ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Disability Advocates to Tell Ottawa’s Transportation Committee Today Not to Allow E- Scooters – A Wrong-headed City Staff Report Endangers Safety and Accessibility for People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Others
March 2, 2022 Toronto: Today starting at 9:30 am, disability advocates will urge the City of Ottawa Transportation Committee to reject a wrong-headed City Staff Report that would endanger safety and accessibility for people with disabilities, seniors, children, and others. City staff recommend that Ottawa conduct a third pilot project with electric scooters this year, even though the pilots in 2020 and 2021 created safety and accessibility dangers for these vulnerable populations.
The AODA Alliance will make a deputation to the Committee. The Committee meeting is live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUR3i_hvk3-3i8vtrPg6v1Q
The AODA’s detailed brief to the City shows that e-scooters, improperly racing at 20 KPH on sidewalks by uninsured, unlicensed, and untrained joy-riders are a silent menace to people with disabilities and others. E-scooters left strewn on sidewalks are a dangerous tripping hazard for blind people, and an accessibility barrier for people using a wheelchair.
“Ottawa’s City Staff Report shows that e-scooters posed these dangers to people with disabilities over the past two years, and then proposes inadequate measures that won’t eliminate those dangers,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance, which has campaigned against e-scooters around Ontario. “As an absurd example, City Staff propose that Braille contact information be installed on e-scooters. As a blind person, I am not going to chase after an e-scooter, racing along the sidewalk, hoping I’ll find braille on it. When I trip over one on the sidewalk, I’m not going to grope around to feel if it has braille information on it.”
The City Staff Report wrongly rejected, without explanation, the Ottawa Accessibility Advisory Committee’s strong recommendation that e-scooters be banned. The Report reads as if it were written by corporate lobbyists for e-scooter companies, who will rake it in if Ottawa approves a third pilot.
“Ottawa gave well-funded e-scooter companies full years to prove that their product won’t endanger people with disabilities and others,” said Lepofsky. “Enough is enough. It’s time for Ottawa City Council to stand up to the e-scooter corporate lobbyists and stand up for people with disabilities.”
For more background, visit the AODA Alliance e-scooters web page.