The City of Victoria plans to require the province to allow people using electric wheelchairs and scooters to drive on city bike lanes.
On Thursday, lawmakers voted unanimously to direct staff to contact the province on the issue in response to letters from advocacy groups urging the city to take action.
The city received a letter from Greater Victoria's Joint Action, a coalition dedicated to climate action, affordable housing and mental health, and the Disability Action Committee. Capital Bike also supports this change.
Eric Doherty, co-leader of the Greater Victoria Joint Action Climate Justice team, hopes to expand the use of bicycle lanes to a wider group of people. This will encourage some people to reduce their driving and make them more sustainable. Establish public support for transportation.
Doherty said this is also a way to ensure that the city is truly suitable for lanes of all ages and abilities.
"This is one of the touchstones for routes of all ages and abilities. Is it safe for an 80-year-old grandmother to ride an electric scooter?"
Peter Foran is not waiting for permission to use bicycle lanes. He used the driveway only occasionally, until about a year and a half ago, when he fell from an electric wheelchair and broke his hip while driving on an uneven sidewalk.
Foran said that after the fall, he became a "loyal" user of bicycle lanes.
"Some sidewalks are very rough in shape," unlike "these beautiful, smooth bike paths," he said.
Foran believes that if permission is granted, many wheelchair users will start using bicycle lanes.
County. Ben Isitt, he and Coun proposed this motion together. Jeremy Loveday said that the initial focus was on improving accessibility and mobility challenges for people with disabilities, and the discussion may eventually be expanded to include other types of electric vehicles that include non-mobility aids.
He said that the purpose is not to force anyone to use the bicycle lane, but to expand the range of options for those who use electric scooters and wheelchairs.
Philip Bellefontaine, Director of Engineering and Public Works, told MPs that the province has been making small steps towards these changes in recent years.
"So, from a time point of view, I think there are some real benefits in bringing this to their attention," Bellefontaine said.
City staff will provide members with the latest information on the next steps in early 2022.