Victoria council to ponder use of electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters in bike lanes

Victoria council to ponder use of electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters in bike lanes
The two-way protected bike lanes on Pandora Avenue in Victoria.

Victoria council will consider whether to move forward in allowing electric-powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters to use the city’s protected bike lane network.

Council had called on the provincial government in 2017 to amend the Motor Vehicle Act, which previously defined electric wheelchair and mobility scooter users as pedestrians, thus prohibiting them from travelling on roadways.

The government responded by amending the act in 2019 to permit “motorized personal mobility devices” for use on roadways with regulations.

If approved, Thursday’s motion will city staff engage the B.C. government on next steps to allow electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters in bike lanes, reporting back to council in January 2022.

READ MORE: Etiquette instruction required on Victoria bike paths, bike shop owner says

Accessibility advocates have been pushing the city to allow such equipment to use bike lanes in the city, saying that they’re a good alternative to navigating crowded or obstructive sidewalks.

“Bike lanes provide alternative smooth access and convenience for getting to appointments, picking up groceries and attending other day-to-day activities that many take for granted,” said the Action Comittee of People with Disabilities in a letter to city council. “The use of the bike lanes also provides a recreational activity and enhances the quality of people’s lives.”

The committee noted other transportation alternatives such as the BC Transit bus pass and Handy Dart fare are cost-prohibitive for disabled people on a $1,356 per month benefit.

The motion, put forward by councillors Jeremy Loveday and Ben Isitt, will go before the Committee of the Whole Thursday.


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