These appendices are part of the National Federation of the Blind of the UK’s ‘Evidence on the Rental E-scooter Trials in England and Private Use of E-scooters’ For the Transport Select Committee Inquiry on E-scooters. A link to that evidence will be uploaded onto our website once it has been uploaded by the Committee. The appendices were to large to uploaded onto the transport select committee website and this is the solution we have found to overcome this issue.
To All CEOs, Leaders and Elected Councillors in Local Government,
Cooperation requested please on proposed Governments trial of rentable escooters in the UK
The National Federation of the Blind of the UK (NFBUK) are writing to ask if you are thinking of taking part in the Governments rentable escooters trials which have been brought forward due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you are, we are sincerely asking for your cooperation please and to rethink, reassess and withdraw from the trial. The NFBUK have uncovered new information on the devastating injuries created by escooters and the public nuisance and dangers they create for all pedestrians, people using mobility aids and cyclists.
The NFBUK has found this warning from McGee Lerer Associates a legal firm in Santa Monica, in the USA, which visually documents the horrific injuries caused by the use of escooters on their website[i]:
‘Ever since Bird and Lime dumped their electric scooters all over Santa Monica, our personal injury law firm has been inundated with calls from people injured in electric scooter accidents. The calls come from riders as well as pedestrians. We believe everyone needs to know about the quantity of calls we are getting, the seriousness of the injuries, and the commonality of the fact patterns. Not only does the public need to know, but so do city council members in other cities who are considering allowing in electric scooters, the scooter companies themselves (Bird and Lime), and anyone considering investing in these companies or renting their scooters’.
The photos which illustrate the horrific injuries are presented in the text below, and this evidence No Time To Trial or Legalise EScooter, has been sent to the Department for Transport (DfT) asking them not to make escooters legal in the UK and to abandon the trials. A few examples are given below to illustrate why we are so concerned, however, if you are affected by such photos please do not look as they are nauseating.
The evidence sent to the DfT also contains further evidence from the USA and other countries on the scale of serious and minor injuries that riders of escooters have sustained, with many falling off them, or from pedestrians or cyclist being hit by them. Serious head trauma, broken ankles, wrists, elbows, broken teeth and serious eye injuries are just some that are documented.
The NFBUK believes the NHS should be protected from a new wave of serious and minor injuries, as it continues to respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the knock-on impacts this is having on the health of the population:
- Existing and new coronavirus patients will need ongoing treatment
- The BBC[ii] and the Independent Newspaper[iii] reported last week of the millions and millions of people who are now waiting for postponed treatment in the UK.
- Many patients recovering from the virus will need ongoing treatment and rehabilitation.
To ensure we can protect the NHS and the public’s health, it is critical that we prevent further injuries requiring emergency treatment, ongoing care, follow up care and rehabilitation services. In the case of rentable escooters, this is really easy as the public is already protected from them by existing legislation which makes them illegal to use in the UK.
There are also healthier mobility options which people can use and which underpin active travel which include walking and cycling. Escooters will replace many walking and cycling trips and undo the move to more active lifestyles which has occurred during the lockdown.
Evidence has also shown that escooters will also create dangerous, hazardous and scary environments for people walking, using their mobility aids or cycling when being ridden and when they are not in use. Escooters quickly become trip hazards and barriers for independent accessibility as they block the pavements, pedestrian crossings and public spaces. Blind, partially sighted people, people using mobility aids, the elderly and frail elderly and mothers with buggies and double buggies will be faced with daily random obstacles that will make their trips dangerous, unpleasant and for many impossible.
Many disabled and vulnerable people will not be able to access the city centres and town streets to shop, socialise and access essential services, creating even further social isolation for all ready marginalised people in society and a greater dependency on care services who will have to look after their basic needs.
Any regulations trying to stop escooters being ridden or left on the pavements and public spaces will be ineffective as this will happen after the event has taken place and will take up the valuable time of the police or of the local authorities in trying to deal with the problems they create.
The NFBUK believe that DfT have underestimated the overwhelming negative impact that rentable escooters will have and that local authorities who are thinking to trial escooters have not been made fully aware of the significant dangers they bring with them.
PACTS (Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety) have also come to some of the same conclusions as the NFBUK in their submission to the Governments consultation on rentable escooters and bring out further areas of concern.
The NFBUK want to protect the NHS, protect public health and all efforts focused on ensuring safe and accessible urban environments for all, while allowing space for socially distancing and believe that rentable escooters have no part to play in achieving this.
We would therefore be grateful if you are considering trialling rentable escooters for you to rethink, reassess and withdraw from the trial please and encourage the DfT not to make them legal in the UK. You are more than welcome to share this email in full with colleagues, officers and other parties.
27th June 2020
Over 70% of the members of this charity are blind or partially sighted, and NFBUK has been working since 1947 to safeguard and improve the lifestyle of all vision–impaired people in the UK.
Photo 1 – McGee Lerer & Associates, Santa Monica, USA – 57-Year-Old Female E-scooter Rider Injury 10/11/18
Photo 1 – McGee Lerer & Associates, Santa Monica, USA – 57-Year-Old Female E-scooter Rider Injury 10/11/18 Photo shows foot displaces to the right at the ankle. The photos is taken on the side of the road.
Photo 2 – McGee Lerer & Associates, Santa Monica, USA – 53-Year-Old Female E-scooter Rider Injury 05/9/18
Photo 2 – McGee Lerer & Associates, Santa Monica, USA – 53-Year-Old Female E-scooter Rider Injury 05/9/18. Photo shows leg with two long rows of stiches either side of knee with some staples and stiches below and above the knee. The leg is shown and is in a protective casing which is open on the front of the leg).
Photo – 3 McGee Lerer & Associates, Santa Monica, USA – 71-Year-Old Cyclist Rider Injury Hit by E-Scooter September 2018
Photo – 3 McGee Lerer & Associates, Santa Monica, USA – 71-Year-Old Cyclist Rider Injury Hit by E-Scooter September 2018. The picture shows an elbow with a whole in it exposing the bone.
 [i] https://www.santamonicainjurylawfirm.com/electric-scooter-accidents/electric-scooter-accident-stories/