Summerside city council wants Highway Traffic Act amended
SUMMERSIDE – Summerside city council will be asking the province to undertake a pilot project to permit segways to operate on all sidewalks and public ways in the city.
© Ryan Quigley/Journal Pioneer
Charmaine Comeau stands outside P.E.I. Segway Tours at Spinnakers Landing in Summerside.
The request comes from Greg Weeks, owner/operator of P.E.I Segway Tours in Summerside. Weeks is asking the city to amend its traffic and parking bylaw to allow the operation of Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (EPAMD) “anywhere pedestrians are permitted to travel, including but not limited to, sidewalks, public ways and bike paths.”
Weeks also recommends that the bylaw include a provision stating, “a person operating an EPAMD shall at all times yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.”
Currently, segways are limited to the Summerside boardwalk.
Weeks said these changes would allow Segway Tours to diversify tour offerings to include architectural, heritage and cultural excursions.
Weeks presented council with an amendment made by the province of Nova Scotia to its Motor Vehicle Act allowing for a two-year pilot project for EPAMDs acces to public pedestrian travel ways.
Councillor Tina Mundy, chairwoman of the city’s police services committee, raised the issue with the committee Tuesday night, to see if there was some way the city could put some pressure on the province to pass a similar amendment to its Motor Vehicle Act.
“This isn’t the first kick at the can that we’ve had with this segway issue,” Mundy said. “We’ve had several requests put in by Mr. Weeks, owner operator of P.E.I. Segway Tours, and we seem to keep running into a wall with the provincial jurisdiction. If I’m not mistaken, they’re allowed everywhere except P.E.I.”
Police Chief David Poirier said the Nova Scotia plan is for a two-year pilot project ending in 2016 that would allow segways on sidewalks and where there are no sidewalks, they would be permitted on streets. It would be evaluated after the two-year pilot project period.
“The problem that we have on P.E.I. is that they are still illegal to run on sidewalks and streets,” Poirier said.
The province would first have to amend its legislation before the city can change its bylaw to accommodate the segways.
“I think if we can assist Mr. Weeks we should,” Mundy said. “This has been in front of all of us several times over the last four years and it just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. If there is any way we can get behind this and assist and if it’s just a matter of the province changing their legislation, then us enacting a bylaw, then it’s something we should probably do.”
The police committee recommended and the full council approved that the mayor and senior staff send a letter to the province “supporting amendments to the Highway Traffic Act which will produce a pilot project in the City of Summerside to permit the operation of segways on public roadways and sidewalks and the amending of the relevant bylaws of the City of Summerside.”