Written evidence submitted by Andrew Widdowson

I am a full-time wheelchair user, and it is impossible for me to travel any faster than around 3-4 mph which is very similar to my ambulant friends -- we move at the same speed when going along together (electric wheelchairs are not allowed to be sold unless they are limited to 6KPH or 4 mph).

I and my friend have had experience on perhaps a handful of occasions with E Scooters passing by on pavements in the village, town and the seaside promenade.

On the latter bicycles are only permitted in certain hours, but there is no such legislation for e-Scooters. Therefore leisurely wandering with a friend or family member has on one occasion been dangerously interrupted by an unexpected yell from behind from a speedy Scooter requiring fast evasive action -- a serious accident was just avoided.

In the village and in the town I have also encountered these machines in a similar way. They can move what appears to be anyway quite quickly, and are very difficult to avoid if coming close -- one doesn't know whether to jump to the left or to jump to the right especially when coming from behind, but fast movement either way is definitely required! I consider myself to be an ordinary pedestrian who enjoys the leisure of a push on a town pavement, window shopping perhaps or stopping to speak to friends, E Scooters provide hazards that are definitely to be avoided but require a certain amount of agility to take evasive action mainly because their speed is so much greater than everybody else's. Fortunately they are currently scarce on our pavements, however any increase in their numbers would in my view present a serious hazard to a gentle activity - unless of course they progress at the 3-4 mph similar to pedestrians and other pavement users. This would, I imagine be impossible to enforce unless they were fitted with governors.

April 2020