As winter gradually gives way to spring, I’m preparing to put my two-wheel electric scooter back into service and am pleased that the Ironman, Granfondo and number of regular cyclists in the region are inspiring a cycling network upgrade in the city.
One reason I chose Penticton as my home was that I could walk the length of the city in less than an hour and it had mass transit and cycling lanes. When I learned an electric scooter was defined as a power-assisted bicycle, I knew I could legally use the cycling lanes and be happily scootering for at least half the year.
For me, Penticton has proven the more sustainable lifestyle I was seeking. It’s been nearly four years since I parted with my candy-apple red 1991 Acura Integra sports coupe — a car I loved to drive and that was in fine working order. I needed to end my ownership of a petrol-powered vehicle. In India, where I do pro bono consultancy relating to more sustainable built environments for several months each year, I get around by walking, using auto-rickshaws (small taxis built on scooter frames), buses, trains and sharing rides with friends and colleagues. Here in the Okanagan, I depend on walking, cycling, scootering, city and long-distance buses, taxis and sharing rides with friends.
When I sold my car and later bought the scooter in Penticton, people noted that I’d have to plan my travel more carefully and couldn’t carry as much, including other people, and that it would take more time and limit the distance I could travel. They were right. Transporting myself without possession of a fossil-fuel-powered vehicle takes extra time and effort. I loved the ability to go where I wanted when I wanted as a car owner, but that’s not a viable future for all of us on this planet.
I made the hard choice early and am adapting my life accordingly, including living within a 15-minute walk of most of the various goods and services I need on a routine basis. If I travel locally at night in winter or in uncomfortable weather conditions and am not sharing a ride with friends, I use a taxi — a bargain when compared to the cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance.
So, as the city considers upgrading the cycling network, know that not only folks on bicycles, but those of us on two-wheel (and four-wheel) electric scooters applaud the effort.