Sign Up to Tell Ottawa’s Accessibility Advisory Committee to Publicly and Strongly Oppose Electric Scooters that Endanger People with Disabilities, Seniors and Others

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org

Email: aodafeedback@gmail.com

Twitter: @aodaalliance

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Sign Up to Tell Ottawa’s Accessibility Advisory Committee to Publicly and Strongly Oppose Electric Scooters that Endanger People with Disabilities, Seniors and Others

December 10, 2021

            SUMMARY

Please contact the Ottawa Accessibility Advisory Committee as soon as you can! Sign up to speak at its virtual online meeting at 6 pm on Tuesday December 14, 2021 and advocate that it should recommend that Ottawa stop allowing electric scooters (e-scooters). E-scooters endanger safety and accessibility for people with disabilities, seniors, children and others.

The public announcement of the Ottawa Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting is set out below. To sign up to speak at that meeting, email or phone Carole Legault:

 

CaroleA.Legault@Ottawa.ca or 613-580-2424 ext. 28934.

 

If you don’t want to speak at that meeting, you can email your comments, and ask that your feedback be shared with the Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Two years ago, the Ford Government ignored serious disability concerns when it gave every municipality the power to lift the ban on e-scooters. It allows them for a so-called “pilot” for up to five years.

Right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Ottawa jumped on the e-scooters bandwagon. It did so despite strong warnings, conveyed right to the office of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, that e-scooters endanger safety and accessibility for people with disabilities. It was obvious that the e-scooter rental companies’ corporate lobbyists had the inside track to Ottawa’s mayor and City Council, just as they earlier had the inside track to Premier Doug Ford.

Ottawa has now held two successive “pilot projects” with e-scooters. Feedback from people with disabilities demonstrates that e-scooters create serious dangers for people with disabilities, seniors and others. What occurred was exactly what we warned the office of Ottawa’s mayor about before Ottawa plowed forward, regardless of those dangers.

An e- scooter corporate lobbyist told a City of Toronto public meeting last spring that Ottawa is “the gold standard” for e-scooters. Instead, Ottawa is in fact the model of what should never be allowed to happen. E-scooters ridden on sidewalks, without effective law enforcement have been combined with e-scooters lying on city sidewalks, as tripping hazards and accessibility barriers.

Here is a chance to speak up. We need you to be heard, whether you live in the Ottawa area, or would like to be able to visit Ottawa without having to endure the dangers that e-scooters present. We need Ottawa’s Accessibility Advisory Committee to issue a strong, public and categorical recommendation that Ottawa not allow e-scooters, now that those two successive pilot projects have finished. We don’t need or want limits or controls on e-scooters. They don’t work. We need e-scooters banned, pure and simple. People with disabilities need and deserve nothing less.

We need the Ottawa Accessibility Advisory Committee to issue a very public recommendation to this effect. If it does not happen in public, it does not have the political punch that people with disabilities need. Given the obvious influence of the e-scooter corporate lobbyists, we need all the help we can get in this uphill battle. With a municipal election happening next fall, it is important for all municipal politicians and candidates to pledge to unequivocally support pedestrian safety.

The Accessibility Advisory Committee of Toronto, London and Mississauga each issued strong recommendations that e-scooters should not be allowed in public places including both roads and sidewalks, and including both rental e-scooters and privately-owned e-scooters. People with disabilities in Ottawa deserve and need the same from the Ottawa Accessibility Advisory Committee, which is supposed to be a strong voice for their safety and accessibility.

What kinds of dangers can e-scooters pose to pedestrians? We invite you to thumb through a pile of 25 deeply disturbing news articles that we have amassed from communities around the world that have allowed e-scooters. They report on a litany of injuries and even deaths. Our concern is with e-scooters, whether they are rented or privately owned.

We anticipate that Ottawa City staff will make some sort of a presentation to the Ottawa Accessibility Advisory Committee at this meeting. We are eager to hear what they say. AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky recently spoke to the Ottawa City staff member assigned to this project. They had not even read the excellent reports on disability problems with e-scooters that the Toronto City staff had produced and made public months ago. David Lepofsky thereafter sent those reports to Ottawa City staff. We hope Toronto’s exhaustive research will be fully reflected in the Ottawa City staff report.

If you sign up for this Ottawa Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting, you certainly don’t need to plan to speak for long. The Ottawa Accessibility Advisory Committee will likely only allow you five minutes to speak.

On Thursday, December 9, 2021, CBC Radio Ottawa’s afternoon program “All In A Day” included an interview on disability issues. It included AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, Wayne Antle who heads Ottawa’s chapter of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, and a volunteer from Stopgap Ottawa. Among other things, they discussed the serious dangers that e-scooters have created for people with disabilities in Ottawa.

To learn more about our battle to keep the public safe in Ontario from e-scooters, check out the AODA Alliance website’s e-scooter page.

               MORE DETAILS

NOTICE OF A SPECIAL ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING

Please be advised that in accordance with Subsection 10 (1) of the Advisory Committee Procedure By-law, the Chair of the Accessibility Advisory Committee has called a Special Meeting for Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of considering the following item:

E-Scooters Pilot Project Update

This Meeting will be held through electronic participation in accordance with Section 238 of the Municipal Act, 2001 as amended by Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020. The chosen technology for this particular meeting is Zoom.

This email constitutes notice of this special meeting to all Members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee in accordance with Subsection 10 (2) (b) of the Procedure By-law.