E-scooter pilot program

Infrastructure and Environment Committee
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

May 31, 2023

Dear Members of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee:

ABC Residents Association (“ABCRA”) is an incorporated volunteer body that has been in existence since 1957. ABCRA represents the interests of residents who live in the area between Yonge Street and Avenue Road and Bloor Street to the CPR tracks.

We are writing to encourage the committee to reject Councillor Ainslie’s request to re-open the debate to report back on a framework for an E-Scooter Pilot Project.

This subject was thoroughly studied by city staff over three years, with 5 staff reports being brought to City Council for discussion in 2019, 2020 and 2021. To ensure the complete facts before voting on this request to re-open the matter we urge all of you, but especially those new to City Council who may be less familiar with the details, to discuss with City staff their 2021 staff report on E-scooters – Accessibility and Insurance Issues. In it staff concluded based on extensive research, focus groups and investigation, that accessibility barriers, safety concerns and insurance issues remain unresolved. The solutions proposed by e-scooter industry participants are not satisfactory in addressing the concerns of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee, disability groups, residents, and city staff and their assertions of environmental benefits. Accordingly, City staff recommend that Toronto not opt-in to the e-scooter pilot

The staff’s recommendation not to participate in the pilot was passed by City Council unanimously in 2021. Since this decision there have been no meaningful solutions brought forward to address those concerns.

The only major change is that large municipalities, who had originally championed e-scooters have now begun to ban them. Most recently, in Paris one of the first Cities to permit e-scooters held a referendum where 90% of voters decided to completely ban them from City Streets after three people died and 459 were injured in e-scooter accidents in Paris.

Even if we were to dismiss the well documented safety risks, proponents of e-scooters often cite their potential for off-setting car trips. However a study from 2021 found that most riders (72%) said they shifted from walking and public transportation, not cars.

It also appears that the eco-benefits have been overblown. According to a study published by North Carolina State University electric scooters emit about 202g of CO2 per km and per passenger over their entire life cycle. It’s about as much as a conventional car and 3.5 times more than an electric car.

ABCRA is of the opinion that current regulations that prohibit the use of e-scooters in public spaces make sense as they will prevent an increase in street and sidewalk-related injuries and fatalities, and their associated costs. This aligns with the City’s Vision Zero Road Safety goals, including consideration of impacts on pedestrians and persons living with disabilities.

In closing, we want to echo the words of Medical Officer of Health, Eileen de Villa in her 2021 letter to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee.

“To prevent an increase in street and side-walk related injuries and fatalities, the current regulations prohibiting the use of e-scooters in public spaces need to be maintained.”

The ABC Residents Association,
Ian Carmichael and John Caliendo,

CC. Councillor Dianne Saxe

Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

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