A total of 6,321 privately owned e-scooters were confiscated by police in 2021 – an average of 17 a day, Guide Dogs reveals today.
New figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request revealed 21 police forces recorded at least 264 e-scooter offences, with offences relating to drink driving or careless or dangerous driving involving an e-scooter.
Guide Dogs has released these new figures today as the charity submits a petition with over 42,194 signatures, calling on the Prime Minister to keep pavements safe for everyone.
The petition asks the Prime Minister to:
- Launch a public information campaign to stop illegal use of e-scooters
- Work with police to make sure they are enforcing the law
- Publish his plan on legislation
E-scooters are already having a profound impact on people with vision impairment, despite having been on our streets for a relatively short period. Research carried out on behalf of Guide Dogs in January and February 2022 found that 75 per cent of people with sight loss who had encountered an e-scooter had already had a negative experience.
Alarmingly, 12 per cent of respondents reported their mobility aid or cane being hit by an e-scooter. And one in ten people with sight loss had been hit but not injured by an e-scooter.
Over half of people with sight loss reported changing their behaviour due to e-scooters, including not going to some parts of town (16 per cent), changing their regular routes (14 per cent), shortening trips outside to reduce their risk of encountering e-scooters (10 per cent).
People with sight loss expressed concern at e-scooters being driven on pavements, their silent nature - which makes them hard to detect and avoid, as well as their weight, power, and speed.
“It is hard to avoid e-scooters when they come up behind you and you cannot hear them. The first time I was hit by an e-scooter was just outside my house in May 2021, when two young people riding the same e-scooter hit me causing me to fall over into my guide dog Inca. They just got up and just rode away but I was left bruised, and my guide dog Inca pulled a muscle in her leg, putting her out of action for six weeks and me without my guide dog. Two months later I tripped over an e-scooter left on the pavement and fractured my foot. What people do not realise is when something like this happens, that is my complete independence gone.”
Elaine Maries, one of the guide dog owners handing in the e-scooter petition to the Prime Minister
Chris Theobald, Senior Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said: “The Government has signalled that wider legislation of e-scooters is likely in the upcoming Transport Bill. If the Government are serious about expanding the use of e-scooters, they need to urgently prioritise safety. Any plans to legalise e-scooters must address their speed, weight, and sound, with clear rules to follow to ensure they are kept off pavements and used on the road alongside other motorised vehicles.
“In the meantime, more can be done to tackle illegal use, and to educate the public. It is critical that the government considers the needs of everyone especially people who are blind or partially sighted. Our research shows nearly 75% of people with sight loss who have encountered an e-scooter have had a negative experience.”
We've completed the first-ever crash testing of e-scooters, which highlights the dangers of them, especially for people with sight loss.
A guide dog owner has spoken to BBC Breakfast about her experiences of e-scooters as the year-long trial of the two-wheel transport device starts in London.
Guide Dogs responds to the Government's decision to extend e-scooter trials, despite spike in pedestrian injuries.