Shared bikes and e-scooters
The Bikeshare Micromobility Permit Program allows Kelowna residents to access shared e-scooters as a transportation option. Small, shared vehicles are available for rent primarily through the mobile app of the service provider. These services in Kelowna are dockless, or stationless, which means you don’t need to end your trip at a pre-set location.
E-scooters are now legally allowed in Kelowna as part of a provincial pilot project that allows e-scooters to be ridden in select cities under the same rules as bikes and e-bikes.
The City has issued permits to two companies to operate in Kelowna to explore new ways of providing flexible, affordable and accessible mobility options. These new options could help us achieve our mobility goals in the Kelowna On The Move Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan and the 2040 Transportation Master Plan.
We're closely monitoring the program and will make adjustments as appropriate to support the safety and well-being of our community.
The Bikeshare (Micromobility) Permit Program regulate small shared vehicles like bikes, e-scooters and e-mopeds to ensure they deliver on the following objectives:
- Allow more residents to travel other than car or truck by building an interconnected network of transportation options
- Ensure public benefit by removing the pressure to move more cars on our road network
- Encourage people to walk, bike and take public transit more often
- Lower the cost of living by allowing residents to build a robust set of options around how they move
- Build on a culture of active living in the community
Applications for the combined shared e-scooter and e-bike permit from April 2022 to 2024 are now open. Below is the timeline and scoring rubric for the permit selection process.
The revised Micromobility Permit Program (effective April 20th 2022) including application instructions is available below.
Preliminary consultations with program staff were available until Dec 17th 2021. The addendum linked below provides a summary of the questions posed, with answers made available to all potential applicants.
The question submission deadline was January 25th at 4pm. The second addendum linked below provides a summary of the questions submitted, with answers made available to all potential applicants.
- Don't drink and ride: Use of shared e-scooters or e-bikes while intoxicated is illegal.
- Be considerate: Slow down and use your bell when passing others.
- Ride safely: Shared e-scooters and e-bikes are available to riders aged 16+ (higher depending on the operator), and helmets are required. The maximum speed limit for the motor is 24 km/h for e-scooters and 32km/h for e-bikes. Riding on the sidewalk is not allowed. Walk your wheels if you must go on the sidewalk. Only one rider per e-scooter is allowed.
- Park responsibly: Park in a secure, upright position in designated areas, such as the furniture zone of the sidewalk, residential unrestricted on-street parking lanes and other areas that don't obstruct sidewalks, travel lanes, doorways, driveways, bike lanes, etc. On sidewalks without furniture zones, give at least 1.5 meters of clear space.
- Report: If you see a shared e-scooter parked improperly report the issue by Service Request . The City will pass on the complaint to the appropriate service provider to remedy the issue.
While open air transportation options like biking and scooting are generally preferable and even encouraged during the pandemic, there are certain guidelines for both operators and riders that need to be followed to further lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Note: Shared e-scooters and e-bikes are not cleaned after every use.
When riding a shared scooter or e-bike, each rider should to follow the following safety guidelines:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after riding. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
- Wipe down the shared e-scooter or e-bike with a disinfectant wipe before and after use. Please bring your own wipes.
- Avoid touching your face when riding.
- Physical distancing must be maintained when riding. Wear a mask if physical distancing is not possible at any point in your ride.
- Only one rider at a time is permitted on each e-scooter.
- While riding a scooter, be safe, slow down, and leave space when passing other people; always give each other 2 meters of space.
Shared E-scooter and E-bike service providers are required to:
- Ensure that sanitary gloves are worn by all staff who perform any type of maintenance on the vehicles. This includes individuals who charge, deploy and rebalance vehicles.
- Ensure that vehicles are sanitized and disinfected at least once per day.
- Ensure that any vehicle brought to its warehouse is sanitized and disinfected regardless of whether the vehicle was sanitized previously that day.
- Provide staff with appropriate disinfectants for cleaning frequently touched surfaces.
- Educate staff on how to protect themselves from COVID-19.
- Educate dockless mobility customers through digital media about vehicle sanitation practices.
- Educate customers through digital media about social distancing and washing their hands before and after each ride.
- Temporarily remove a portion or all of its fleet from circulation during this emergency if they deem such action as necessary.
All the shared e-scooter and e-bike service providers provide options to support compliance with the helmet law. Some provide free helmets that are shipped directly to the user's home when requested through the app. Others are providing free helmets at various locations and community events. These programs significantly reduce the cost barrier of helmets for riders and support helmet law compliance and safety.
As the City evaluated the safety impact of shared bikes and e-scooters in other jurisdictions and engaged stakeholders, we considered how to design this service to best comply with the helmet law and keep riders safe. Users are expected to follow bylaws and the rules of the road to keep themselves and others safe.
Although requiring shared helmets was initially considered, this option was not pursued for two reasons: safety and hygiene.
The protective ability of helmets is significantly reduced after a primary impact. It would be very challenging to continuously test and guarantee the safety benefits of a helmet fleet that could climb to multiple hundreds of vehicles. From a safety perspective, there would be no guarantee that a previous rider hadn't damaged the helmet to remove all potential safety benefits.
Likely due to hygiene concerns, Staff have not found a measurable difference in terms of helmet use per rider when comparing systems that offer helmets versus jurisdictions that don't offer helmets and expect riders to bring a helmet with them. This information was gathered before the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed concern over the public health implications of sharing helmets and other garments.
E-scooters as defined by the Province here, can go everywhere bikes and e-bikes can go in Kelowna including streets, bikes lanes and shared pathways. E-scooters are banned from sidewalks as well as Highway 97 and 33 in areas where adjacent bicycle facilities are not present.
Service areas as well as restricted areas where shared e-scooters and e-bikes are stopped, slowed or parking is not permitted are displayed in each service provider's app. Check the service provider's app for more information.
