It seems that this NDP Government has led us on for months, by suggesting that there was interest and the political will to take a green, eco-friendly, established, sustainable technology, and help create new jobs.
It also appears that a recent PC Bill introduced on November 19th has inadvertently ended any chances of Segway-friendly legislation getting passed this year. Don’t get me wrong, we applaud the PC Party for understanding our vision, and trying to do something. What is so very disappointing, is that Partisan Politics is now interfering with job creation and common sense. As one NDP MLA said to us “… that (opposition) Bill won’t go anywhere…”.
In a recent letter, Minister Smith (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal – TIR) stated:
“While many US states do permit the use of Segway PTs, they are currently not formally permitted in any Canadian provinces. Alberta is contemplating permitting the use of Segway PTs and is conducting a pilot project allowing their limited use. The Province of Ontario is currently undertaking a pilot project and study around the use of Segway PTs on sidewalks by a limited number of users.”
“Both of these studies are expected to be completed within the next year, and we will consider those results in our deliberations. The 2006 study that you mention is helpful in considering the impacts on road users, and we will also take it into consideration when developing any regulatory framework for these devices.”
If the Minister feels he has to look to Canada for examples, then why didn’t he mention New Brunswick – right next door?
We have been informed that the New Brunswick Department of Transportation considers Segway PTs legal on N.B. streets and sidewalks. Their position is, that since Segway PTs are not illegal, then they are permitted as pedestrian assistance devices, similar to electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters. With this forward-thinking position, N.B. is poised to realize economic development and tourism benefits, while other provinces lag behind in multi-year studies and bureaucratic red tape. New Brunswick companies have already approached us for information and assistance regarding new Segway business opportunities.
We are also perplexed that this Minister is looking to, and waiting for a 7-year pilot project that Ontario finds itself in. It is beyond me as to why you need a 7-year trial. Obviously there is something wrong with the parameters of that pilot project. I would argue that the two year study and report already completed for Transport Canada (not to mention countless other studies already done) would and should allow The Government of Nova Scotia to immediately pass legislation regarding Segway PTs.
This is senseless red tape. Their position is clearly hindering economic development and tourism opportunities, not just for us, but for other tour operators and businesses that are interested in this market. New jobs and new forms of revenue aside, there are benefits to both businesses and Nova Scotians alike, from productivity… to cost savings… to the environment. For example, as a working tool for police, security companies, postal workers, parking enforcement, meter readers, etc. Individuals with mobility issues would have another choice for how they can get around, while all individuals would now have a truly green, alternative form of transport available.
We are aware of the “project underway to renew the Motor Vehicle Act”, which is already 4 years in the making. I fail to understand the need to wait for a replacement Act, which is not expected for another 12-24 months. According to TIR, the rewritten Act will only provide provisions for the authorization of pilot studies for devices such as the Segway PT – more bureaucratic red tape. Why not amend the current Motor Vehicle Act now?
The PC Party is willing to do this, with the Bill they introduced.
The Minister’s response is simply not acceptable.