This Penticton senior just wants to scoot around town without breaking the law - InfoNews

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This Penticton senior just wants to scoot around town without breaking the law

Penelope Link was given this e-scooter and wants to be able to ride it around Penticton without running afoul of the law.
Image Credit: Submitted/Penelope Link
May 25, 2020 - 7:30 AM

Penelope Link is a 69-year-old Penticton grandmother who was recently given an e-scooter, only to find out that she’s technically not allowed to ride it around town.

While the provincial government has no problem with people riding e-bikes and electric mobility devices, the stand-up scooters are not allowed on the roads.

“I want to be able to run errands on it but, for now, apparently, I am limited to Skaha Lake park, although I rode back to the other end of town using a mix of KVR trails, backstreets and sidewalks, always wearing my helmet, keeping the speed low, and stepping off when going past dog walkers, old folks like me, or vulnerable situations, in order to be respectful and not scare anyone off,” she told iNFOnews.ca.

Link has ridden scooters of one sort or another since she was three years old. It keeps her fit and agile, she said.

Most recently, she used a “trick scooter” – the kind often used in skateboard parks to do flips and other tricks. While she didn’t do any flips, she found it was good exercise until her knees took to “objecting” too much.

The e-scooter seemed ideal. It’s small enough to push by foot to cross streets so there’s some exercise involved and it’s mobile, easily fitting into the trunk of her car.

But, the province is years away from making e-scooters – which can range from simple push-and-stand-on devices with electric motors to mini-electric motorbikes – legal on city streets.

This past winter, the province put out a call for cities to apply to run pilot programs to see what rules will best apply to the province as a whole. The City of Kelowna filed an application since it has been leading the charge on changing the laws. It’s still waiting for approval. Penticton did not file and Vernon council filed an “expression of interest” but likely didn’t make the March 6 deadline to file an application.

The province says the pilot projects, if approved, will be for up to three years so it will take at least that long before Link’s efforts can be made legal.

She’s not keen on an e-bike as a legal substitute because, a few years ago, she fell off a bike and caused nerve damage in her left arm.

And a mobility device would just be a sign of defeat.

“If I do get a mobility scooter, I’m going to feel really disabled, in my head,” Link said.

“My mom would say to me ‘until I look in a mirror, I’m 20.’” Link said. “I have that type of attitude.”

The City of Penticton, in an email, said it has no bylaws prohibiting the use of e-scooters but they are restricted on some pathways where posted.

That means it’s up to the RCMP to enforce the provincial rules that appear to be in the long slow process of being changed.

“If I see an RCMP officer, I shall ask if they would stop a silver-haired granny on an e-scooter that is riding respectfully, Link said. “I have my helmet. The e-scooter has two levels of speed. I never put it in the higher range. I take it up, maybe, to 15 km/h. I’m 69. I feel – and I feel it very deeply – as soon as you give up something that impedes you from walking, as soon as you stop one thing, you start putting other things down as well."


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