- Park your e-scooter or e-bike upright in the 'furniture zone,' in line with bike racks, benches, street trees and garbage bins.
- Consider the needs of residents using mobility scooters and wheelchairs
- You can park shared e-scooters in the parking lane of streets, as long as there are no posted time restrictions or pay parking is not in effect
- Don't park in a way that will block or inhibit other sidewalk users, including those in wheelchairs who likely need more room to get by.
- At transit stops, don't block the boarding zone, either at the front or the rear
- Don't park on narrow sidewalks
- Don't block curb letdowns
- On pathways, park to the side of the pathway on the grass
- Do not block doors, driveways, ramps, stairs, handrails, or other access points.
- Do not park on narrow sidewalks
Shared bikes and e-scooters in Kelowna use smartphones (downloadable apps) to allow you to find and unlock a vehicle and then pay. Please visit the service providers' website for full details about each service and the app through the links in the “Current shared bike and e-scooter providers in Kelowna ” section above.
All permitted operators are required to have an app to help customers locate vehicles and to identify locations where parking is permitted. To find an e-scooter, download the associated app(s) of the service providers.
Shared bikes and e-scooters in Kelowna are equipped with internet access and GPS technology. This enables operators to know where every bike or e-scooter is and report stolen vehicles to the authorities with exact GPS coordinates. Additionally, the vehicles often have non-standard parts, limiting their salvage value.
Report concerns directly to the City
If your concern is related to an e-scooter and e-bike improperly parked or being ridden improperly, such as without a helmet, on the sidewalk, doubling up, riding under 16, or riding intoxicated submit a Service Request. Complaints submitted with a photo with the location, time and date will be passed to the service provider who will then warn and fine the rider.
Of course, unsafe or intoxicated riding can also always be reported directly to law enforcement.
Contact the shared e-scooter service provide
You can also find a toll-free number on each vehicle or in the table below. Shared scooter service providers are responsible for parking issues, maintenance and the removal and relocation of shared e-scooters.
|Service provider||Phone number|
For complaints related to any service provider or questions and concerns about the Bikeshare (Micromobility) Permit Program or services regulated through the program, please submit a Service Request.
If you’re a private property owner or manager, please contact individual service operators to discuss setting up bikeshare service on your property.
If you are worried about shared vehicles left on your property or are looking to have them removed please contact the service provider to have them removed. Every vehicle has a phone number and email displayed to reach the company and request removal.
|Service provider||Phone number|
We expect our Bikeshare (Micromobility) Permit Program will have numerous benefits, including the following:
Solving public transit’s last-mile challenge
The first or last part of the trip between the bus stop and a user’s final destination is one of the main challenges that often pushes residents from regularly using transit. Shared micromobility can help connect residents to transit services and make transit their first choice.
You can walk roughly 400 metres in five minutes, but by bike or e-scooter you can cover four times that distance in the same amount of time. Small shared vehicles in Kelowna are integrated into trip-planning software (such as the Transit App) to make trips more flexible and faster. In some cases, shared micromobility services may enable transit riders to eliminate a transfer or or a long walk to their destination.
Supporting evidence-based decision making
Through the bikeshare permit program service providers share anonymized data about the travel patterns of shared vehicles. This detailed data can help the City make better decisions in prioritizing infrastructure investments and understanding where people are riding.
Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
Shared bikes and e-scooters will provide additional transportation options that can reduce the number of trips made by car made in Kelowna. Roughly 20 per cent of all bikeshare trips in other cities would have been made by automobile. These services support Kelowna’s GHG reduction goals described within the Community Climate Action Plan.
Supporting active transportation
The creation of additional bike infrastructure and programs aligns with our Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. Shared bike and e-scooter services may also support Council’s objective that “by 2036, 25 per cent of all trips less than five kilometres in length are made by walking and cycling.”
Improving road safety
Each new rider on the bike network makes everyone safer. When Kelowna sees more people on our biking network it creates a demonstrated "safety in numbers" effect where injury rates fall as ridership increases. E-scooters are just as safe as bicycles when it comes to rates of injury and death.
Improving transportation choice and cost of living
The availability of bikes and e-scooter as a shared service increases transportation choices for Kelowna residents and visitors potentially allowing them to realize significant savings from car light living.
Reducing car use and congestion
Using data from Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C., researchers found measurable reductions in automobile congestion following the introduction of their bikeshare program. This is a possibility with a shared bikes and e-scooters in Kelowna, but it would depend on various factors.
Supporting the tourism economy
Shared micromobility services are attractive for tourists and visitors to Kelowna who want to experience the city without the cost and inconvenience of driving and parking. These services are a valuable amenity that would improve the experience of many visitors and enable tourists to visit businesses and attractions beyond a comfortable walk.
Recommendations concerning bikeshare or similar programs are included in two different Council-adopted plans.
The Kelowna On The Move: Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan recommends staff “research and develop a strategy to demonstrate which programs would be most effective in achieving behavioural change to grow the share of residents selecting active modes of transportation.”
The Community Climate Action Plan recommends staff ”expand the pilot community bike share program.”
In February 2018, Council entered into a license agreement with a private company to operate a bikeshare pilot in Kelowna. The pilot began in the spring of 2018.
In May 2019, building on what we learned from the bikeshare pilot, Council adopted the Bikeshare (Micromobility) Permit Program allowing service providers to deliver various vehicle types, including pedal bikes, electric bikes, e-mopeds and electric scooters. This enables multiple operators to provide the service in Kelowna while ensuring public disorder is kept to a minimum.
The City takes on the costs of overseeing the Bikeshare (Micromobility) Permit Program. Service providers are responsible for all operating expenses associated with their services.
Costs of the services are determined by service providers and can be found within their app.