Oshawa councillor wants an end to e-scooter program after woman hit by truck and killed

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Published May 23, 2023 at 1:36 pm

An Oshawa Councillor is calling for an immediate ban on a e-scooter pilot project after a woman was struck by a truck and killed last week while riding one of the vehicles.

Kaitlyn Pollack, 20, was riding an e-scooter near Harmony and Taunton roads on May 17 when she was hit by a truck pulling out of a gas station. First responders rushed her to hospital where she died from extensive injuries.

A GoFundMe has been set up in her name by a Port Perry trucking company that employs her father and has already surpassed its goal.

Ward 1 Councillor Rosemary McConkey, who called the accident “horrific” considering how many “vulnerable and inexperienced e-scooter users” are using the five-year program, is calling on Council to end the pilot project “without delay.”

“Too much risk,” she said, “with too little preparation.”

Her fellow councillors, however, want to wait for the police report before taking any action, and a two-thirds majority would be required to cancel the program. That’s a decision that doesn’t make sense to McConkey.

“I don’t see how the police report affects a Council decision to take a second look at its pilot program. Is Council to wait for the police to say the City should or should not reconsider the e-scooter program?”

If that is the wish of Council, McConkey wants the City to at least adopt some additional safeguards to try to prevent any future tragedies:

  • mandate helmets for all e-scooter users
  • mandate no-go zones and mark them for the public to see
  • mandate a user license acknowledging acceptance and understanding of the e- scooter program rules in writing at city hall before operating
  • mandate designated parking zones
  • have the vendors liable for non-compliance of the above, and
  • publish weekly on the city’s website all e-scooter complaints data made to the city & to the vendors

Oshawa Ward 1 Councillor Rosemary McConkey

McConkey said she has heard from councillors and from the public that the accident was no different than a fatal collision involving a bicycle. “I don’t accept that view. A young Oshawa woman, driving a shared e-scooter, was killed in our city Wednesday May 17, 2023. The City sanctioned the shared e-scooter pilot project.”

“Although the accident could have happened in another way, like any accident … the shared e-scooter program was approved as a pilot project – like an experiment,” she said, adding the program was approved by the region and the province as well. “In my opinion now all three levels of government have a shared responsibility to investigate if there has been adequate due diligence to ensure public safety, given how the vulnerability of participants in the program has been made horribly clear.”

“This is not a question of whether either driver made errors or had equipment malfunction and I find it disgraceful that that keeps cropping up,” she added. “Pointing fingers does not mitigate the onus on the City to ensure its streets, boulevards, lines of sight, speed limits and shared space for the new micro-mobility devices have been set so they adhere to the https://visionzeronetwork.org/about/what-is-vision-zero/… policy to achieve zero traffic deaths and serious injuries.”

McConkey wants residents who have concerns about the program to email [email protected] and [email protected]. “Right now, it seems that unless the public speaks more forcefully the program will continue unchanged.”

“Public pressure may be the only way to make it clear the public expects a review.”

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