Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update
United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities
Ford Government Quietly Conducts Inexcusably Rushed 2-Day Public Consultation Just Before the Labour Day Long Weekend on a Troubling Proposal to Allow Electric Scooters in Ontario – Because This Risks a Safety Threat for People with Disabilities, the AODA Alliance Calls for This Rushed Consultation To Be Withdrawn, and For Assurances that Our Safety Won’t Ever Be Put At Risk, Even During Any Trial Period
August 29, 2019
On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, two days before the Labour Day long weekend, the Doug Ford Government quietly posted online, for a meager 48-hour public consultation, a proposal to allow electric scooters (e-scooters) in Ontario for five years, for a trial period, on the same terms as bicycles are allowed. E-scooters would be allowed to zip at up to 32 kilometers per hour. Below we set out the Government’s description of what the Government proposes.
Allowing e-scooters in Ontario risks exposing a real safety threat to the public, including to people with disabilities. For example, if allowed on sidewalks (as allowed in some other jurisdictions) or bike lanes, zipping along far faster than pedestrians, or if allowed on the roads without the safeguards applied to cars and trucks, pedestrians, including those with disabilities are exposed to serious injuries. This is even more risky if a person is allowed to drive an e-scooter in public, without requiring a driver’s license and the associated oversight and training.
“It is inexcusable that the Doug Ford Government quietly sprung this on the public on the eve of the Labour Day weekend, when many are away on holiday, and only allowed for 48 hours for the public to give input,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the grassroots non-partisan AODA Alliance that spearheads the campaign for accessibility for over 2 million Ontarians with disabilities. “The fact that the Ford Government did not even alert us to this consultation, which we only learned about via the grapevine, suggests that Doug Ford may not have even considered the impact of this proposal on people with disabilities.”
The AODA Alliance is calling on the Ford Government to immediately withdraw its 48 hour consultation, and to go back to the drawing board. It should first thoroughly study and make public the impact of e-scooters on public safety, including on people with disabilities, before taking any further steps on this issue. It should commit that no action will be taken that could allow e-scooters in Ontario if they pose a risk to public safety, including the safety of people with disabilities. Many more details should be shared with the public before a public consultation begins.
There have now been 211 days, or almost seven months, since the Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of Ontario’s accessibility law, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, conducted by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Ford Government has still not announced any plan of action to implement the Onley report.
The Onley report found that Ontario remains full of “soul-crushing” barriers against Ontarians with disabilities, and that Ontario Government action to redress these has been far too inadequate. The fact that the Ford Government could come forward with so troubling a consultation on an issue that risks our safety is yet more indication that Ontario desperately needs the Onley report to be effectively implemented.
The AODA Alliance is conducting a “Dial Doug” campaign. It is urging members of the public to call or email Premier Ford, and to ask him where is his plan to ensure that Ontario becomes accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. This e-scooter proposal gives people with disabilities yet another reason to #DialDoug!
Doug Ford’s office number is +1 (416) 325-1941. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Action tips on how to take part in the #DialDoug blitz are available at https://www.aodaalliance.org/whats-new/join-in-our-new-dial-doug-campaign-a-grassroots-blitz-unveiled-today-to-get-the-doug-ford-government-to-make-ontario-open-for-over-1-9-million-ontarians-with-disabilities/
The Ford Government’s 48-Hour Pre-Labour Day Public Consultation on Allowing Electric Scooters in Ontario
Originally posted at https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=30207&language=en
Kick Style Electric Scooter (E-Scooter)
The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is strongly committed to promoting the highest standards of safety for all Ontarians who travel on our roads, including drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, and will continue working with all our partners on measures that enhance this objective. Trends and technology are evolving, with new forms of vehicles such as e-scooters entering the market.
MTO is interested in new and environmentally-friendly vehicles, however it is important that new vehicles are constructed with appropriate safety features to allow safe integration with all other road users.
MTO is considering the following proposal and invites you to submit your comments for consideration.
E-scooters have been launched in more than 125 cities across the United States. They represent a new way for residents to get around their communities, are seen as providing first and last mile connections to transit, and represent an opportunity to reduce traffic congestion.
E-scooters are currently not permitted to operate on roads in Ontario as they do not meet any federal or provincial safety standards for on-road use. These devices may only be operated where Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA) does not apply such as private property.
The ministry is interested in exploring the feasibility of these vehicles safely integrating with other road users while promoting road safety and fostering business innovation in the province.
MTO is soliciting public comment on potentially permitting the use of e-scooters on roads in Ontario as part of a pilot project. This will allow the ministry to ensure e-scooters can be safely integrated with other road users before a final, permanent, regulatory decision is made.
Proposed E-Scooter Pilot Framework:
The length of the pilot will be for a prescribed period of 5 years, to ensure sufficient time to effectively monitor and evaluate the pilot results.
Operator/Rider/Vehicle Requirements Include:
- Can operate on-road similar to where bicycles can operate; prohibited on controlled access highways
- Minimum operating age 16
- Bicycle helmet required for those under 18 years old
- No passengers allowed
- Maximum operating speed 32 km/h
- No pedals or seat allowed
- Must have 2 wheels and brakes
- Maximum wheel diameter 17 inches
- Must have horn or bell
- Must have front and back light
- Maximum weight 45kg and Maximum power output 500W
- Municipalities to remit data to the province, as requested