Shapps urged to shut down ‘unsafe’ e-scooter trials after two deaths confirmed

E-scooters: Anne McIntosh calls for clarity on rules

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Safety campaigner Sarah Gayton was speaking after the Transport Secretary wrote to chairman Huw Merriman, to correct the record following his appearance before the Transport Select Committee on April 27.

Mr Shapps included a list of “further information” which he had promised to provide during the course of the session, and which he set out in Annex A of his letter.

Under the heading “corrections” this stated: “During the session the Committee asked about the number of deaths in relation to e-scooter trials.

“Out of the over one and a half million active participants in the trials and the 24.8 million miles covered, there have been two deaths, both in the North Northamptonshire trial.”

“The first, in October 2020, was recorded by the coroner as an accidental death. The second was in December 2021, but the inquest is yet to take place.”

Previously, when questioned by Tory MP for East Devon Simon Jupp, Mr Shapps said: “As far as I am aware, there have been no fatalities in the trials.”

Currently, the only e-scooters which can be used on roads are those which are rented as part of the 32 government-backed trials in areas including London, Liverpool and Bristol.

However, the forthcoming Transport Bill will include proposals to permit all private scooters to use roads and cycle lanes in the UK. At present, such vehicles can only legally be used on private land.

Sarah Gayton, Shared Space Co-ordinator with the National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK), said one death she was aware of was that of 75-year-old Phil Jones. Mr Jones, from Northampton, fell and broke his hip last year after trying to move a discarded rental scooter which was blocking his path.

Speaking in May 2021, Mr Jones’ brother Dennis told ITV: “I feel that if the scooter hadn’t been on that pavement then today he would still be alive.”,

Ms Gayton, who presented a petition to Number 10 last week calling for the Government to rethink its legalisation strategy, said she was unaware of the details of the second death which Mr Shapps had referred to.

However, she added: “Grant Shapps needs to immediately take action to shut down the trials and do an immediate u-turn on his policy to legalise private e-scooters.

“These are not safe machines at all and it is very clear they are not safe for riders or for pedestrians. We just need to get them off the streets.”

“The shops need to be stopped from selling them to stop the situation getting any worse and the police need to do more to remove them from the streets.”

The Department for Transport has been approached for comment.

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