E-scooters are ‘death traps’, says the Met
SOME hail them as answers to traffic pollution and sustainable travel, but the Met police in London see e-scooters as ‘death traps’.
A year-long trial beginning in London today (June 7) will let residents and visitors hire them for use at a top speed of 12.5mph.
Simon Ovens, from the Metropolitan Police’s road and transport command, has warned that e-scooters are ‘absolute death traps’, and has revealed that officers have seized approximately 800 this year alone. Concerns include riders travelling too fast, ignoring red lights, and riding while drunk. In 2018, there were four recorded collisions in London, which rose to 32 in 2019, when a television presenter, Emily Hartridge, became the first person in Britain to die in an accident involving an e-scooter. She hit a lorry while riding in Battersea. A coroner concluded that the ‘the scooter was being unsuitably driven, too fast and with an under-inflated tyre and this caused the loss of control and her death’. Conservative peer Lord Blencathra, a former Home Office minister, described them as ‘silent killing machines’.
The Met, however, supports the trial and has promised to increase enforcement. The trial scooters will cost £1 to unlock and 16p per minute thereafter. They are classed as motor vehicles, so require insurance, which is being provided by the three trial operators in London. Customers must be aged over 18 and have valid driver’s licences. The trial scooters will come to an automatic halt if the rider strays into an area of the capital not participating in the trial. They also have bigger wheels and suspension compared with private e-scooters, so are able to better absorb potholes. Their stopping distance is 6.5 ft.