E-scooter rentals on hold in Hamilton after councillors hear concerns

Travis Lowe / Global News

City councillors have set aside a staff proposal that would allow for e-scooter rentals in Hamilton.

The proposal has been deferred for further study, including public consultation, after being met with “emphatic” opposition from the city’s advisory committee for persons with disabilities.

“To some they may appear a fun and easy way of getting around the city, or as an alternative to cars and transit,” the advisory committee’s James Kemp told members of Hamilton’s public works committee on Monday.

“To the disabled, it is a terrifying prospect: deadly, silent vehicles rocketing down our streets or landmines waiting to trip us up.”

Read more: E-scooters approved for use in Hamilton, with restrictions

Kemp also said shortcomings within Hamilton’s system of bike lanes would make it impossible to keep the electric kick scooters off sidewalks, particularly downtown.

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“Hamilton doesn’t have an extensive network of bike lanes and bike paths,” said Kemp. “There are areas of Hamilton where it is nearly impossible to operate on the road only.”

Larissa Proctor, representing the CNIB, also addressed councillors and outlined “alarming” feedback connected to Ottawa’s e-scooter pilot program.

Proctor said those include sidewalk riding, despite it not being allowed, and the discarding of devices along sidewalks and blocking of pedestrian activation signals.

Read more: Ottawa committee paves path for e-scooter pilot’s return in 2021

The staff proposal, deferred by public works committee members on Monday, suggests allowing three rental companies to bid to operate up to 500 e-scooters each in Hamilton through a request for proposals.

Personal e-scooters are already approved for use on city streets and bike lanes, but are not allowed on sidewalks or multi-use trails.

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