E-scooter safety campaigner calls for capital's pilot scheme to end

‘Dangerous’ defects found on London e-scooters: Safety campaigner calls for capital’s pilot scheme to END after ‘shocking’ tyre faults on Line, Dott and Tier rental gadgets

  • Sarah Gayton from UK’s National Federation of the Blind wants scheme to end 
  • She found several e-scooters with deflated tyres or with tyres away from the rim 
  • A 14-year-old girl was recently killed in e-scooter crash in Newham, east London

A SAFETY campaigner is calling for London e-scooter trials to be shut down after discovering a number of ‘dangerous’ defects on vehicles available to rent. 

Sarah Gayton from the UK’s National Federation of the Blind, said she was ‘shocked’ to discover several scooters had serious flaws which would compromise safety. 

Three operators – Lime, Dott and Tier – are currently taking part in a pilot scheme in the capital, which ends in June.

A safety campaigner is calling for London e-scooter trials to end after finding several ‘dangerous’ defects on vehicles available to rent in the capital (file picture)

But Ms Gayton, who travelled across London in March, says she found several Lime e-scooters with deflated tyres, a Dott e-scooter with splits in the sidewall and a Tier tyre which had come away from its wheel rim.

Youtuber Emily Hartridge, 35, was tragically killed when she was thrown under a lorry on an e-scooter with an under-inflated tyre.

Ms Gayton later posted film footage of the alleged flaws on Twitter, insisting: ‘This is not safe.’

She added: ‘The tyres are not robust enough or they are not being maintained properly. They are not being checked. It’s crazy.

‘People who rent these e-scooters haven’t got a clue what’s underneath their feet. They are not looking and even if they were they don’t what they are looking for.

‘Yet they sign a waiver form saying when they get on it they have checked its safety. How the hell is someone supposed to know if there’s something wrong with the tyre!

‘The trial should be shut down.’

Ms Gayton said she also seen people riding double, riding on pavements, using pedestrian crossings and leaving e-scooters in dangerous positions.

YouTuber Emily Hartridge, 35, is thought to be the first person killed in an e-scooter accident after she died in 2019

‘It’s clear there are still significant safety concerns with the e-scooters which are a danger to both the rider and pedestrians.’

Ms Hartridge, from Hambledon in Hampshire is thought to have been the first person killed in an e-scooter accident when she died in Battersea in July 2019.

A coroner later ruled that the scooter was being ‘unsuitably driven, too fast’, but said a lack of air in the tyre was a factor in the crash.

Since the tragedy, figures from PACTS (The Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety) show there have been hundreds more accidents and at least 16 fatalities linked to e-scooters.

In the year ending June 2021 there were 882 accidents involving the devices across Britain, government figures show.

This resulted in 931 casualties – of whom 732 were e-scooter users.

The latest person to die was a 14 year-old girl killed in Newham, east London on March 21.  

A coroner ruled a lack of air in the e-scooter’s tyre contributed to Emily Hartridge’s death

At the time of Ms Hartridge’s death, e-scooters were illegal in the UK – except on private land with the landowner’s permission.

But on 1 August 2020 rental e-scooters – which cost around £3.25 for a 15 minute journey – became legal and guidance for e-scooter-for-hire firms was published by the Department for Transport.

They include a lower maximum speed of 12.5 mph, lights at the front and rear of the vehicles, first-ride policies’ requiring new users to take an e-learning safety course and a ban on riding on pavements.

Helen Sharp, Transport For London’s e-scooter trial lead, said: ‘We’re determined to make sure safety is at the core of our trial, which is why we ask all operators to meet high standards of maintenance to ensure that e-scooters are safe to use.

‘All e-scooters are required to undergo regular maintenance checks and to meet the standards for tyres set out by the Department for Transport.

‘We take all concerns about safety very seriously and have raised this issue with the operators.

‘The vehicles in question have been identified and are no longer available to hire. We will continue to work closely with operators to ensure all vehicles available to hire meet the required standards.

‘We encourage members of the public to report any concerns to the operators so that safety can remain at the core of this trial.’

In the year ending June 2021 there were 882 accidents involving the devices across Britain, government figures show  (file photo)

A spokesperson for Lime said: ‘Safety is at the heart of the service Lime offers its customers.

‘Lime has safely delivered over 300,000 rides in London since the start of the e-scooter trial, using our industry leading technology to protect riders at every stage of their journey.

‘Every Lime e-scooter undergoes daily maintenance checks – including checking tyre pressure and condition – from trained Lime mechanics and our on-street patrol teams.

‘Users are also encouraged to report any maintenance issue through the Lime app, and any vehicle reported is immediately made unavailable to members of the public.’

A spokesperson for TIER said: ‘The vehicle in question was quickly identified by our rangers and removed from the streets. No rides took place on it while it was damaged.

‘TIER takes issues regarding the safety and durability of its vehicles very seriously. We have a robust process in place to maintain the quality of our fleet, including a team of street rangers with the specific role of regularly assessing the state of our e-scooters and deactivating those that are not fit for purpose, and a team working within our warehouse to repair any of those that are damaged.

‘Alongside this rigorous assessment process, TIER is consistently scrutinising the safety of its operations through our UK Safety Board which comprises senior independent experts in road safety, accessibility and visual impairment. 

‘Our incident rate in the UK has been very low so far, and we strive to continue to keep it this way and operate to the highest of safety standards.’

At the time of publication, Dott did not respond to a request for comment. 

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