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E-scooters Are Not Like Bikes

E-scooters Are Not Like Bikes

• Data analysis of reported casualties on local Bristol and surrounding areas e-scooter trial in the West of England Combined Authority area show rental e-scooters estimated at being:

– 36 times more dangerous than riding a bike
– 35 times more dangerous than riding a motor cycle
– 109 times more dangerous than being a pedestrian
• Charity calls for the Government backed trials to be immediately suspended on safety grounds
• Charity calls for Government to stop the sale of private e-scooters due to growing death and serious injury in the UK

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport in a debate on e-scooters in the House of Lords stated ‘evidence to date suggests the rates of injuries are broadly similar when compared to pedal cycles’ when responding to concerns about the safety of e-scooters where as data from the Bristol e-scooter trial. However, it has been clear from the start of the trials from the PACTS report that e-scooters are more dangerous than riding a bike, who reported in Denmark head injuries were 8 times more dangerous than riding a bike and have mandated helmets for e-scooters from the 1 January 2022. Spain is mandating e-scooter helmets and Florence in Italy mandated helmets on the 1 December 2021.

The data from Bristol shows that something is seriously going wrong with e-scooters both legal and illegal ones. With over 3 serious injuries a day going to the A&E Departments in Bristol in data gathered in 28 days in May and June 2021 as reported by PACTS. This data along with other published data has been used to calculate the risk of injury as compared to other vulnerable road uses for the rented e-scooters and the figures are frightening. The calculated figures for Bristol also do not take into consideration slight injuries as that data is not available and if it was the calculated rates would be even greater.

Quote Sarah Gayton, Street Access Campaign Coordinator, National Federation of the Blind of the UK

“We always knew that e-scooters were dangerous for blind and visually impaired people, so we started to collect evidence of the injuries involving e-scooters and when we started to look more closely at the accident data we just could not believe how many people riding them were getting hurt or killed.

People still think e-scooters are a bit of fun, the Government still think the trials are an important part of ‘modal shift in transport’, but we need everyone to understand just how dangerous these motorised vehicles truly are. E-scooters are inherently dangerous by design, the geometry is all wrong with the machine. The small wheels, long stem with small handlebars make them very unstable if you hit a pothole, a kerb or even debris in the highway, leaving the riders with no protection at all as they crash to the ground.

What the Bristol data has show is that there are significant number of hidden casualties going straight to the A&E both from legal and private use e-scooters and by passing the traditional police reporting system for road traffic accidents. The trials need to be shut down and the police need to do more to take private e-scooters off the streets of Bristol. The Government also needs to step in and shut down the sale of private e-scooters as it is clear the public are using them on the public highway and are paying a heavy price when they become seriously injured or tragically killed”.

End Notes

• This shocking injury rate is a hidden problem, as only 21 casualties were reported by the Avon and Somerset Police Force for the first 6 months in 2021, published in the Department for Transport in late 2021.
• These figures do not include any data on slight injuries and if this data was available. The rates would no doubt be significantly higher, even when the limitations of the data, which can be provided, are taken into consideration.
• Evidence of blind and visually impaired people being injured and impacted e-scooters is given below.

Further information can be obtained from:

Sarah Gayton, Street Access Campaigns Coordinator, NFBUK or ring 07903 155858