Rule breakers spotted misusing e-scooters just 24 hours after launch
Users have been spotted breaking rules by riding down pavements and having children as passengers just 24 hours after the launch day of a trial of new electric scooters in Sunderland.
Residents have complained about the misuse of the distinctive orange e-scooters following the launch on Wednesday, March 31. In one instance, a man was caught riding on the pavement with a small child as a passenger while readers contacted the Echo to say they had seen youngsters whizzing through Roker.
The trial, which is being operated by Neuron Mobility in partnership with Sunderland City Council, has seen 300 orange e-scooters distributed across the city for members of the public to use.
The new scooters were launched in an effort to provide ‘safe, socially-distanced and environmentally-friendly transport’, but some have already been misused by riders.
Residents have reported seeing groups of youngsters whizzing through Roker, leaving residents questioning how they obtained the scooters without a full or provisional driving licence.
Retired priest Ian Davies, 75, saw a group of youngsters ‘racing’ through Roker as he traveled from his home in Hendon to Whitburn.
He said: “I saw a group of youngsters riding along the pavement.
"My concerns were what if someone is hit, who is held responsible? I thought they looked young and not old enough to hold a driver's license so I wondered how they were even allowed to use the scooters.
"I tried logging into the website to report the incident - I think they can be unsafe when driven on the pavement."
According to Neuron Mobility anyone who sees any rider breaking these rules should report the incident to Neuron’s 24/7 customer service centre.
A company spokesperson said riders sign up to a list of rules before being allowed to ride and this highlights that they must be over 18, have a driving license and one one person is allowed on an e-scooter at a time.
The Neuron Mobility spokesperson added: “The riding rules appear in the app that riders see at the start of every trip, plus there’s voice guidance to remind people of some of the key points, and even stickers on the e-scooters with the main dos and don’ts.
"The police are able to enforce the rules too. Riders need to understand that if they break the law there’s a real prospect of criminal prosecution and or and penalty points on their driving licence.”
Fears over the safety of the Sunderland e-scooters has already been raised by the National Federation of the Blind UK with concerns of unsafe situations for blind, visually impaired, disabled and vulnerable pedestrians.
Sunderland City Council leader Coun Graeme Miller has said the e-scooters are safe and the council will monitor the trial over the coming months.
Peter McIntyre, Executive Director of City Development, Sunderland City Council said: “So far, the majority of people using the e-scooters appear to be acting responsibly and the feedback we’ve received has been positive.
"There are very clear rules, responsibilities and legal duties for all highways users, including e-scooter riders and we would encourage all riders to follow these.”