From Cars to Micromobility
In the last two decades, a variety of new and low-impact devices have begun to transform Toronto’s roads. E-scooters, one-wheels and electric bicycles continue to replace car trips with carbon-friendlier electric devices. These new forms of transportation benefit the city with lower infrastructure repair costs, less car traffic, and access to low-cost transportation for all types of citizens.
Many users have reduced car trips in favour of e-scooter commutes and shopping trips. Others have never owned cars but want to travel in a safe, fun, environmentally friendly way. According to multiple reports, adoption of Micromobility devices, especially in urban areas, will continue to sharply rise over the next decade.
The undersigned companies are all retailers of these green e-scooters. Our customers represent a wide swath of Toronto economically, culturally, and geographically. They also represent a future of more equitable private transportation.
We urge the city to re-consider their stance on these devices. Just like bicycles, increased e-scooter usage helps remove cars from congested streets, increases user outdoor physical activity, and improves the longevity of city roads.
Our management teams are baffled at the City Staff report to continue disallowing e-scooters on public road and pathways. Instead of hindering private e-scooter owners from legally using roads, multi-use paths and cycle tracks – the City of Toronto should be encouraging the use of these devices. Especially when private ownership of e-scooters offers a host of benefits to the city:
- Low-cost, equitable and affordable transportation solution
- Reducing wear and tear on streets – same impact as bicycles
- Replacing food delivery cars with low-impact e-scooters
- Removing emissions that would have been emitted by additional car trips
- Improving the uptake rate of Toronto’s bicycle pathways and cycle tracks
- Allowing users to easily explore the city, BIA’s and other landmark destinations
- Reducing the financial barrier to private, sustainable transportation (have you seen the price of a Tesla?)
- Increased time outdoors and overall happiness
- Reducing the potential for COVID-19 transmission compared to public transit or ride-sharing
Cost is a huge consideration from many of our clients. Many people are finding that the increasing costs of living in Toronto can be offset by purchasing an e-scooter instead of a car. The City must do everything in its power to ensure that all citizens have access to affordable transportation, including newer devices like e-scooters.
We agree with the conclusion from City Staff and the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee that e-scooters SHOULD NOT be used on sidewalks.
Our sales and purchase package literature is clear: e-scooter users should stay to the right side of roadways and, where safe to do so, in multi-use pathways and cycle tracks. Many e-scooter brands already feature built in bells along with front, rear and side lighting.
Purchasers of our scooters are also encouraged to understand local municipality laws, the benefits of safe riding, and to add their e-scooter to either their tenant or homeowner insurance. This is advice and service they will not receive from e-tailers like Amazon or Best Buy.
Our group is recommending the following:
- The City adopt a legal private-use model to facilitate existing and future e-scooter users
- The city continue to explore a scooter-sharing program as another equitable solution
- Identify key safety features (helmets, lights, horn) that must be present on e-scooters
- Disallow users from riding on sidewalks and improve enforcement
- Work with e-scooter retailers to generate aggregate rider data
- Treat e-scooters under the same MTO classification as bicycles or electric-bikes
The undersigned companies are dedicated to seeing the safe and continued implementation of City bylaws that reflect the changing nature of private urban transportation. In addition to working with the city, we also look forward to opening dialogue with the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee to find amenable solutions for all parties.
Chief Experience Officer
Segway of Ontario