E-bike ride share coming to Kelowna in mid-November – weather permitting | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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E-bike ride share coming to Kelowna in mid-November – weather permitting

Roll e-scooters will launch in Kelowna in November with e-bikes coming a couple of weeks later.
Image Credit: Submitted/Rollscooter.com
October 12, 2019 - 3:30 PM

A new Toronto company is planning to launch its e-scooter share program in Kelowna on Nov. 1 with its electric bike operation starting a couple of weeks later.

It may seem like a strange time of year to start such an operation, but the company is brand new - being launched by University of Toronto students last spring – and this is its first operation. That means this will be a chance to test their specially designed products.

“Our tires are suitable for winter conditions,” Arda Erturk, the company’s chief communications officer told iNFOnews.ca today, Oct. 11. “But, if the temperature is below zero, it’s going to affect battery life.”

Even with the winter tires, they don’t plan on running the service in the snow, for safety reasons.

Roll, with 100 e-scooters, will join four other companies with permits – three of which started operating this past summer and are expected to keep operating until the snow flies. That means there could be as many as 800 e-scooters in Kelowna by next summer.

Like those other companies, the Roll scooters will be geo-fenced to limit their use to certain legal pathways, mostly along the waterfront.

That may change soon as the province introduced legislation on Monday that, if passed, would allow for e-scooter use on roadways on a trial basis. The City of Kelowna has already applied to the province to run a pilot program.

It was also at the city’s request that Roll is bringing 50 e-bikes to the city. They, like their scooters, are specially designed by the company and manufactured in China.

While the bikes are legal on city streets, they will also be geofenced and limited to the downtown area of Kelowna. With only 50 bikes in the fleet, it’s just more practical to keep them to a smaller area – but broader than for the scooters.

Pick up points for both will change daily, based on usage. Locations will be available on the apps.

“We are the only e-scooter share company that requires riders to wear helmets,” Erturk added.

Based on the experience of Ogo scooters this summer – where all their helmets disappeared within the first two weeks – and for sanitary reasons, helmets will not be provided at pick up points but some will be given out free and free helmets will be available on-line for the cost of shipping.

The city’s permit program requires operators to provide one helmet per vehicle.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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