MP FOR Meriden has met with a guide dog charity to help raise awareness of the impact e-scooters have on people with sight loss.
Research by Guide Dogs found that three quarters of people with sight loss who have encountered an e-scooter have already reported having a negative experience.
Half of people with sight loss who have encountered an e-scooter have changed their behaviour because of e-scooters, including not going to some parts of their town, changing their regular routes and shortening trips outside to reduce their risk of encountering e-scooters.
The UK Government has indicated that the upcoming Transport Bill will legalise private e-scooters for the first time in England, Scotland and Wales.
Saqib Bhatti MP is supporting Guide Dogs’ Scoot Aware campaign, which calls for urgent action to be taken to ensure e-scooters are safe for everyone, and particularly people with sight loss.
He said: “Recently, e-scooter trials have been carried out in my constituency of Meriden, along Knowle to Solihull town centre.
“While I welcome better connectivity for my constituency, I will strive to ensure that sufficient testing is carried out before they are introduced. As Guide Dogs point out, e-scooters can be dangerous, especially to those with sight loss.
“People with sight loss should not have to live in fear of encountering an e-scooter. Any legislation around e-scooters should make adequate provisions for the safety of people with sight loss and I will continue to advocate for this. I fully support the Guide Dogs’ Scoot Aware campaign and I look forward to working with them on this.”
Chris Theobald, campaigns manager for Guide Dogs said: “Any new law on e-scooters must consider the impact they are already having on people with sight loss.
“Pavements are for people but all too often, e-scooters are being illegally ridden on or abandoned on the pavement creating additional obstacles for people with sight loss. That is why we are asking for a ban on their use on the pavements, a strict cap on their weight, power and speed.
“There should also be mandatory docked parking for rental e-scooters and a coherent and consistent approach to police enforcement on anti-social e-scooter use.”