The independent London newspaper

Just say no to electric scooters

20 June, 2019

Cartoon by John Sadler

• AS readers may know, I’m a keen promoter of heathy activity, both cycling and walking. I welcomed the docking stations, now with Santander bikes.

But in the past year we’ve witnessed an explosion of competing bike rental schemes. There are now four additional operators and they’re no longer bound by orderly docking stations.

Riders can leave the rented red, green, yellow or silver machines just anywhere they choose. And they do. They’re already becoming a hazard cluttering the pavement and it’s bound to get worse.

There’s also a new threat on the block: electric scooters. These are now the scourge of Paris, Brooklyn, LA and Barcelona. In those cities, like the bike schemes above, the scooters can be dumped at will.

These lightweight bikes cruise at a frighteningly fast 15mph and we are already seeing a breed of smug “snowflakes” and hipsters commuting on the roads to work.

At present the law is clear: to ride electric scooters on either the pavement or road is illegal. It should stay that way. And there should be exemplary prosecutions to send a clear message.

I for one hope and trust that London will not license any scooter scheme. There’s a very good reason to resist. They are highly dangerous to the rider and to pedestrians, an accident waiting to happen. The legal choice should remain; Shanks’s pony or bicycle.

Bartholomew Villas, NW5


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