Blind caller fears London e-scooters will endanger partially-sighted people

18 May 2021, 15:48

By Tim Dodd

This caller explains to Nick Ferrari why London's e-scooter scheme starting in June could be dangerous to those with sight loss.

The conversation comes as Transport for London announced e-scooters will be legally allowed on London's roads next month as part of a one-year pilot scheme.

Clive from Winchester started by explaining that "e-scooters are quiet, so someone with sight loss like myself, I'm not going to hear it. And you heard earlier, they're 38 kilos, that's a significant weight.

"We're still hearing about these scooter users riding on the footpaths by pedestrians. If you go into London you see it all the time."

Nick asked: "But why are they worse than bicycles Clive?"

Clive replied: "Speed and weight, and people are using them on the pavement more than we're seeing with cyclists. We've got 213,000 people with sight loss in London."

Nick then remarked that 213,000 people is almost the size of an average London borough.

Read more: One in seven adults plans to buy an e-scooter or e-bike

On making e-scooters safer, Clive suggested having "a constant sound on them, a bell isn't good enough unfortunately. We need them to be really visible, and we don't want them to be parked on pavements.

"We've seen with dockless bikes in London before, where bikes were just left all over the place and we really are concerned this is going to happen again.

"We can't have painted lines on the pavement where you can park your e-scooter because that's not going to work. We want to see proper docking bays where the scooters can be stored, like the Boris bikes, so they're a safer location."

In London's pilot, the e-scooters will have a top speed of 12.5mph, below the Department for Transport's 15.5mph limit. Front and rear lights will have to be on and an audible warning system can be used without adjusting the rider's grip of the handlebar.

Prices have not been confirmed yet, but the trial will be restricted to Canary Wharf, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond, City of London and Kensington and Chelsea.