UPDATE: Ontario to allow e-scooters on roadways in five-year trial period

Ontario is starting a five-year pilot project beginning Jan. 1 to allow e-scooters on roads.

The two-wheeled, motorized vehicles are currently illegal to operate anywhere in the province other than on private property.

The pilot will let municipalities decide whether to allow e-scooters on municipal roads, including parks and trails.

E-scooter drivers will have to be at least 16 years old and wear a helmet, and their vehicles will need to have a horn or bell and a front and rear light.

But a city councillor in San Diego, where e-scooters have been a problem in the past, thinks the government should take a cautious approach.

Barbara Bry says the e-scooters are often left everywhere on sidewalks, which then pose a danger to pedestrians and those who are disabled.

"I think the problems outweight the benefits," says Bry, "I see them as an entertainment device."

She also brings up a problem that they see in San Diego, that could potentially happen in a place like Toronto.

"We're a coastal city and people dump them in the ocean, they dump them off cliffs. They are an environmental disaster."

The sales brochure seems to come with a promise that it could help people commute to work, and get them out of their cars. According to Bry, that doesn't hold water.

"I haven't seen any data to support that they have reduced congestion. In fact, some studies that I've read from other cities, suggest they have replaced bicycles and transit."

(with files from Canadian Press)