Escooter

The injury rate for people using e-scooters is comparable to that experienced by people riding a bike, Kelowna city officials say. Fifty-one people were treated at KGH for e-scooter related injuries from January through August.

People who ride electric scooters are no more likely to end up in hospital than are bicyclists, Kelowna city council will hear Monday.

Between January and the end of August, 51 people were treated for scooter-related injuries at Kelowna General Hospital, Interior Health says.

In the same period, 203,000 trips were taken on e-scooters by companies licensed to rent the devices in Kelowna.

That equates to an injury rate of 25 per 100,000 trips, which city officials say in a report to council is "in line with the bicycle injury rate".

One-third of all e-scooter injuries happened during a user's first ride, city officials say, citing information relayed to them by Interior Health.

The introduction of e-scooters in Kelowna has been controversial, with some welcoming them as a fun and efficient alternative to driving a car and others regarding the devices as an annoying novelty, a menace to pedestrians, and a hazard on the roads.

For 2022, city officials say council should licence only two e-scooter rental firms and require both to provide all users with a helmet.

Other operating conditions that were imposed after the program's roll-out, intended to promote safer use of the e-scooters, should remain in place for next year, city officials say.

These include limiting the total number of e-scooters available for rental in Kelowna to 700, requiring the placement of no more than 30% of the total fleet in downtown, and banning use of the devices in downtown from 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. to avoid drunk scootering.

If council agrees to continue the e-scooter rental program, companies will be invited to make applications in December to become one of the two allowed providers.