National blind charity makes appeal to pause Sunderland e-scooter trial over safety concerns for vulnerable pedestrians

A national blind charity wants a halt to the Sunderland e-scooter trials following concerns for the safety of vulnerable pedestrians on pavements and public spaces.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 6:46 pm
The trial started on Wednesday.

The National Federation of the Blind UK has requested that Sunderland City Council pause their e-scooter trials due to ‘serious safety concerns’ for vulnerable pedestrians.

The charity claim that riders who use pavements and public spaces to ride on and to leave the e-scooters on, could lead to ‘unsafe situations’ for blind, visually impaired, disabled and vulnerable pedestrians.

Sarah Gayton, from The National Federation of the Blind UK says the charity believes it’s better to wait and focus on ensuring vulnerable pedestrians have clear and safe routes to be able to walk and use their mobility aids without being put in danger with e-scooter users.

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The e-scooters run on battery power and emit zero emissions when in use.

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Sarah said: “This problem has not been resolved and we believe it is too unsafe to start the trial.

"These problems will only increase as lockdown starts to ease and with the opening of the pubs, bars and evening economy. It is clear all the safety features integrated into the machines has not stopped the safety problems for occurring in the Newcastle trial.”

The charity is appealing to the council to pause the Sunderland trial and wait until others across the country have finished.

Mrs Gayton added: "Pavement safety and accessibility is critically important at any time and especially during a pandemic for the health, wellbeing, safety and accessibility for all pedestrians.”

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