A new Department for Transport report published this week has revealed that e-scooter riders have been witnessed by the vast majority of people engaging in anti-social behaviour, such as pavement riding and speeding.
A Government-commissioned study surveyed more than 3,600 residents in England about e-scooters in 10 areas hosting rental schemes.
Some 93% of respondents reported seeing at least one form of anti-social behaviour by users of either rental or private e-scooters.
The most common issues witnessed were the devices being used on pavements (86%) and riders going too fast (77%).
Other forms of misbehaviour observed included riders racing each other (43%) and performing dangerous tricks (32%).
The survey also uncovered that 44% of respondents had experienced a parked e-scooter blocking their access to the pavement, and 45% agreed that parked e-scooters get in the way of pedestrians.
An additional 40% of survey respondents felt that people riding e-scooters were not respectful of pedestrians and /or rode in a way that was unsafe for other pavement users all or most of the time (43%). Similarly, almost half (48%) of residents reported that people riding e-scooters travelled too fast all or most of the time.
Guide Dogs has responded to this week’s report and said: “This long overdue e-scooter evaluation report gives us just a part of the picture when it comes to e-scooter use in the UK. The report does not consider the use of privately owned e-scooters, which represent the overwhelming majority of e-scooters being used on our streets, despite it being illegal to ride privately-owned e-scooters on public land.
“Guide Dogs conducted the first ever crash testing of e-scooters in the UK, and the results show that an e-scooter colliding with a pedestrian at 15.5mph could cause fatal injury. Additional Guide Dogs research shows that nearly 75% of people with sight loss who have encountered an e-scooter have had a negative experience. Visually impaired people are already being forced to change their behaviour because of e-scooters, with some changing their regular routes and others not leaving home alone.
“The report reinforces the need for the Government to heed Guide Dogs’ calls for the introduction of strict caps on the speed, weight, and power of all e-scooters – rental or private – to make them safer for riders, pedestrians, and other road users. We also welcome the recommendation of a public information e-scooters campaign, especially between now and May 2024, before any proposals to permanently legalise all types of e-scooters are made.”
E-scooters are already having a negative impact on people with sight loss. Guide dog owner, Scott, and his guide dog, Milo, were hit by a private e-scooter being ridden on the pavement earlier this year.
“I am more anxious about going out on my own now, especially in city centres. I wouldn’t think twice about it before, but now I am constantly wondering what is around the corner. What if they are blocking the pavement? What if they hit me? I should be able to go anywhere with my guide dog Milo, but I can’t.”
Guide Dog owner, Scott
Guide Dogs is calling on the Government to take urgent action to ensure e-scooters are safe for riders and pedestrians, particularly people with sight loss.
For more information about the Scoot Aware campaign or to sign the petition in support of keeping pavements safer for all pedestrians, please visit the Guide Dogs website.
You can read the full National Evaluation report online.
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