E-Scooters pavement riding a ‘big problem’ – but there are solutions

09.01 | 2 December 2020 | | 3 comments


Education, geofencing, enforcement and better urban planning could all have a role to play in discouraging e-scooter riders from riding on pavements.

That’s the view of a panel of experts convened for a live discussion session held on 24 November as part of the 2020 Festival of Road Safety.

The session, titled ‘E-scooters – are they safe or do they pose a threat to users and other road users?’, featured panellists David Davies from PACTS, Graeme Sherriff from the University of Salford, and Jinel Fourie from the e-scooter rental operator TIER Mobility.

Jinel Fourie suggested that e-scooterists often ride on the pavement because they don’t feel safe on the road, before asking whether we want to ban people from pavement riding, or persuade them through education? 

She went on to say that scooter rental operators should be taking ‘absolutely every measure they can’ to ensure the safety of e-scooter users and other road users such as pedestrians and the visually impaired. 

She concluded by acknowledging that pavement riding has to be addressed because ‘e-scooters are not for pavements’ – and suggested the way to tackle this is through education, behaviour change or even possibly the use of ‘street patrol teams’.

Graeme Sherriff said ‘geofencing’ could be deployed to deter pavement riding by switching off the scooter’s motor or cancelling membership of a rental scheme. He also suggested there is a role for urban planners in creating attractive and safe environments for e-scooter users. 

He said enforcement could be used to deter dangerous behaviour by other road users, to help ensure a safer environment for e-scooter users.

David Davies described pavement riding as a ‘multi-faceted issue’ and a ‘big problem, not to be underestimated’. The e-scooter trial in Coventry trial was paused, he said, presumably because the geofencing solution ‘was not adequate’. 

He went on to describe the 300,000 privately owned scooters in the UK, many being used illegally by teenagers, as a ‘major concern’.

“It is not easy to persuade people to obey the law,” he suggested, adding that the police haven’t got the resources to tackle the issue, so he is not sure how this will be achieved – particularly among private users.

The full hour-long discussion session can be viewed on the Festival of Road Safety catch up service (scroll down the page to Tuesday 24 November).


 

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    E-scooters are a nightmare for vulnerable and disabled pedestrians. Just recently a local resident’s guide dog became dangerously startled by a scooter whizzing by her on the pavement. To suggest that the way to deter them from riding on pavements is by “education” “behaviour change” etc is ridiculaous. Likewise is the claim that the reason they ride on pavements is because they don’t feel safe on the roads so we must “provide a safe environment in order to deter pavement riding”.

    Exactly the same problems constantly exist with pavement cyclists. Now that numerous safe cycle lanes have been provided, cyclists conntinue to cycle on pavements next to the cycle lanes!
    The only way to deter pavement riding e-scooters is to sieze the scooters and prosecute the riders. Devon & Cornwall police have said they will do this. Bring back spot fines for pavement cyclists. IT IS ILLEGAL TO RIDE E-SCOOTERS AND BIKES ON PAVEMENTS. RECLAIM PAVEMENTS FOR FOR PEDESTRIANS!


    C. Young, Liverpool
    Agree (8) | Disagree (0)
    +8

    I watched this live discussion with interest, but the truth is that we are all in limbo at the moment, with regards to escooters, until privately-owned ones are legalised and there are clear regulations around specification, training, helmets, etc. That’s probably 18 – 24 months away?

    The current trials of rental machines have already highlighted issues around safety and anti-social use and police forces and road safety professionals are struggling to chase a horse that bolted long ago. Sales of escooters are huge and we will all be choking on our turkey leftovers immediately after Christmas as we watch our neighbours out on their new toys. Expect escooters to be the first thing you have to deal with when you get back to work in the new year!

    I did find it slightly amusing that, while celebrating the fact that escooters had replaced some car journeys, we now apparently have to worry that escooters may also be replacing some active travel journeys!…..


    Keith Wheeler, Aylesbury
    Agree (8) | Disagree (0)
    +8

    I’m not sure GPS is that accurate for civilian use to be reliable enough to distinguish between road/ pavement and roadworks or having to negotiate round pot holes. For one of these scooters to be cut off or have it’s speed suddenly reduced/limited when mixed with normal traffic could put the rider at even greater risk of collision. They maybe executing a manoeuvre such as overtaking or speeding to avoid a car heading towards them whilst doing something unexpected. i.e. there are lots of situations/ lawful or not where additional risks are taken. The real issue is why are we allowing them to share public roads to start with.


    Jemima Ellis, Leicester
    Agree (16) | Disagree (0)
    +16

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