Ontario Has Officially Legalized Electric Scooters But There Are Already Concerns
Up until now, e-scooters were illegal except for on private property.
Ontarians officially have a new method of transportation available to them this 2020. As of New Year's Day, e-scooters have been added to the roads as part of a five-year pilot project across the province. Ontario's electric scooters will be able to ride on any road that bikes can, and their maximum speed will be 24 km/h.
However, there are already safety concerns from certain advocates for the disabled, who say that e-scooters could be dangerous to those living with disabilities such as blindness.
The main concern is that those who operate the electric scooters may not be well enough equipped with the rules of the road.
Drivers of the e-scooters can be as young as 16 years of age.
The e-scooters are also silent, which may pose a threat to those who cannot see or hear someone on an e-scooter riding toward them.
“I fear an inattentive, unlicensed, uninsured person, as young as 16, with no training, experience or knowledge of the rules of the road, silently rocketing towards me at 24 kilometres per hour on an e-scooter,” David Lepofsky, chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, told Global News.
Before electric scooters were legalized in 2020, they were illegal to use anywhere but on private property, The Toronto Sun reports.
It will be up to municipalities to enforce by-laws for safety in their communities regarding e-scooters.
The province-wide rules so far are that drivers must be wearing a helmet, and the e-scooters cannot weigh more than 45 kilos, about 99 pounds.
Lepofsky feels that this isn't enough. He says that e-scooter companies should be held liable for any injuries the vehicles may cause.
He also thinks that drivers of e-scooters should have to have a license and insurance.
Those who support the e-scooters, such as the Ministry of Transportation, say that this will reduce congestion on the roads as well as provide a green way to get from point A to point B.
"Ontario's e-scooter pilot will help businesses expand, enrich local economies and offer people more options to get around safely," said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation.
Keep a lookout for e-scooter stations in your city.