Electric Scooters

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 2 March 2021.

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Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effect of e-scooters on the safety of blind and partially sighted people.

Photo of Rachel Maclean Rachel Maclean Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Department continues to work closely with all local authorities and e-scooter operators in areas where e-scooters are being trialed. We know there are concerns about e-scooter use, particularly for blind and visually impaired people.

Local authorities must engage with local groups that represent the interests of disabled people before submitting a proposal to hold a trial. This is to allow concerns to be raised and, where possible, mitigated before trials commence. We have rejected proposals where this engagement has not taken place. Local authorities must also ensure that plans are in place to continue with this engagement during the trials. and officials have engaged with a range of key stakeholders, including representatives from: Guide Dogs, the RNIB, and the National Federation of the Blind of the UK.

We have sought to limit any potentially negative impacts of e-scooters on blind and partially sighted people by requiring local authorities, working with e-scooter operators, to design trials in a way that takes account of their needs.

In all trial areas there needs to be sufficient parking provision. If a dockless operating model is being used, local authorities should ensure that e-scooters do not become an obstruction to other road users and pedestrians, particularly disabled people.

Following our consultation last year, and feedback from subsequent stakeholder activities, we have required all e-scooters used in trials to have a horn or bell so that users can make others aware of their presence.

We have also asked operators to develop more robust geo-fencing to tackle pavement riding and other anti-social behaviour. We have also asked local authorities and operators to ensure that trials are launched in a controlled way, with a small number of e-scooters and that trials are scaled up gradually as demand increases.

We will continue to take account of the needs of blind and partially sighted people as the trials progress.

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