Scooters And One Wheels

The upcoming potholes for London’s deliberate e-scooter rental program

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Those electric scooters that you can rent on the streets of big cities across the continent? Don’t count on them in London.

Author of the article:

Megan Stacey

Publication date:

July 30, 20219 hours agoRead for 3 minutes 6 comments A woman rides an e-scooter past a pandemic-themed mural on Rideau Street in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (ERROL MCGIHON, Postmedia Network)

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Those electric scooters that you can rent on the streets of big cities across the continent? Don’t count on them in London.

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Not even in the first place could the idea of ​​releasing them in London be sidelined by the two-wheeled headaches they cause elsewhere, including Windsor and Ottawa, where scooters are lost, lying around and drivers are warned not to disregard the rules.

London City Hall asked the public about their thoughts on test driving 250 e-scooters earlier this year, but some of the feedback – along with evidence outside of the city – suggests they may need a second look.

“There are so many negatives, so few positives, that we hope London doesn’t have to touch the stove to see it is hot,” said Jay Menard, chairman of the City Hall Accessibility Advisory Committee, of the launch of E -Scooting in the heart of the city.

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Menard’s committee has come out strongly against the idea and has urged the council not to open the gates to e-scooters after poor performance elsewhere and worries about people with disabilities.

“If you have visual impairment when you are in a wheelchair, we are creating new barriers to access in an inner city that is already facing challenges,” he said. “It’s not just people with disabilities. If you are a jogger, if you are a young family pushing a stroller down the street, all of a sudden you have this item that you may not notice and it could trip you and fall or prevent you from getting on it the sidewalk.”

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The electric scooters are almost silent, which is another problem for those who cannot see or hear, he said.

City Hall will continue to take notes from Londoners – including advisory committees and businesses – through next month and then produce a report so that politicians can launch a pilot for downtown e-scooters in September or October.

“The hardest hit communities outweigh any potential and speculative benefits,” Menard said, suggesting that the environmental benefits have not been seen in many US cities where e-scooter rentals have been available for several years.

London’s system could be combined with a bike rental program or dropped entirely. Bike rental systems have shown they can work, but the e-scooters are much newer, said Jay Stanford, City Hall’s director of climate change and the environment.

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And City Hall is watching other cities to see how their pilot programs fare, he said, including in Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna and Montreal.

“This hands-on experience in Ontario and other parts of Canada is essential to understanding how the important concerns were addressed,” he said.

Windsor launched its e-scooter program in May, but the company in charge was forced to reduce the fleet to 150 scooters (up to 500 approved) and suspend night rentals because so many people were taking the equipment home. Bird Canada officials knocked on doors to retrieve the GPS-equipped scooters.

Approximately 60,000 trips were made in the first two months, despite what the company described as “growing pains”.

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In both Windsor and Ottawa, drivers were warned to avoid the sidewalks. Police launched a lightning strike in the country’s capital this month, saying many of the rebellious scooter drivers were visitors to the city.

Toronto recently decided not to run an e-scooter pilot program.

District 12 Cont. Elizabeth Peloza, chair of the council’s civic operations committee, said she was excited to see the feedback and suggestions from staff reach politicians in a few months.

She hopes some solutions can be found to the urgent concern, including an obligation to return scooters to prevent them from being left behind as a hazard.

“I don’t think they’re free range scooters. I would prefer a docking station system, ”she said.

“I think it might be useful for those short trips you have to take on your lunch break,” or when people come to London to visit or attend a conference, Peloza said.

It could be the difference between jumping in the car for a quick errand or taking a tour of the city, she said.

But Peloza also wants to see the results of other cities.

“Is there a way to do better? I’m interested.”

Menard says his committee wants to see evidence that his objections can be overcome in other cities.

“We’re seeing a lot of unintentional ableism and a lot of old ablei-barriers, and we hope the Council will look at that and say, ‘We don’t want to create another.'”

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