Vancouver extends e-scooter pilot as thrilled riders extol their convenience

Mobile machine's popularity provides ease of transportation, fewer costs and delays

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By BRICIA CORTES and CHARLOTTE HUI

Food delivery driver Pan Kaj can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be for him to do his job if he didn’t have his e-scooter. His machine allows him to make more deliveries and get around to costumers more safely than using other kinds of transportation.

That’s why Kaj says he’s happy the city has extended the use of e-scooters on Vancouver streets.

“E-scooters are faster,” he said. “That’s why I think they should be on the road.”

The e-scooter pilot project has been extended for four more years beginning April 5 making it legal to use the wheeled transportation on city streets.

Kaj says it’s safer to be on the streets.

“For e-scooters there are more chances of them to fall or something, because their tires are sharp and small,” Kaj said. “Bicycles have bigger tires”

City councillor advocates their use, citing their safety

Vancouver city councillor Adriane Carr said allowing e-scooters on the road will make it safer for pedestrians.

“One of the concerns was scooters on sidewalks, which many people have said it’s very dangerous, especially for older people, people with disabilities and children,” Carr said in an interview with the Voice on Tuesday.

Carr said safety for pedestrians is as important as safety for e-scooter users.

“Public safety and safety of the riders is the upmost important issue,” Carr said. “In my mind, many people drive cars at beyond the posted speed limit, and suppose the speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour on all of the minor streets in the city.

People should abide to it, they should be travelling at less. And that would be for e-scooters as well, they should be slowing things down.”

What makes e-scooters so appealing to food delivery drivers like Kaj is precisely why Carr said they don’t belong anywhere except on the road.

“E-scooters in particular can go pretty fast. So this will address that by putting them onto the roads and into bike lanes. Our hope is that they will stay off the sidewalks.”

E-scooters have become more popular in the last 10 years and often used by students and food delivery drivers.

Efficiency meets speed

Businessman Jay Im, owner of the electric scooter and ebike rental shop VanEcoRide, said that e-scooters are efficient because users can get to where they’re going faster than driving.

Im said he lives in Richmond and it cuts his commute time to get to downtown Vancouver by a half when he uses his e-scooter.

“It took me like 23 minutes to get here. If I drive, it takes about 45 minutes to get here. So, there is a lot of time consumed,” he said.

But speed isn’t the only factor. Im adds e-scooter users should be experienced in order to be safe on the road.

“I think as long as you know the regulations, if you have been driving for long enough or you have at least plus five years, then you kind of know what to do,” he said. “But if you let people like 15-year-olds ride on the road by themselves, they don’t know what’s going on.

“Then there’s a higher chance that they can get into an accident.”

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