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Lib Dems express concerns over e-scooters

October 26, 2020 9:00 AM

Councillor Sebastian Field with e-scootersGloucester Liberal Democrats are expressing concerns about the e-scooter trial in the city centre.

They fear the dangers the e-scooters might present to pedestrians and especially blind, partially sighted and disabled people in the city.

The 12mph e-scooters are virtually silent and blind or partially sighted people could find it hard to hear them coming and risk injury or worse.

And any near misses could seriously affect people's confidence levels or those of guide dogs.

Only recently an e-scooter rider ended up in hospital after a collision with a car on Trier Way.

The 12-month trial was launched in Gloucester on October 1 and the e-scooters have been given an exemption by the Department for Transport as they are normally illegal to ride on the highway.

The scheme is being backed by the county council and is being operated by a firm called Zwing.

The e-scooters will be left on the streets of Gloucester and people can rent them by the minute, before leaving them at designated parking points.

The scooters cost £1 to unlock, and are charged 15p or 20p a minute for every ride, depending on the location.

Users must be 16 or over with a full or provisional driving licence and must follow the Highway Code.

The scooters have GPS trackers so for example will 'switch off' in no-go areas such as shopping centres.

Councillor Sebastian Field, who represents Podsmead on the city council, said: "I have been in touch with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the RNIB after residents wrote to me about this trial.

"They are concerned about the dangers to disabled and blind people, particularly when some disabilities are not immediately visible."

Local campaigner for Longlevens Sarah Sawyer added: "These scooters could be good for the environment in that they don't produce emissions, but Liberal Democrats are concerned about the apparent lack of consultation with disability groups, and the risk to the pedestrians.

"We are asking if this trial has been thoroughly thought through and consulted on?

"We want to hear from people with your views on these e-scooters. Do you think they are a good thing? Or a danger? Please let us know."

Any residents wanting to give their views can fill in survey online at https://gloucester-libdems.org.uk/en/survey/tell-us-your-views-on-the-e-scooter-trial-in-gloucester