ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
People with Disabilities to Gather at Virtual Public Forum Tonight, Open to the Media, to Tell the City of Toronto How Electric Scooters Endanger Their Safety and Create New Accessibility Barriers
January 24, 2024 Toronto: Tonight at 7 PM EST, people with disabilities will converge at a Virtual Public Forum hosted by CNIB, to tell the City of Toronto how e-scooters endanger their safety and create new accessibility barriers in a city that is already getting less and less accessible to 2.9 Ontarians with disabilities. The media and all Toronto City Council members are invited to pre-register today to attend at https://cnib.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYoc–rrzIoH9YvQeQnoUh3BIRnaiRjvWxa
Disability advocates have called on Toronto City Council not to lift the ban on electric scooters. Experience in city after city shows that e-scooters, a silent menace, endanger public safety in places allowing them. Riders and innocent pedestrians get seriously injured or killed. They especially endanger vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities.
Blind people don’t know when silent e-scooters rocket at them at over 20 KPH, driven by unlicensed, untrained, uninsured, unhelmetted, fun-seeking joyriders. Often left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are dangerous tripping hazards for blind people and accessibility nightmares for wheelchair users.
Less than three years ago, on May 5, 2021, after exhaustive study of e-scooters by city staff (who recommended against allowing them) and after a long and exhausting disability community campaign against the e-scooter corporate lobbyists, Toronto’s Disability and seniors community got City Council to vote unanimously to leave in place the ban on riding e-scooters in public places. Since then, the well-financed and well-placed corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies have kept up their feeding frenzy at City Hall, hoping that the new City Council will prioritize their profits over safety and accessibility for seniors and people with disabilities.
Last summer, the AODA Alliance sent City Council members a detailed letter that explains why City Council must not unleash a pilot program of dangerous electric scooters. Toronto is already full of too many accessibility barriers. City Council must not create new disability barriers, while making public spaces even more unsafe for Toronto’s most vulnerable residents and visitors.
People with disabilities and seniors can continue to register today for tonight’s Virtual Town Hall at the link above.
“Toronto should start to properly enforce the ban on e-scooters, rather than conducting a pilot project on vulnerable Torontonians, as if we are guinea pigs in an experiment to which we never consented,” said David Lepofsky, Chair of the non-partisan grassroots AODA Alliance which campaigned for over four years against the silent menace of e-scooters along with an impressive number of other disability organizations. “We hope all City Council members will attend to hear directly from people with disabilities and seniors endangered by e-scooters. With City Council considering huge property tax increases, Toronto shouldn’t squander public money on a pilot with e-scooters.”
It accomplishes nothing to ban e-scooters only from sidewalks. They are frequently ridden on sidewalks in cities that ban them only from sidewalks. We’d need cops on every block.
Moreover, Toronto has built harmful new bike paths right on sidewalks, as was revealed in a widely viewed AODA Alliance online video. E-scooters on those bike paths will make those dangerous sidewalks even more dangerous.
In 2020, the AODA Alliance exposed the well-funded, behind-the-scenes feeding frenzy of back-room pressure that corporate lobbyists for e-scooter rental companies inundated Toronto City Hall with for months. They do this in city after city.
The AODA Alliance congratulates and thanks the CNIB for organizing and hosting this Virtual Public Forum.
For more background, check out:
The AODA Alliance website’s e-scooter page.