ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
After a Major Outpouring from People with Disabilities, Toronto Infrastructure Committee Unanimously Votes to Leave in Place the Ban on Electric Scooters – Next Week Toronto City Council Will Decide
April 28, 2021 Toronto: As an important interim victory for people with disabilities, Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee Today unanimously voted not to allow e-scooters in public and not to conduct a pilot project. On May 5, Toronto City Council will have this issue on its agenda.
City staff and Toronto’s Accessibility Advisory Committee made strong recommendations to City Council against allowing e-scooters in Toronto, and against conducting a pilot project. In the same direction, an impressive spectrum of disability advocates told the Committee today that Mayor Tory and City Council must not unleash dangerous electric scooters in Toronto (now banned, unless Council legalizes them).
A City Staff Report, which the Committee unanimously supported, amply shows e-scooters endanger public safety in places allowing them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger seniors and people with disabilities. Blind people can’t tell when silent e-scooters rocket at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmetted fun-seeking riders. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for blind people and accessibility nightmares for wheelchair users.
The Infrastructure Committee was told that Toronto has been getting less accessible to people with disabilities. Allowing e-scooters would make that worse.
The Committee was told over and over that it accomplishes nothing to just ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The City Staff Report documents the silent menace of e-scooters continue to be ridden on sidewalks in cities that just ban them from sidewalks. We would need cops on every block. Toronto law enforcement told City Councilors last July 9 that they have no resources to enforce such new e-scooter rules.
E-scooters would impose significant costs on taxpayers for new law enforcement, OHIP for treating those injured by e-scooters, lawsuits by the injured, etc. Toronto has more pressing budget priorities.
Disability advocates explained that City Council should not conduct an e-scooter pilot. A pilot to study what? How many innocent people will be injured? We already know they will from cities that allowed them. Torontonians should not be subjected to such a human experiment, especially without the consent of those at risk of being injured.
The AODA Alliance has exposed the stunning well-funded behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure that corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies have inundated City Hall with for months.
“We applaud the Toronto Infrastructure Committee for its unanimous vote and urge all of City Council to take the same position next week,” said AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. “We call on Mayor Tory and the entire City Council to stand up for people with disabilities and to stand up to the e-scooter corporate lobbyists.”
For more background, check out the AODA Alliance’s March 30, 2021 brief to the City of Toronto on e-scooters, the AODA Alliance video on why e-scooters are so dangerous (which media can use in any reports), and the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.