Sarah Bruce
Public Relations / Member Engagement
Email: sarahbruce@ara.bc.ca
Phone: 604-432-7987

Industry Working Committee Identifies Challenges of Micromobility Vehicles

Technology is constantly evolving, sometimes faster than regulations. One of these evolutions is the introduction of the “micromobility” products into the two-wheeled marketplace. This includes electric scooters, skateboards, and e-bicycles, which are now capable of exceeding speeds of 32km/h. As these new modes of transportation do not fall under the Motor Vehicle Act, yet are being driven on roadways, a number of challenges are being presented when it comes to categorizing and regulating them.

These challenges were brought up at the ARA’s motorcycle and powersports division’s new Industry Working Committee. Representatives from the BC Association of Chiefs of Police, ICBC, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council, RoadSafetyBC, Translink, Vancouver Police Department, and Vehicle Sales Authority came together to discuss how to proceed down this bumpy road.

The main concern of these micromobility vehicles is safety to pedestrians and motorists on the road. Currently, there is no designated area for these modes of transportation. However, as they travel faster than a pedestrian and slower than a car, they pose a risk to everyone on the road and sidewalk. Furthermore, they are not required to have insurance so there is no coverage in the event of an accident.

Currently, a license is not required to operate an electric bike, scooter, or skateboard. Several stakeholders pointed out that this is a reason for concern because a driver who has had their license revoked due to alcohol impairment can go on to operate a micromobility form of transportation. There is also the risk of these micromobility riders not knowing the rules of the road sufficiently as they have never had to take a driver’s test.

There are also practical business concerns. Many micromobility product vendors are unregistered motorized vehicle retailers. Understandably, many in the industry see the traditional safety, training, insurance, licensing, selling, and registration systems at risk of being circumvented in a race to incentivize new mobility options.

The Committee also brought up concerns about training and wearing the right safety gear. Should safety gear be mandatory? What should be considered suitable protection, considering fully electric scooters can exceed 30 km/h? Statistics show there is a higher rate of fatalities and injuries on the road when safety gear is not worn.

The B.C. government has proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act that are now under consideration to integrate these micromobility vehicles and clarify their use. Communities in B.C. have been given the opportunity to put forward proposals for their own pilot projects, which are already underway in other provinces.

The discussion brought many interesting thoughts and ideas of what opportunities and challenges are associated with adopting the new modes of transportation in B.C. To move forward, it is the Committee’s priority to define and strategize ways to manage safety, training, insurance, licensing, selling, and registration systems. The ARA is confident that the joined effort will result in ensuring the safety of all road users and bettering the motorcycle and powersport industry.