July 13, 2012: Met with Nova Scotia’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR). For a few days we were excited to have received a quick, affirmative response to our request for a meeting. We were well prepared, and hoped to accomplish a few simple objectives: 1) introduce our company; 2) familiarize staff with Segway PTs as an eco-friendly, alternative form of transportation; 3) find out if there was support for our efforts to have Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (EPAMDs), including the Segway PT, classified and legalized under the Motor Vehicle Act.
Well, it seems that TIR has been well aware of EPAMDs since the release of the Segway PT in 2001, and it also appears that (their words, not mine), the department is “not philosophically opposed” to EPAMDs; however, between TIR’s claim that the entire Motor Vehicle Act is being rewritten and replaced, and the hint that they suspect there will be a spring election call, we were told, in unequivocal terms, by Deputy Minister LaFleche, to put a two-year timeline on our business plan. Staff present at the meeting claim that the current Motor Vehicle Act does not allow for a pilot project or exemption, nor would there be any opportunities in 2012 for amendments. Hmmm. I wonder, then, how they managed to study and classify the e-bike?
Posted on the TIR website is a Sustainable Transportation Strategy. Segway PTs meet all three criteria used to define “sustainable transportation”. The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act sets out, in part, as the foundation and principles of the Act that “…the environment and the economy must be managed for the benefit of present and future generations…” and “…innovative solutions are necessary to mutually reinforce the environment and the economy…” I fail to see how delaying the classification of an emissions free, viable, alternative form of transportation, which has already been studied ad nauseum and legislated by governments all around the world, is managing the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. It seems more like not acting, if you ask me.
The opportunity we had to hire students this summer under the Canada Summer Jobs Program has been lost. We have potential customers with medical and physical limitations who want to be able to legally use these devices on streets and/or sidewalks to regain their mobility. Couriers, security patrollers, police, letter carriers, meter readers… (the list goes on), are just going to have to wait to put this remarkable, working tool into action. Forget traffic congestion, greenhouse gas, the rising cost of fuel, insurance, parking. TIR staff are busy!
There has to be a way that we can get EPAMDs classified sooner, without having to pay a high-level lobbyist. There is: we get loud, and get people talking.
We have started a petition.