Toronto City Council votes unanimously to support safety and accessibility by opting out of e-scooter pilot

Toronto City Council has unanimously voted to reinforce the City’s commitment to safety and accessibility for people, especially seniors and those living with disabilities, in Toronto by voting not to opt-in to the provincial e-scooter pilot.

Today’s decision by Council, which supports Toronto’s Vision Zero Road Safety plan and a recommendation from City staff, applies to both shared and privately-owned e-scooters and means that e-scooters will remain prohibited on public streets, bike lanes, sidewalks, pathways, trails and other public spaces.

The City staff report was based on extensive research and feedback from the accessibility community, industry professionals, local residents and businesses, as well as discussions with peer cities around the world. Council agreed with the report's conclusion that significant accessibility barriers remain, and that safety, enforcement, insurance and liability issues are unresolved for both privately owned and rental e-scooters.

The City consulted closely with members of the local accessibility community and the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee to inform the report and understand the potential impacts and implications that allowing e-scooters to operate in public spaces could have had for people living with disabilities. City staff also found that e-scooters provide inadequate consumer safety standards and that there is a lack of protections for pedestrians.

City staff conducted a review of injury studies related to e-scooters in other jurisdictions. In reviewing hospital studies from cities such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Austin, Paris and Tel Aviv, as well as cities in Australia and New Zealand, it was determined, in consultation with Toronto Public Health, that passing on the e-scooter pilot would help prevent potentially serious injuries on Toronto streets and sidewalks during a time when hospitals and City resources are already both burdened and strained in response to COVID-19.

This decision is consistent with other major North American and global cities that have restricted or prohibited e-scooters on public streets. For example, Chicago, Copenhagen, and New York City (Manhattan) have restricted use of shared e-scooters in their downtowns. While Amsterdam, Boston, Edinburgh, Honolulu, Philadelphia, and Sydney all prohibit the use of e-scooters.

Offering safe, sustainable and modern transportation options to Toronto residents and visitors remains an important priority for the City. The City is committed to supporting other forms of micromobility, such as Bike Share Toronto - which has quickly and safely expanded its fleet to integrate with public transit and introduce the addition of pedal-assisted e-bikes. The City is also working with stakeholders to support the expanded use of cargo e-bikes and their potential, as well as exploring other future or emerging options that do not negatively impact the safety and accessibility of people in Toronto.

City Council also voted to request that the Ontario Government make helmets mandatory for riders of e-scooters.

The full report called E-Scooters - Accessibility and Insurance Issues can be found at http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2021.IE21.7

A detailed staff report from June 2020 called E-scooters – A Vision Zero Road Safety can be viewed at https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-148266.pdf

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