Durham Region seeks feedback on proposed e-scooter by-law

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Published December 13, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Electric kick scooters may soon be able to ferry residents down Durham’s main arteries as the Region eyes new legislation to regulate their use.

The Provincial government kicked off the process to allow the scooters on Ontario roads in November 2019 when they announced the 5-year E-Scooter pilot project, which began in January 2020.

The project is designed to “help businesses expand and allow consumers and commuters more choice,” per a provincial news release.

Vijay Thanigasalam, Parliamentary Secretary to Ontario’s Transport Minister, said the pilot will give people a “new, clean and green way to get from point A to point B in their communities.”

His boss, Minister of Transport Caroline Mulroney,  agreed. “Ontario’s e-scooter pilot will help businesses expand, enrich local economies and offer people more options to get around safely.”

The pilot project allowed municipalities to opt-in or opt-out. Toronto, for example. decided not to go head with the program, citing safety concerns for elderly and disabled Torontonians. Mississauga is also in the process of figuring out how they’ll implement the legislation.

While it includes some non-negotiable elements, such as a minimum age of 16, a 25 km/h speed cap and mandatory helmets among other requirements, the pilot mostly put the responsibility of figuring out how the scooters will be used on the backs of local municipalities.

This is, per the province, to allow them to customize the rollout to fit their needs, though they did outline a list of best practices to advise municipalities, such as parking and operation parameters. (Parking in particular was a concern for Montreal, which banned the scooters last year after many users failed to safely park them.)

The proposed Durham Region by-law, would limit scooter use to roads with a 50 km/h or lower speed limit and off of the region’s sidewalks. Anywhere cycling, rollerblading or skating is prohibited would also prohibit scooter use.

Riders will not be able to carry passengers, or a basket on the scooter. They’ll all need to be well lit and reflective and provide a horn. As well, people riding around pedestrians cannot travel at a speed that is “markedly greater” than the speed of the pedestrians.

According to the draft by-law any body who breaks the outlined restriction can be fined under the Provincial Offences Act.

Durham residents can provide feedback on the by-law until February 11.

 

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