Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update
United for a Barrier-Free Ontario for All People with Disabilities
For the 3rd Time in Four Years, Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee Tells the City of Toronto to Say No to Electric Scooters — Will Mayor Olivia Chow and City Council Listen?
February 13, 2024
At its meeting on February 5, 2024, the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee voted to recommend to the City of Toronto, in no uncertain terms, that Toronto should say no to e-scooters. This was the third time in the past four years that the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee has given Toronto’s mayor, City Council and City staff its strong and unequivocal recommendation that e-scooters should remain banned in public places. The AODA Alliance made deputations to the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee in opposition to e-scooters at each of its meetings on this topic. The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee’s motions to this effect passed on February 3, 2020, February 25, 2021, and February 5, 2024 are set out below.
Why must vulnerable people with disabilities and seniors in Toronto continue to fight this battle against the dangers that e-scooters present to their safety and accessibility? Toronto City Council voted unanimously on May 5, 2021, to keep in place the ban on riding e-scooters in public places. Experience with e-scooters in other cities continues to prove that these dangers are serious. City staff reports to Toronto City Council in 2020, 2021 and 2023 reaffirm this. They also show that there is no effective way to both, allow e-scooters and to regulate them. For example, if they are allowed in public, but banned from sidewalks, people will continue to ride them on sidewalks with impunity.
Despite all of this, Toronto City Council voted last summer to ask City staff to prepare a new report on whether to conduct pilot projects with any form of “micromobility” including e-scooters. We call on Toronto City staff to recommend no pilot projects with e-scooters. Don’t experiment on vulnerable people with disabilities and seniors, or on any non-consenting people in Toronto.
Toronto has an excellent, safer, environmentally friendly form of micromobility in place. It is Toronto’s BikeShare program. E-scooters don’t add any benefit. They just add dangers to safety and disability accessibility. We of course continue to support the use of any disability mobility aid in public.
What Can You Do to Help?
Write Toronto City staff and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow today. Tell them to say no to e-scooters.
Write Toronto City staff at: micromobility@Toronto.ca
Write Mayor Chow at: Mayor_Chow@toronto.ca
Plan to dial in to the telephone town hall that the City of Toronto is holding on February 29 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Tell them to say no to e-scooters. Its website states:
“The City of Toronto will be hosting a Telephone Town Hall on Micromobility on Thursday, February 29 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. Residents are invited to participate and learn more about Developing a Micromobility Strategy for Toronto. Full event details, including how to dial in, will be posted online soon.”
Information will, we hope be posted on the City of Toronto website’s micromobility page on how to register for this event.
Where to Get More Background
- The AODA Alliance’s June 1, 2023 brief to the Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee and the AODA Alliance’s June 22, 2023 supplemental brief.
- The open letter to Toronto City Council, opposing e-scooters, sent by 22 disability and community organizations.
- The AODA Alliance website’s e-scooter page.
February 3, 2020 Motion of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee
The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee recommends to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee that:
- City Council prohibit e-scooters for use in public spaces including sidewalks and roads, and direct that any City permission granted to e-scooter companies be guided by public safety, in robust consultation with people living with disabilities, and related organizations serving this population.
February 25, 2021, Motion by the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee
The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee communicate to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee and City Council, for consideration with the next staff report on electric kick scooters, that:
- The Committee does not support the use of any electric kick-scooters (e-scooters) in the City of Toronto; and request that a ban prohibiting their use in all public space remain in place without any exceptions, as they:
- create a general safety hazard in the public realm for all Toronto residents;
- add further barriers for the elderly and persons living with disabilities;
- are poorly enforced when illegally used due to insufficient enforcement resources;
- further encumber pre-existing inadequate infrastructure.
- The Committee recommends that City Council request the Toronto Police Services Board, the General Manager, Transportation Services, and the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to consult with accessibility stakeholders to:
- develop a public education campaign to effectively convey the existing by-laws on the prohibition of e-scooters use in all public spaces;
- actively scale up city-wide enforcement of the by-law prohibiting use of e-scooters in all public spaces.
The February 5, 2024 Motion by the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee
The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee recommends that the Infrastructure and Environment Committee recommend that:
- City Council direct the General Manager, Transportation Services conduct no further electric kick-scooter (e-scooter) pilots or trials, because e-scooters:
- present a significant safety hazard;
- cause serious injuries;
- are a barrier to accessibility; and
- enforcement is untenable.