Kelowna still expects to have bike sharing, but weeks from now - InfoNews

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Kelowna still expects to have bike sharing, but weeks from now

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May 03, 2019 - 5:00 PM

KELOWNA - After a successful trial in 2018, the City of Kelowna is opening the door for more and different types of bike sharing this year. Some could be in place within three to six weeks.

Last year, a company called Dropbike attracted 35,000 riders with its orange and white bikes as part of an 18-month trial focused on the downtown core.

A new permitting system is going to city council on Monday, May 6.

“We’re opening the door to a variety of operators to deliver pedal bikes and e-bikes as well as other vehicles in the future,” Matt Worona, the City’s active transportation coordinator told iNFOnews.ca.

Dropbike can come back to Kelowna and operate the same as they did last year without having to apply for a permit, Worona said. If they want to change their program or add things like e-bikes, they will fall under the new rules.

If council approves the new permitting system on Monday there will still be a week’s delay until they give final approval on May 13. After that, it’s just a matter of how quickly operators can get their applications approved and get bikes on the street.

“Last year it worked fairly well in a pretty constrained area,” Worona said. “We’d like to see that expanded out and more people served with this kind of service.”

He’s also looking to the future with things like electric scooters. Currently, they’re not legally allowed on B.C. streets, so he wants council to lobby the province to allow Kelowna to run a pilot project. That may take some time but it won’t delay the rest of the program, Worona said.

It doesn’t appear that Dropbike will return to Kelowna after it stated in a letter posted to social media that “we are leaving because the regulatory framework developed by the City of Kelowna stands in clear opposition to our values.”

The letter went on to say the permitting system will “disincentivize bike-share operators from working towards creating a mobility system that is sustainable and doesn’t lead to mess and chaos on the streets.”

Worona countered that the City consulted with Dropbike about the proposed changes but “didn’t get a ton of comments coming back.”

Dropbike did not respond to a request for an interview.


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