ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
What Is the Doug Ford Government Planning for Its Widely-Criticized Proposal to Allow Unlicensed, Uninsured Electric Scooters in Ontario? Over 2 Million Ontarians with Disabilities and Many Others Await A Government Announcement, With Serious Concerns and Unanswered Questions
November 1, 2019 Toronto: There has been striking radio silence from the Ford Government since it terminated its rushed public consultation in early September on its widely-criticized and controversial proposal to run a 5-year pilot project that would allow uninsured and unlicensed electric scooters (e-scooters) on Ontario roads and bike paths. In the meantime, there is no doubt that corporate lobbyists are pressing the Ontario Government and municipal councilors to unleash e-scooters on Ontario no matter the threat they pose to public safety and to accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities. In an August 30, 2019 City-TV news story, the Government admitted that in designing its proposed 5-year e-scooter pilot, it was compromising between road safety on the one hand, and business and consumer interests on the other. The AODA Alliance emphasizes that the Government should never compromise on public safety, especially in order to help some businesses make more money.
“In August, the AODA Alliance revealed that the Ford Government was holding a mere 2-day public consultation just before Labour Day, making it hard for grassroots opposition to e-scooters to organize,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the non-partisan AODA Alliance which has been vocal in raising serious concerns about e-scooters. “After the Ford Government was shamed into extending that consultation for 16 more days, media coverage spotlighted that e-scooters pose a serious risk to public safety and create accessibility barriers for people with disabilities.”
Ample reports from other places where e-scooters are allowed show that they lead to injuries to their riders and to innocent pedestrians. That will make lineups and delays even longer in the hallways of hospital emergency rooms. As well, when left lying on sidewalks, they create accessibility hazards for people with disabilities. The corporations that rent them to the public elsewhere, and are evidently lobbying provincial and municipal officials to allow them here, use sidewalks as their free parking, having riders dump them wherever they wish when they are finished with them. We set out below a recent media report of a person with a disability suing in Minnesota under the Americans with Disabilities Act over the barriers e-scooters pose.
The Ford Government has not yet announced what it plans to do, or when it will let the public know. The Government has not publicly responded to the serious concerns with e-scooters amply documented in the AODA Alliance’s September 12, 2019 brief.
We encourage the media to ask the Ford Government these important Questions, in the event that the Government decides to allow e-scooters in Ontario despite their proven dangers and despite so much public opposition to them here:
- Will owners and drivers of an e-scooter each be required to carry insurance?
- Will each e-scooter be required to have a licence and license plate, to enable an injured victim to identify the e-scooter that hit them as it races away?
- Will each scooter rider be required to have a license and sufficient training on the e-scooter’s use?
- Will the owner and named renter of an e-scooter, as well as its driver, be mandatorily liable for any injury caused by the e-scooter’s use?
- Will an e-scooter be required to meet proper safety standards, and to be certified by the Canadian Standards Association as safe for use, before it can be sold, rented or used in Ontario?
- Will the Government ban rentals of e-scooters, given the record of serious problems associated with them elsewhere?
- Will there be a strict ban on leaving an e-scooter on a sidewalk or other public place, with a right for anyone to immediately confiscate and dispose of any e-scooter that is left there?
- If, despite serious objections, the Ford Government allows e-scooter rentals, will a rental company be mandatorily liable for any injury caused by their use?
- If a person is injured by an e-scooter, will the Government require any rental company to turn over to police any tracking information on the location of e-scooters used in the affected area, the identity of persons renting the e-scooter, and the GPS data on the route that the e-scooter travelled at the relevant times?
- What additional laws and measures will the Ontario Government implement to protect the public from people driving e-scooters while drunk or stoned? Will the Ontario Government ban anyone from parking or leaving an e-scooter within 750 meters of a bar or other establishment where alcohol is sold or served, to help reduce a risk of impaired driving of e-scooters?
- What responsibility and liability will the Ontario Government now agree to assume for injuries and deaths that we know e-scooters will cause, as they have in other places where they have been allowed?
- What additional measures will the Ontario Government implement to protect the public against e-scooters being driven on sidewalks, since bike-riders regularly do this with impunity even though it is forbidden?
- Will the Ontario Government set and enforce strong mandatory provincial rules that will protect public safety and disability accessibility across Ontario, or will Ontario leave this to each municipality, thereby imposing on people with disabilities and others the extraordinary hardship of having to advocate to every Ontario municipality, one at a time, in order to protect ourselves from the dangers posed by e-scooters?
- Will all e-scooter drivers be required to wear a helmet, instead of merely those under 18 as the Ford Government initially proposed? Or will the Ontario taxpayer have to finance the medical costs of the injuries that unhelmetted e-scooter drivers will cause themselves?
- Why did the Ontario Government never arrange a joint consultation where it could hear at the same time and the same table from both community groups like the AODA Alliance who have raised serious concerns about e-scooters, and the corporate lobbyists who are pressing for e-scooters to be unleashed on Ontarians?
- What is the purpose for the Government’s contemplated pilot project with e-scooters? Why can’t the Government learn what it wants to know by studying what has happened in other places where they are allowed, rather than experimenting on innocent Ontarians and subjecting them to the risk of personal injuries?
When the Ford Government publicly announces its plans for e-scooters, we will be asking the Government the preceding questions, and will be available for comment.
There have now been 276 days since the Ford Government received the final report of the Independent Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act’s implementation prepared by former Lieutenant Governor David Onley. Doug Ford’s Government has still not announced a plan to implement the Onley report. Instead, it has proposed a troubling e-scooter pilot project which threatens to create even more new accessibility barriers against Ontarians with disabilities.
Contact: David Lepofsky, [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance
For background on the AODA Alliance’s efforts to address the risks and threats posed by e-scooters, visit https://www.aodaalliance.org/category/whats-new/
For up-to-the-minute news on the AODA Alliance’s non-partisan campaign for accessibility, follow @aodaalliance on Twitter.
KDLT News Today October 18, 2019
Originally posted at https://www.kdlt.com/2019/10/18/advocate-for-disabled-sues-minneapolis-over-electric-scooters/
Advocate for Disabled Sues Minneapolis Over Electric Scooters
October 18, 2019 by Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – An advocate for people with disabilities is taking the city of Minneapolis and two electric scooter companies to court.
Noah McCourt says the electric scooters have made city sidewalks inaccessible. McCourt, who has autism and a coordination disorder, says he was injured while tripping over a scooter at a light rain station.
Minnesota Public Radio News reports the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday says the scooters are also an impediment to people who use wheelchairs. McCourt claims the city and scooter companies are violating the American with Disabilities Act.
The city declined comment on the lawsuit. One of the other defendants, Lime, says it’s working to educate users about proper riding and parking etiquette. The other defendant, Bird, ended operations in Minneapolis in late 2018.
Minnesota law generally prohibits riding electric scooters on sidewalks.