Sigh loss charities are urging the Government not to legalise private e-scooters (Photo by Magda Ehlers/Pexels)

Sight loss charities urge Government not to legalise e-scooters 

A group of charities for people with sight loss have compiled a petition urging the Government not to legalise e-scooters.

Organisations, including the National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK), said they will deliver the petition to Downing Street, in the hopes of preventing the expected update on e-scooter legislation.

On Tuesday (10th May), the UK Government will be offering an update on plans for the use of private e-scooters on public roads, potentially paving the way for the legalisation of scooters on the streets. 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has hinted that the Government is likely to legalise privately-owned scooters for use on the roads, a move that has been met with support from micromobility retailers and transport organisations like CoMoUK. 

But disability groups across the country have shared their concerns about the impacts e-scooters will have on disabled people, particularly those with sight loss.

Sarah Leadbetter, a campaigners officer for NFBUK, told the BBC: “I have been to a number of the e-scooter trial areas and I have not felt safe. 

“If Grant Shapps legalises e-scooters, we can wave goodbye to our pavements.”

Following a long period of campaigning from scooter retailers and transport organisations, the Government has been expected to make a decision on the legalisation of e-scooters this year, but after a number of trial schemes were extended until November, it was not clear if or when the Government would legalise the scooters.   

Mr Shapps told the Select Committee: “In the future, I want to crack down on the illegal use on roads of non-compliant e-scooters.” 

Conservative MP Simon Jupp said he was concerned that Mr Shapps comments suggest that the Government was considering legalising the scooters, which have been involved in 900 collisions so far, 11 of which have been fatal. 

Read more:  E-scooters are five times safer than bikes, according to new study

Richard Dilks, chief executive of shared transport charity CoMoUK, said: “This is a welcome announcement from the Transport Secretary and we look forward to seeing the details of what is proposed.

“E-scooter trials have proven to be highly popular, with over 15 million rides since summer 2020, and we must ensure the UK does not miss out on this opportunity to lower transport emissions.

“There is an imperative to improve safety because our laws currently do not define and recognise e-scooters, and we need standards for aspects such as their top speed, braking and lighting.” 

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