Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

The use of e-scooters on most of Gabriola roads is prohibited.

Some exceptions apply, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI).

Staff with MOTI provided the clarification this past week, after the Sounder requested information on how the island might participate in a e-scooter safety review being launched by the BC Government.

According to the MOTI press release, “the benefits and effects of people using e-scooters will be studied in detail to help more local governments across B.C. evaluate how this clean and popular mode of personal transportation can be safely integrated into local transportation networks.”

The review will start on April 5, 2024 and run for four years. The review enables the collection of better health and safety data, which is needed to address outstanding questions about the safe integration of scooters into transportation networks. This will help determine if and how electric kick scooters should be permanently authorized for general use in B.C.

During the next four-year period, people will be able to legally use e-scooters in any community that authorizes their use. Participating communities will continue to prescribe how and where electric kick scooters can be used, subject to new regulations. The BC government said in the news release a new streamlined onboarding process will make it easier for smaller and rural communities to test electric kick scooters and address local needs.

So far – Gabriola is not one of those communities included in the review.

Because Gabriola is not a municipality, all roadways on the island are under the jurisdiction of the provincial transportation Ministry.

MOTI staff said to the Sounder that the current regulations permit electric kick scooters to operate on provincially controlled highways if the highway has a cycling lane or a traffic-control device (a sign or marking) that directs electric kick scooter operators to a safe part of the infrastructure, such as the shoulder lane or multi-use pathway.

Where there is no shoulder or cycling/multiuse lane to safely accommodate electric kick scooter operators, they are prohibited from using the roadway.

Because much of Gabriola’s road network does not include a continuous shoulder or cycling lane, meaning that e-scooters cannot at present be used on most roadways on the island. E-scooters would be permitted for use on roadways on Gabriola where there is a delineated shoulder/cycling lane. MOTI staff did not give specific examples of this on Gabriola. Signage can be created at the request of local government (such as the RDN or Islands Trust) to the ministry.

MOTI stated that enforcement of the prohibition would be up to the Gabriola RCMP detachment.

Trish Mandewo, president, Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) said, “local governments have asked the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to work with them to ensure that appropriate regulation is in place and will welcome the findings the pilot projects will yield. UBCM appreciates this collaborative and constructive effort to address a critical shift in public transportation.”

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will be hosting outreach sessions with interested local governments over the coming months to provide information and encourage participation.

More information on e-scooter use in BC and participating communities can be found at

Those riding an e-scooter must also fall within the guidelines already established by the province for e-scooters.

This includes:

• Minimum 16 years of age: a person under the age of 16 cannot operate an electric kick scooter.

• Safety helmet required: always wear an approved cycle safety helmet when operating an electric kick scooter.

• Maximum speed capability of 24 km/hr on a clean, paved and level surface.

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