Written evidence submitted by Michael James Riddy
I would like to tell you about what I am doing in this time.
I work for a Multi Academy Trust consisting of 2 secondary schools 2 junior schools 1 primary school and 1 infant school. I am a Senior IT Technician. Myself and my colleagues have worked long hours and very hard to ensure that our 4000 users comprising of students, teachers and support staff can access the school network to retrieve school work and resources.
We also have a PAP - a ‘Priority access Provision’ for the children of our local keyworkers along with a selection of vulnerable children.
The schools where I frequently travel to for work are within a 5 mile radius of my home. Initially my 63 year old father who lives with myself, my partner and my children was dropping me at one of the sites, however this was proving unnecessary and inconvenient for him.
Unfortunately I do not possess a driving license as during the key time to learn to drive - my early twenties I was diagnosed with epilepsy - now, free from seizures and no longer medicated I simply cannot afford to learn to drive, let alone keep the costs running of a third car in my household.
Not being the most confident cyclist - I decided to invest in an ‘E-Scooter’ I realise what I am about to divulge is in essence not strictly ‘legal’ however I must implore you to consider this as a legal method of transport.
I use a farm track to make my initial journey to work and a quiet cycle lane alongside a dual carriageway to make the latter part of my journey. I always wear a helmet, and my E-Scooter, the Xiaomi M365 is fitted with disc brakes and both a front and rear light - I have seen cyclists/bicycles with less! If I need to approach a pavement or encounter a pedestrian I am always courteous and always disembark from my scooter to allow them to pass respectfully.
My scooter operates at approximately 10mph, as a pedestrian I have narrowly avoided cyclists travelling at least double this speed!
In the 3 weeks I have owned my E-Scooter for I have travelled approximately 110 miles. That is 110 miles of no emissions and a saving of at least £200 on taxi/public transport fares. Money that I have been able to put towards my family to ensure that they are happy and healthy in this time.
I understand that inquiries are taking place regarding E-Scooters and I only hope that you see the benefit that these have not only to commuters from a time and convenience point of view but also to the economy and environment.
I feel that the law surrounds the use of E-Scooters is outdated – the UK permits the use of E-Bikes. The UK also permits ‘Micro Scooters’ and non-electric ‘adult’ scooters along with various other ‘wheeled units’ including roller skates and skateboards on the pavement neither of which have brakes.
Changing the law surrounding the use of E-Scooters reduces the amount of traffic on the roads. It therefore offers lower congestion, so lesser chance of road traffic accidents, therefore not straining the emergency services or NHS any more. The use of a E-Scooter also greatly reduces emissions.
As described above E-Scooters have many positive benefits, in addition to the environmental benefits, I get a sense of freedom and ‘self-reliability’ For me personally, I am nearly 35 years of age have worked since the age of 13 and have always relied on family and friends to drive me to work, when required.
As above, if all users followed the same mentality as I do, using side lanes and cycle lanes. Walking with the scooter or even at a minimum, slowly, manually operating the scooter when on a pavement then this will ensure the safety of the rider and other users of the road.
I am a strong advocate for personal safety and that a helmet must (compulsory) be worn at all times. E-Scooters should only be in the first instance purchased from an accredited source, and should not be modified to remove speed restrictions. They should mirror the E-Scooter I personally own and be fitted with lights, a disc or electronic brake and some form of unobtrusive audible warning i.e. a bell.
If a purchase was made ‘second hand’ it is the purchasers responsibility to ensure that the E-Scooter is still in good working order. The scooter must be a reputable brand - ‘home made’ E-Scooters should still remain illegal as these can reach speeds in excess of 40mph.
The UK is the last country ‘in Europe’ to have not legalised the use of E-Scooters, despite the feedback from our neighbouring countries being very positive. I am personally not an advocate for ‘Scooter Sharing Services’ as this could encourage poor behaviours from ‘inexperienced users’ however the laws should be relaxed for those using it personally where other transport isn’t always readily available.