m I the only person who has become increasingly terrified that we’re all going to be mown down on London’s pavements by this swarm of e-scooters?
The other day, walking home from Acton Town tube, I was nearly knocked onto the ground by a teenage boy on an e-scooter. Wearing no helmet, he was bombing along at about 30mph on the pavement. Later, I saw a woman driving one, on the road with her daughter, who could have been no more than six, standing on it in front of her. Neither were wearing helmets. Everywhere I go pavements are now danger zones with e-scooters weaving like exocet missiles at high speed. I’m terrified my children are going to get hit by one.
From June 7, a year-long trial began allowing Londoners over 18 to hire e-scooters and travel around the city’s road and cycle lanes at a top speed of 12.5mph. The trial is part of Transport for London’s aim to make the city more sustainable. The London e-scooter trial is taking place in Canary Wharf, the City of London, Kensington and Chelsea, Ealing, Richmond, and Hammersmith and Fulham. In this trial privately owned e-scooters are still prohibited.
Well that all sounds fine. But the truth, as anyone with eyes can see, is that privately owned scooters are everywhere. Last week alone police seized 25 such scooters on a “day of enforcement” in the West End. Friends tell me of their teenage children taking their scooters to mechanics to soup them up to allow them to do far greater speeds. Others report e-scooters being used to flee crime scenes and steal phones.
Conservative peer Lord Blencathra has described the vehicles as “silent killing machines” and stressed the need for tougher restrictions and enforcement, while Met police chief Simon Ovens blasts them as “death traps”.
A recent study from the US found that 45 per cent of e-scooter accidents resulted in head injuries, many involving traumatic brain injuries. Many of these could have been prevented or lessened had a suitable helmet been worn (the study found very few riders wore them) and the e-scooter accident rate was 14.3 per 100,000 trips, potentially making riders sixteen times more likely to be injured than car drivers and nine times more likely than cyclists. A large percentage of accidents involved alcohol.
It doesn’t take much common sense to see that this situation is spiralling out of control. Something needs to be done.
What do you think about e-scooters? Let us know in the comments below.