Cycle Toronto submission on electric kick scooters

Position submitted to Ministry of Transportation as part of consultation process

Cycle Toronto has submitted to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) a statement on electric assist-style kick scooters. We support all kinds of active mobility and e-mobility devices that allow people to move about safely, including electric assist kick scooters.

As our streets gets busier and denser, they must evolve to accommodate many types of mobilities. Electric bikes and scooters are increasing in popularity and are a great option for people to get around. We see an important opportunity to create safer streets for all by recognizing that bike lanes can accomodate people using multiple mobilities.

We are supportive of a kick-style e-scooter pilot on Toronto and Ontario roads and multi-use trails. Due to the differences in physical environment, existing regulations, and goals within municipalities, we also want to ensure that municipalities have power over shared scooter fleets through the tendering and contracting process. In an urban context, we agree that scooters make sense to be in places where bicycles can operate, but given the large volume of cyclists already using our infrastructure in Toronto, the following things need to be implemented to ensure safety for all road users:

As part of our submission to the MTO, we provided feedback in the following areas:

  • Where scooters are allowed: wherever bicycles are allowed; however, municipalities should have the ability to regulate where they are allowed (e.g., in cycle tracks)
  • Speed: a maximum speed of 24 km/hr must be regulated in cycle tracks, bike lanes, and multi-use trails in order to be safe mixing with bicycles
  • Parking: Municipalities must be able to restrict where scooters can be parked to safeguard the public right of way. Parking options can include on-street corrals and docking points
  • Number of shared fleet operators: Municipalities must be able to limit the number of operators to ensure they can manage the additional communication, compliance and enforcement associated with the pilot
  • Accountability: User accountability reporting should be mandated for operators
  • Price: Operators should not be restricted from setting their own price points, but should be restricted from setting different price points for different areas to ensure equity across all areas of a municipality
  • Lights / safety features: If lights, a bell, or other safety accessories are required, the manufacturer should be required to have them built into their product
  • Education: An educational component should be included in how and where kick-style e-scooters can be used no later than at the time of the launch
  • Best Practice Review: The MTO should review the recently released National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) shared mobility guidelines with case studies from cities who have implemented scooter pilots across North America, and consider the best practices within prior to approval of a pilot
  • Reporting: Reporting should be undertaken annually and made available publicly
  • Pilot duration: We recommend reducing the pilot period to 1 year from the date of provincial approval. A five year pilot period is excessive to measure results, and adjustments may need to be made sooner than that in the event of unforeseen circumstances and evolving technology.

Cycle Toronto supports all kinds of active mobility and e-mobility devices that allow people to move themselves and their goods safely. Given the similar speeds at which people using kick-style e-scooters, skateboards, e-wheelchairs, rollerblades, pedal assist e-bikes and cargo bikes travel, it makes sense to have everyone sharing the lane. Legally recognizing how many people already use our streets will lead to healthier, safer, and better designed communities for everyone.

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Photo by Claudio Schwarz

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