Letter against the use of e-scooters on roads

A man riding an e-scooter in Jesmond, Newcastle, where a fleet of 250 orange electric scooters has b

An e-scooter being ridden on a public road - Credit: PA

E-scooters are a danger to walkers

Mrs Julia Lafferty, Ickburgh Road, Upper Clapton, wrote to Mayor Philip Glanville:

Your recent letter in the Hackney Gazette promoted the work that Hackney Council are doing to encourage walking and cycling in the borough and boost active lifestyles.

As a pedestrian who now feels that walking in the borough has become more hazardous over the past year, let me give you the reasons why.   

Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens of the Metropolitan Police was reported in the press recently as saying that e-scooters are “notoriously dangerous” and “absolute death traps”. Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott called upon the secretary of state for transport to halt electric scooter trials and was reported as saying “Inconsiderate riders are becoming a menace on our roads and pavements, ignoring the law and causing dangers for other road users”. I have done a random trawl on the internet which has revealed the most serious injuries and fatalities occurring in the past five weeks and I give a selection below:

  • June 12 2021 -20-year-old Shakur Pinnock and his female e-scooter passenger suffered serious injury in e-scooter collision in Wolverhampton. Pinnock dies of his head injuries.
  • June 22 2021 - Teenager George McCowan died after e-scooter crash in Portsmouth
  • June 28 2021-  54-year-old man died after e-scooter collision with metal fence in Brighton
  • July 9 2021 Teenager seriously injured in e-scooter collision in Coventry
  • July 11 2021 2 teenage girls, aged 15, riding on one e-scooter seriously injured in collision in West Derby, Liverpool
  • July 12 2021 28- year-old man critically injured in e-scooter collision in Kensal Green London.
  • July 15 2021 - Man left fighting for his life after e-scooter collision in Twickenham
  • July 18 2021 - 16-year-old youth died after e-scooter crash in Bromley 
An e-scooter rider on the pavement is asked to stop by a police officer to stop during an operation

A man riding an e-scooter on a pavement - Credit: PA Images

Given the above, why are Hackney Council not joining the call on the government to halt electric scooter trials which have given the green light to private owners that e-scooters can be ridden on London’s roads and pavements? 

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I understand that GLA members have received a briefing on e-scooters from the Metropolitan Police when it was stated “that the police felt they had the resources to enforce”.

Why then when I take a daily walk around my neighbourhood in the North East of Hackney do I witness privately owned e-scooters being ridden at speed along roads and pavements and through green spaces and parks, through red traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, and by under 18s - frequently with two passengers on board?

The majority of riders are teenagers, sometimes as young as 11 or 12, and many appear to be exceeding the speed limit for e-scooters, presumably because an adjustment has been made to the speed limiter. 

And why have I seen no evidence over past months of any enforcement action and when I complained in person to a local police constable and community support officer about the behaviour of irresponsible e-scooter riders in my street I was told that they did not feel that they could take any action and that I should write to the Transport Minister?  

I am not blind or disabled and yet I feel that my safety is being threatened by e-scooter riders whenever I embark upon a walk around Hackney.  I therefore fully support the petition to 10 Downing Street by the National Federation for the Blind who have circulated all CEOS, leaders and elected councillors in local government detailing their concerns about the serious hazards presented by e-scooters. The examples given by the Federation from across the world about the dangers of e-scooters are graphically illustrated by the kind of serious injuries sustained by e-scooter riders and pedestrians nfbuk.org/campaign/e-scooters/

I would be interested to know whether Hackney Council endorse the concerns about the dangers to blind and disabled people posed by e-scooters.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY A group of parked e-scooters as Lime launches the UK's first, full-scale e-scoote

A group of parked Lime e-scooters - Credit: PA

And incidentally the so-called sustainable nature of e-scooters must surely be called into question by the impact that the production of lithium and cobalt for e-scooter batteries have upon the less developed countries of the world such as Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and the Democratic Republic of Congo where unregulated cobalt mines often employ children. A Friends of the Earth report has stated, “The extraction of lithium has significant environmental and social impacts, especially due to water pollution and depletion. In addition, toxic chemicals are needed to process lithium. The release of such chemicals through leaching, spills or air emissions can harm communities, ecosystems and food production. Moreover, lithium extraction inevitably harms the soil and also causes air contamination.” 

When the fact that a significant proportion of e-scooters are manufactured and transported to Britain from China is added to the equation, the claim that e-scooters are a very sustainable form of transport cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.  

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