Tier board calls for e-scooter speed limit 

96% of blind or partially sighted people worry about e-scooters being silent, says report
Mobility as a Service / July 16, 2021
By Ben Spencer
Tier UK Safety Board e-scooters report Transport for All Parliamentary Advisory Council Thomas Pocklington Trust
Board wants operators to use AVA that is tested before city deployment (© Belish | Dreamstime.com)

The Tier UK Safety Board has issued recommendations for the electric scooter sector to create a safer environment, including the introduction of a 12.5 mph speed limit. 

Scooter operator Tier launched the group last year: its new report also calls for operators to be required to implement parking systems that improve accuracy by not relying solely on GPS. 

And the board wants operators to adopt an acoustic vehicle alert (AVA), tested before city deployment, which safely warns pedestrians of e-scooters on streets.

Other recommendations include offering dynamic pricing for riders that encourages good behaviour, consulting with disabled people and those who may not be able to use mainstream micromobility solutions and holding operators accountable to continually improve safety standards. 

As part of the study, the group conducted a nationwide survey to gain a better understanding of concerns among blind and partially sighted people relating to to e-scooters. 

Findings show that 96% are worried about e-scooters being silent and therefore very hard to detect while three-quarters fear the obstructions caused by poor parking leading to trips and falls. 

Additionally, the board and Tier have designed an AVA, undertaking research in consultation with Sight Loss Councils. 

The AVA will be available for free once it has passed a process of controlled testing to ensure it can benefit all pedestrians. 

Fred Jones, chair of the Tier UK Safety Board, says: “For the UK’s e-scooter trials to be successful, safety must be the priority. We have listened to the concerns of disabled people, including blind and partially sighted individuals, and worked closely with our safety board members to begin shaping standards that can be adopted by the whole industry.

“It is right that e-scooter operators face scrutiny when it comes to issues such as speed and parking, and, working with some of the biggest names in road safety and transport, we hope our recommendations can help to answer some of the major concerns people have.”

Hoyle says: “The recommendations put forward are not difficult for operators to implement but will go a long way in instilling confidence into those who are wary of e-scooters entering the transport mix. 

“As e-scooter trials expand across the country, it is important that we continue to scrutinise their presence and improve things where necessary,” she adds.

The board comprises Kirsty Hoyle (CEO at Transport for All), David Davies (executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety) and Mike Bell (senior manager at Thomas Pocklington Trust). 

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