trails - due to their instability on uneven surfaces - and not on school grounds.

Safety issues identified by Vancouver Coastal Health include no helmets, illegal sidewalk riding, going too fast and riding while impaired.

Enforcement will be done by Richmond RCMP.

The provincial pilot project, which city staff wants to apply for, requires endorsement from city council.

The e-scooter pilot project will be dealt with at next week’s public works and transportation committee.