Toronto city council has unanimously voted not to opt-in to the provincial e-scooter pilot due to safety and accessibility concerns.
The decision applies to both shared and privately-owned e-scooters, which means e-scooters will remain banned on public streets, bike lanes, sidewalks, pathways, trails and other public spaces.
Council notes that the decision follows extensive research and feedback from the accessibility community, industry professionals, local residents and businesses. It outlines that safety, enforcement, insurance and liability issues remained unresolved.
“City staff also found that e-scooters provide inadequate consumer safety standards and that there is a lack of protections for pedestrians,” a news release reads.
The city decided that by choosing not to opt-in to the pilot, it could prevent serious injuries on Toronto streets and sidewalks, especially during a time when hospitals are dealing with an influx of COVID-19 cases.
Further, the city outlines that its decision is consistent with other major North American cities that have restricted or prohibited e-scooters on public streets, such as Chicago and New York City.
The decision has been met with disappointment from Bird Canada, which has been lobbying to roll out its e-scooters on Toronto streets for years. The company argues that the city ignored positive data from Ottawa and Calgary, which shows that e-scooters are safe.
“If the City of Toronto is serious about becoming more sustainable, green and livable, then micromobility in all its forms, including e-scooters, must be part of the solution as they have been in more than 200 cities around the world,” the company said in a statement.
Ottawa and Windsor are among the few municipalities in Ontario that have signed onto the provincial pilot. Last year, Montreal banned Lime and Bird e-scooters, mainly because they weren’t being parked correctly.
Image credit: Bird Canada
Source: City of Toronto