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Guest Column in Ottawa Area Newspaper Presses Ottawa City Council Not to Use Vulnerable People with Disabilities, Seniors, and Others as Unwilling Guinea Pigs in a Third Pilot Project with Electric Scooters that Are Proven to Be Dangerous

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities Web:
Twitter: @aodaalliance

March 16, 2022


On March 23, 2022, Ottawa City Council will decide whether it will use vulnerable people with disabilities, seniors, and others as unwilling guinea pigs in a third pilot project with the silent menace of electric scooters. Both Ottawa City staff and the Ottawa Transportation Committee support the dangerous idea of uninsured, unlicensed, untrained joy-riders, silently racing at 20 KPH on e-scooters for which there are no national safety standards.

We are calling on Ottawa City Council to put an end to this. Below is a guest column by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky on March 11, 2022 in the Inside Ottawa Valley publication, operated by the Toronto Star. It explains why e-scooters endanger safety and accessibility for people with disabilities, seniors, and others. Send it to as many people as you can.

If you live in Ottawa or might ever wish to visit Ottawa, we urge you to contact Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and the members of Ottawa City Council. Tell them to say no to e-scooters. Below we set out their names, email addresses and Twitter handles.

For more background, check out
The AODA Alliance’s March 1, 2022 brief to the Ottawa Transportation Committee.
The AODA Alliance’s March 7, 2022 letter to Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and the members of Ottawa City Council, and The AODA Alliance website’s e-scooters page.


Inside Ottawa Valley March 11, 2022

Originally posted at OPINION
Third pilot with electric scooters should not go ahead in Ottawa
Vehicles endanger people with disabilities, seniors and children, writes David Lepofsky David Lepofsky

Ottawa city council must not unleash a third pilot project with dangerous electric scooters.

The 2020 and 2021 Ottawa pilots produced overwhelming proof that e-scooters endangered people with disabilities, seniors, children and others. Other communities around Ottawa, watch out. The e-scooter corporate lobbyists may be coming to you next!

A silent menace, e-scooters, appearing out of nowhere, were ridden on sidewalks in Ottawa and other cities that ban them from sidewalks.

Uninsured, unlicensed, untrained, unhelmeted joyriders, racing at 20 kilometres per hour, endanger the safety of innocent pedestrians, especially those of us who can’t see them coming or quickly dodge them. Left strewn on sidewalks, e-scooters are tripping hazards for us blind people, and an accessibility nightmare for wheelchair users.

Ottawa city staff, cheerleading for e-scooters and showing insufficient concern for disability barriers, parrot corporate lobbyists’ inflated sales pitch.

Ottawa’s city-appointed accessibility advisory committee strongly recommended that Ottawa not again allow e-scooters. Disability organizations and every speaker with disabilities presenting at council’s committees opposed e-scooters, fearing injuries. Montreal rejected e-scooters after a pilot. Despite a corporate lobbyists’ feeding frenzy, Toronto city council unanimously said no to e-scooters.

With Ottawa’s race to unleash them again, e-scooter corporate lobbyists will laugh all the way to the bank, while people with disabilities and others sob all the way to hospital. Despite these dangers, Ottawa’s transportation committee endorsed a third e-scooter pilot. E-scooter corporate lobbyists promise spiffy new technology on their e-scooters, to magically prevent these safety dangers. Don’t trust their bloated sales pitch!

It’s wrong to give city staff a blank check to green light a pilot if they like these unproven new gadgets. It’s wrong for Ottawa’s city staff and transportation committee to approve using Ottawa residents, including people with disabilities, seniors and others, as unwilling guinea pigs to test out corporate lobbyists’ sales pitch.

City council should just say no to e-scooters. It should tell city staff not to come back with a proposal until this promised technology has been independently proven to eliminate dangers to people with disabilities and others.

Want an example of city staff’s absurd solutions that marginalize our safety? They recommend that e-scooters have Braille contact information for reporting complaints. We blind people can’t read Braille on an e-scooter racing by on a sidewalk. If I trip over an e-scooter, abandoned on the sidewalk, I’m not about to grope around to see if there’s Braille on it. Ottawa staff advanced this recommendation even after we described its obvious absurdity.

Ottawa has too many barriers impeding people with disabilities. It shouldn’t knowingly create more, giving e-scooter corporate lobbyists an undeserved third kick at the can. Ottawa should stand up to these corporate lobbyists, and stand up for people with disabilities.

David Lepofsky is chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance and visiting professor, Osgoode Hall Law School.

Contact Information for Ottawa’s Mayor and Members of Ottawa City Council

Jim Watson

Matthew Luloff

Laura Dudas

Jan Harder

Cathy Curry

Eli El-Chantiry

Glen Gower

Theresa Kavanagh

Rick Chiarelli

Keith Egli

Diane Deans

Tim Tierney

Mathieu Fleury

Rawlson King

Catherine McKenney

Jeff Leiper

Riley Brockington

Shawn Menard

Jean Cloutier

Catherine Kitts

George Darouze

Scott Moffatt

Carol Anne Meehan

Allan Hubley