BLIND people are welcoming news that e-scooter operator Voi is trialling a low humming sound on its vehicles in three cities.
The news comes after months of campaigning by Sight Loss Councils to ensure e-scooters are audible to blind and partially sighted pedestrians.
Voi will add the artificial noise to 60 e-scooters in Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol.
Mike Bell, at Sight Loss Councils, said: “We are pleased Voi is trialing sound-emitting devices and is not the only operator taking positive action on this. Tier Mobility has also pledged to release an acoustic vehicle alert system by the end of this year.
“E-scooters are being ridden on our roads and illegally on our pavements, quickly and silently, causing a real risk to the safety of blind and partially sighted pedestrians.
“We urge the Government to make the installation of Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems mandatory for all e-scooter operators vying for contracts in the UK.”
Kevin Satizabal is a visually impaired Communications Officer for SLS. He says he was left shocked and concerned by the dangers of fast and quiet e-scooters following a recent encounter on his journey home.
“I was waiting for a taxi at the pedestrianised area outside Milton Keynes train station when I suddenly felt a gust of air from an e-scooter zooming past me.
“It was literally gone in a second. If I’d moved slightly I would have been in its path. If the scooter had ploughed in to me it would have been really dangerous. There is literally no time to react.”
Sight Loss Councils’ #StreetsForAll campaign is also calling for:
- Mandatory on-road parking bays for e-scooters.
- A reduction to the 15.5 mph speed limit.
- Geo-tagging to prevent pavement use.
- Sight Loss Councils, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust and led by blind and partially sighted volunteers, advocate the needs of blind and partially sighted people, and influence positive change.
- SLCs are currently working in Birmingham, Black Country, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, London, Bedfordshire and Tyne & Wear.
- Each SLC is made up of around 10-12 blind and partially sighted members who meet monthly to discuss accessibility issues and plan projects in their regions under the six priority themes of education, employment, technology, health and social care, transport, sport and leisure.
Tel, 020 8995 0880