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).