E-scooter safety campaign launched by Voi to 'educate' dangerous riders

A NEW safety campaign has been launched by the operator of the Portsmouth e-scooter scheme in a bid to 'educate' dangerous riders.

By Josh Wright
Saturday, 14th May 2022, 4:55 am

Concerns have been raised about standards in the city, with more than a dozen serious incidents reported in the last year.

The Let’s get it Right campaign has been started by Voi as the government announced plans to legalise the use of private e-scooters by creating a 'low speed, zero-emission vehicle category' for them.

Under the current rules, only e-scooters hired through schemes such as those run by Voi can be used, due to the requirement for insurance for which there is no legal provision yet.

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A Voi scooter being rode on the pavement on Ordnance Road, Portsea in May 2022

The decision was announced in the House of Lords by Baroness Vere of Norbiton, parliamentary under-secretary of state in the department for transport.

It is a move welcomed by Voi UK general manager Jack Samler who said its trial schemes, including in Portsmouth, had ‘successfully demonstrated' that e-scooters were a viable transport option.

'We welcome the plan to create a new independent vehicle category and legalise e-scooters in the UK,' he said. 'This will allow more people to adopt this affordable and sustainable transport model, reducing congestion and pollution in our cities and towns.’

He said the company's new safety campaign was its latest effort, which has also seen it introduce an AI system to monitor pavement riding, to improve riding standards.

A Voi scooter being rode on the pedestrianised area of Palmoerston Road, Southsea, in May 2022

He said: 'Besides investing in rider education and innovative technology, we believe that this new campaign will raise awareness of how important it is for riders to get it right.'

Between the launch of its Portsmouth scheme in March last year and the middle of February this year, 176 incidents have been reported to Voi.

Although most were classified as being either minor or leading to no injuries, 15 have been recorded as serious.

In July a 19-year-old man riding an e-scooter died after a crash with a car in Leominster Road, Paulsgrove.

The social media and offline campaign will focus on raising awareness of the rules of using e-scooters and the hosting of safety events.

Councillor Lynne Stagg, Portsmouth City Council cabinet member for transport, said: 'There are very few problems with riders of Voi e-scooters these days.

'Voi have improved their systems and they're now very good but that's also because of the requirements we forced them to bring in.

‘These include the installation of docking stations, the decision to require they have headlights and indicators, and the implementation of a speed limit.’

But she added she was concerned by the government's decision to legalise the use of private e-scooters.

'Private e-scooters are still a problem. Most of the incidents we see are related to them.’

'You can't bring in laws like these without there being the powers and resources to enforce them. The police don't have the time to respond.'

Her concerns are echoed by Portsea resident Terry Pearson who said: ‘It's about time e-scooter riders were told that they are subject to the same laws as motorcyclists, which means no mobile phone use whilst riding.’

‘Its pretty obvious that private e-scooters are going to be legalised which will probably put the hire companies out of business and result in the little control there is going down the toilet and the laws of the jungle applying.'