A councillor says he is worried the increased use of electric scooters could lead to someone being seriously injured.
Gravesham council representative Brian Sangha (Lab) spoke about his concerns – saying the government has “totally failed” to educate the public on the safe use of e scooters.
Cllr Sangha spoke to kmfm about an incident he witnessed
Cllr Sangha, who represents Pelham ward, said: “For me, they are a new addition to an alternative form of transport and I think they should be welcomed.
“They can be used by people of all ages and they provide a convenience for many people.
“The pandemic has highlighted the benefit of having an alternative means of transport to other modes, such as public transport and cars.
“But the problem is that there’s a real disconnect between promoting the use of e scooters and the need to introduce a campaign of educational awareness about their safe use.
“We have really got to look at the rapid increase in the use of electric scooters by people of all ages, coupled with a total lack of education and awareness about their safe use.”
Cllr Sangha, who is also the cabinet member for strategic environment, says the government should work with local authorities and police forces to educate the public on the safe use of e scooters.
“I think there is a real concern about awareness and education for users and riders of e scooters and the general public,” added Cllr Sangha.
“There is a role here for central government, because they have promoted the use of these e scooters, which I welcome, but alongside that, they have totally failed to run a national campaign to say that their use on public roads and footpaths is actually illegal.
“What worries me more is the fact that riders are unaware of the need to protect themselves with equipment, simple things like a helmet and visible clothing.
“I’ve seen an electric scooter hit the side of a car and the two riders both fell to the ground.
“They were both wearing dark clothing at night, and I wonder had they had suffered a head injury, we would be looking at a very serious accident.”
Last month, Cllr Sangha told Gravesham council’s crime and disorder scrutiny committee he had witnessed incidents near Gravesend town centre where people were recklessly driving e scooters.
This included an incident where a mum was seen zooming towards Asda with her young child clinging to the front of her.
According to Cllr Sangha, the lack of information provided by the government has led to local authorities and police forces having to deal with the issues raised by e scooters.
“It’s something we need to cope with together. I don’t see enforcement as a first port of call, I see it as the last port of call,” he added.
“I’m worried by the growth and the use of these scooters without there being the necessary publicity campaign, nationally and locally, about their use and their safety.
“I’m very worried that we’re going to see a serious accident involving a rider.
“We must put the safety of the public and of the e scooter riders first. We really do need local government, central government, and the police to step forward to start that conversation.”
Last month, KentOnline reporter Lydia Chantler-Hicks took to the streets of Canterbury to test one of the 150 e scooters available for hire across the city.
“I’m very worried that we’re going to see a serious accident involving a rider.”
Sam Reed, a student at Canterbury Christchurch University, also took part in an e scooter trial.
He said: “They are not only just a way of formal transportation, but informal, they’re a great day out.
“I’ve seen a lot of people during lockdown with e scooters using them to boost their morale. It’s a great time out but also, I see it as a way of helping the environment.
“They’re perfect for getting about rather than cars. They have such a positive impact on the environment.
“Personal transport is always going to be a danger for pedestrians, no matter what it is. But it’s all about making it safer.
“You can put anyone in a car and if they’re a dangerous driver, it’ll be dangerous.”