Committee proposes Toronto either regulate e-scooters or ban them

Sep 10 2019, 3:52 pm

As the discussion of e-scooter use in the city continues, a motion adopted by Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee on Monday is set to be brought forward to city council on October 2.

Within the motion, the committee recommends the city “prohibit the use of e-scooters on city sidewalks and pedestrian ways, prohibit any person from parking, storing or leaving an e-scooter on any street, sidewalk, and pedestrian way. ”

It also recommends that the city’s transportation department, in consultation with the city’s health, licensing, and parking authority to report on a program “to enable the oversight and management of e-scooters on city roadways, including the possibility of adding electric scooters to the bike share fleet as a way of managing e-scooters in the public right-of-way, with the goal of ensuring a safe and accessible transportation network for all users during the proposed five-year Provincial pilot project,” in the fourth quarter of this year.

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The Ministry of Transportations is proposing to pass and/or amend regulations under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) to establish a five-year pilot project that would allow e-scooters on Ontario roads. Thus far, it has proposed the following Operator/Rider/Vehicle Requirements:

  • E-scooters Can operate on-road similar to where bicycles can operate; prohibited on controlled-access highways
  • Minimum operating age 16
  • A bicycle helmet would be required for those under 18 years old
  • No passengers allowed
  • Maximum operating speed would be 32 km/h
  • No pedals or seat allowed
  • Must have two wheels and brakes
  • Maximum wheel diameter 17 inches
  • Scooters must have a horn or bell, as well as a front and back light
  • The maximum weight would be set at 45 kg and maximum power output would be 500W

Staff from Transportation Services, Municipal Licensing, and Standards as well as Toronto Public Health are currently reviewing the issue and comments are expected to be submitted to the province by Thursday. September 12.

“While the province’s changes to the HTA will likely enable individuals to use e-scooters, it is critical from a safety and accessibility perspective that the city have the authority to regulate any mass deployment of e-scooters on a commercial basis (e.g., scooter share) through a permit system,” the motion states. “This would include the ability to manage the number of e-scooters, locations where they can operate, maintenance and operations requirements, communications protocols between the city and e-scooter rental/sharing companies and data-sharing requirements.”

While electric scooters are not yet approved for use by the province or the city, a pilot program recently launched by e-scooter company Bird One is meant to provide visitors, tenants, and residents in the privately-owned Distillery District with an opportunity to try one out for themselves in the meantime.

The pilot, which began last week and is scheduled to run until September 15, will allow members of the public to ride the e-scooters from 4 pm to 8 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 8 pm on weekends.