GB News: Colin Brazier slams the use of E-scooters
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Matthew Scott, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, says the e-scooters are extremely dangerous and their use will cause more serious injuries and even deaths. The devices are currently being trialled in many UK cities and towns, including London, Birmingham and Liverpool.
But although the trial of Bird e-scooters in Canterbury, Kent, has been extended to March next year, there are growing concerns about their safety.
Speaking to Kent Live, Mr Scott said: “Personally, I think the whole e-scooter experiment needs to stop across the country.
“I don’t think people are using them particularly responsibly and we’re starting to see cases across the UK of people being killed while they’re riding them and also, more significantly numbers-wise, serious life-changing injuries.
“We’re also seeing people being given warnings for anti-social use of the public hire scheme.
“We need to do away with these scooters and stop adding further danger to our roads.”
Figures released last month showed there were 484 casualties involving e-scooters in the UK in 2020. One person was killed.
And this year, a dad was killed in an accident involving an e-scooter in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, after he reportedly popped out to check for petrol amid the fuel shortage crisis.
Four fire engines also dashed to a fire caused by an e-scooter earlier this month in Maidstone, Kent.
Although it is legal to buy a scooter, it is illegal to ride one on the road at the moment.
Mr Scott claims the trials have caused “confusion” about their legality and people are buying vehicles that are unregulated.
“We’ve got people buying them from Amazon and Halfords thinking they are perfectly legal when the messaging has been completely confused,” he added.
“Halfords say they warn people not to use them on the public roads, but people buy them for that purpose so just ignore the warnings.
“They are supposed to be used in a very small part of Canterbury but what we are seeing across the country, particularly in Kent as well, large numbers of e-scooters being seized because they are being ridden illegally on the public highway.
“Because the other important aspect to this is that there is no provision for them: There are no charge points, there are no dedicated lanes, there is nothing provided to allow them to be used more safely.
“We see them scattered across the roads and pavements.
“If the Government is going to go ahead with this, then private ownership should be banned and it needs to be a properly regulated public hire scheme only, but even I have concerns about that.”
Councils and the Department for Transport claim e-scooters could help reduce carbon emissions as they could help people stop being so reliant on cars.
Mr Scott said the Government should instead focus on other methods to reduce carbon emissions such as investing in local infrastructure or launching alternative schemes, such as a cycle-hire scheme similar to London’s “Boris Bikes”.
A Kent County Council (KCC) spokesperson said: “KCC has extended the trial of use of e-scooters in parts of Canterbury until March 2022, following a direct request from the Department for Transport.
“Safety is a top priority for KCC and officers meet regularly with Kent Police, Bird and DfT to discuss their roles in this trial.”
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