Disability Advocates to Plead with Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee Today Not to Re-Open Toronto’s Much-Needed Ban on Dangerous Electric Scooters – A Ban that Torontonians with Disabilities Fought For and Won Two Years Ago



June 28, 2023 (Toronto) On Wednesday, June 28, 2023, some time after 9:30 AM, the grassroots AODA Alliance will make a virtual deputation to Toronto City Council’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee, urging the city not to lift the ban on riding electric scooters in public. Disability advocates will tell the Committee that City Council must not unleash a pilot program of dangerous electric scooters. Live streamed on YouTube.

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 can’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.

It accomplishes nothing to only ban e-scooters from sidewalks. The silent menace of e-scooters continues as they are frequently ridden on sidewalks in cities that ban them only from sidewalks. We’d need cops on every block.

E-scooters would cost taxpayers substantially, such as for new law enforcement, OHIP for treating victims injured by e-scooters, and lawsuits by the injured. With its unsolved deficit, Toronto has more pressing budget priorities. E-scooter corporate lobbyists make bogus claims that e-scooters will cost the public nothing.

City Council should not conduct an e-scooter pilot. A pilot to study what? How many innocent people will be injured? We already know they will from cities that allow them. Toronto residents and visitors should not be forced to be unwilling guinea pigs in such a human experiment, especially without the consent of people at risk of being injured.

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 corporate lobbyists want to make money on e-scooter rentals, laughing all the way to the bank as injured pedestrians sob all the way to hospital,” said AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky. “We call on Toronto City Council to again stand up for people with disabilities and to stand up to the e-scooter corporate lobbyists.”

Toronto City Council thoroughly debated this issue twice, in 2020 and again in 2021, after the Infrastructure and Environment Committee did the same. Toronto City staff rendered two comprehensive reports, in 2020 and 2021. Ultimately city staff recommended that there be no Toronto e-scooter pilot, in no small part due to their dangers to vulnerable people with disabilities, seniors and others.

On May 5, 2021, Toronto City Council wisely voted unanimously not to lift the ban on e-scooters. There is no reason why vulnerable people with disabilities and seniors should have to bear the undue hardship of fighting this battle against the e-scooter corporate lobbyists again, just two years after the last ordeal.

Don’t City Council members have more important issues to tackle? How about working on making Toronto more accessible for people with disabilities, rather than unleashing e-scooters, which will make this an even less accessible city? How about at least putting this e-scooter issue off until Toronto’s newly elected mayor has time to get sworn in, take office, and set priorities?

Contact: AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, aodafeedback@gmail.com Twitter: @aodaalliance

For more background, check out:
The AODA Alliance’s June 1, 2023 brief to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee and the AODA Alliance’s June 22, 2023 supplemental brief. The AODA Alliance website’s e-scooter page.