Walking along the pavement near Dunn’s in Crouch End yesterday, I had my first personal experience of person vs e-scooter.
I got a glancing blow from a young man zipping along the pavement. No harm done other than ruffled feathers. But it does underline the potential dangers posed by these vehicles. What if I’d been frail and elderly or a toddler?
The rider did have the grace to stop. It gave me the chance to firmly but calmly point out the error of his ways. Never mind that his scooter was illegal in any public place right now, the last place he should be riding it was on a busy Saturday morning pavement. But he had an explanation: he told me, “You know, people are being hit on the roads now; it's not safe!” What more to be said.
No one doubts the dangers of cars and other vehicles, Ian. I certainly don't. I think it's taken for granted with most people. But this isn't about cars. And, the fact that cars are dangerous, even more dangerous than e-scooters, doesn't mean we should be blind to the dangers of the latter, or be badgered into keeping quiet about the issue.
I don’t see cars routinely driving on the pavement Ian. The footpath is the only refuge for the pedestrian in the urban environment and I would very much like to see it remain that way.
Of course you do, it's just so routine you don't even notice it.
Note the cases of Esme Weir and Donald Sharpe, both killed by regular drivers doing normal 'routine' things.
Before I get told it's not about cars again, my point is that it's hypocritical for society to express concern for toddlers or the elderly against the threat of scooters or bicycles, when cases like this end up in court and the outcome is 'accidents happen'.
Tried to add before the edit window expired:
I'm absolutely not defending the illegal use of scooters, on either the pavement or roads. Just feel posts of this nature are disproportionate in the wider context of pedestrian safety.
This reminds me of the Blair government's scrapping of the gambling restrictions. Total blithe ignoring of the consequences - in this case bing hit by a silent missile suddenly appearing and hitting you at 25 mph.
No legislation on mandatory automatic lights and speed limiters. And the little there is - that you're not allowed to ride on pavements - ignored and unenforceable.
If we had bike lanes on every street and road, it would be better. But this is Haringey.
As wheelchair user these are a nightmare on the pavement. I've already had a cyclist trying to skip the lights hit me on the pavement on green lanes and damage my wheelchairs control unit.
These scooters are even faster and quieter. My vision is limited in my chair as I can't turn my torso easily. To look behind me or around I need to physcially turn the chair. So If I hear a scooter, chances are I will be turning into it to see what is behind me. At least with a cyclist there is more noise from the bike and they have to make even more noise speed up, giving me more warning of what is happening.
The park is really bad for speeding scooter users at the moment, particularly at choke points and paths.
Would like to see the poloce doing a regular blitz on these scooter riders. A few officers for 2 hours in the morning peak hour on Green Lanes and the same in the afternon once or twice a month. Two could spot them coming and a few standing further down the road could manage the interceptions.
Quite and why isn't it better publicised which the 5 legal trial boroughs are? Is Haringey even one of them? On Wood Green High Road there's no monitoring of these and other anti-social behaviours despite presence of street rangers.
The French experience of many accidents, and popular pressure leading to regulation, is instructive. See https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexledsom/2019/09/10/e-scooter-havoc-...
Copenhagen and some other European cities are facing similar issues according to these articles.
Illegalising sale without a licence could help. People would then have to pay for the admin cost of a licensing system. In the 1960s even push bikes in the city of Cambridge had to have a registration plate with a number, because the thousands of student riders were seen to need to be policed but also because so many bikes got stolen. So licence plates help rider/owner as well as accident victims.
E-scooters should defo be legalised for going on roads but absolutely not on footpaths - see https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/policy-positions/all/all/our-p... for a helpful set of thoughts on current situation and what should be done.
Living Streets, the pedestrian's lobby group, are campaigning on the issue:
Thanks for those helpful and very relevant links, Anne.
I’m pulled in both directions over e-scooters. They could make a positive contribution to reducing car use for shorter journeys but the experience of other cities has shown they can easily become a menace if unregulated. The last time I was in Paris it wasn’t only the way they were driven and the places they were used that caused problems but the way they were dumped, sometimes in piles, around entrances to metro stations.
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