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A big NO to e-scooter pilot in Toronto

SCIO is representing our community at a Toronto City Council meeting on July 9 to present a deputation on the city’s plan to pilot an e-scooter program. Director of Public Policy Peter Athanasopoulos will be in attendance at the virtual meeting to present a brief, prepared by the AODA Alliance, to the city’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee. The meeting will be live-streamed at this link: http://www.youtube.com/torontocitycouncillive

The brief documents that the City of Toronto’s June 24, 2020 E-Scooters Staff Report proves that e-scooters would endanger public safety, lead to injuries and even deaths, create barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities, and force the taxpayer to shoulder new financial burdens. That Staff Report also shows that the supposed social benefits of e-scooters reducing road traffic and pollution are in effect unproven.

Excerpt from the brief re Pilot Project
The City of Toronto should not conduct a “pilot project” with e‐scooters to find out how they will work out. The Staff Report shows from the experience with e‐scooters elsewhere that the problems that e‐scooters present have already been borne out in practice. Moreover, to run a “pilot project” on Torontonians is to conduct a human experiment on them, without their consent, knowing that e‐scooters present dangers to public safety and accessibility for people with disabilities. It is wrong to experiment on non‐consenting human beings, and especially those who are vulnerable.

Excerpt re COVID and Timing
It is unfair for the City of Toronto and its Infrastructure Committee to be bringing this issue forward in the middle of the COVID‐19 crisis. City Council and Committee meetings are not open to the public to physically attend. Members of the public are struggling to cope with the multiple pressures that they face, compounding over the past 16 weeks. At the start of July, many are trying to just get something of a holiday, if possible. For its part, the AODA Alliance is overloaded with issues on which to advocate for people with disabilities during the COVID‐19 crisis. For the City of Toronto to force us to divert our volunteer advocacy efforts to this e-scooter issue now is just one more unfair hardship.

Excerpt re Provincial Regulations
Even if the City Council were to consider moving forward at all with e‐scooters, the Staff Report’s analysis shows that any municipal consideration of this should be deferred until key missing action by the Ontario Government has been taken. The Staff Report shows the need for stronger provincial regulations on e‐scooters safety to be enacted as an important precursor to introducing e‐scooters.

Excerpt re Traffic Reduction
The corporate lobbyists for e‐scooter rental companies claim that if e‐scooters are allowed, this will reduce road traffic. The Staff Report shows that e‐scooters do not bring the major benefits that the corporate lobbyists claim….
The main reason for allowing e‐scooters (beyond the profits of e‐scooter rental companies) would be that they are fun to ride. The AODA Alliance proposes that this is hardly a reason to incur the dangers to safety, to accessibility for people with disabilities and the greater financial burdens on the taxpayer.

We will provide updates on this topic as they develop.

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