A PLEA to halt the introduction of electric scooters in Redditch has been sent to the borough council.
The call comes from the National Federation of the Blind of the UK which has catalogued what is describes as the horrific injuries suffered by people using the machines.
Rental e-scooters will be legal on UK streets from today, Saturday, July 4 for a 12 month trial period, although privately owned e-scooters will remain illegal due to difficulties ensuring they are roadworthy.
Redditch MP Rachel Maclean, a minister in the Department for Transport, has been a strong advocate of e-scooters and from Saturday local authorities like Redditch will be able to set up their own trials of the machines with interested private companies.
“If these e-scooters come on the streets, if you hit a pothole or crash the head trauma can be horrific,” said Sarah Gayton of NFBUK.
“People are already walking more and cycling more and these e-scooters should not be legalised on safety grounds.
“People will be jumping on them, thinking this is great and ending up in A&E which is already under pressure from Covid-19.
“It’s a completely avoidable accident.”
The wearing of helmets for e-scooter users is recommended but is not mandatory.
Sarah said the NFBUK’s concern had been initially around the e-scooters not being returned properly to their docking stations and being left around the streets, causing a hazard to blind and partially sighted people.
However research had shown some of the horrific injuries suffered by those who had crashed on e-scooters.
“Our pavements and roads are busy enough – if you add in e-scooters they will add to the clutter.
“The evidence sent to the Department for Transport contains further evidence from the USA and other countries on the scale of serious and minor injuries that riders of e-scooters have sustained, with many falling off them, or from pedestrians or cyclists hit by them.
“Serious head trauma, broken ankles, wrists, elbows, broken teeth and serious eye injuries are just some that are documented.”
Transport minister and Redditch MP Rachel Maclean said: “E-scooters could provide clean and cost-effective travel that may also help ease the burden on the transport network, provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing.
“This trial will help bring more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home. Redditch would be a fantastic location to become a test area and to implement these trials.”
For more on the campaign, visit: https://www.nfbuk.org/campaign/e-scooters/