Liverpool’s Lib Dem Councillors are demanding that the Council publishes details of all known collisions involving Voi Scooters which are operated by the Council on behalf of the City Region. This is now probably the biggest single issue which is arriving at our advice centres and emails with real concerns from residents not only about safety but all aspects of their use.
We understand that there have been a number of accidents involving the Voi Scooters but after two weeks have been unable to find out the number and extent of the injuries caused. Press reports indicate that 2 girls were involved in a serious incident in Liverpool 8 last week but residents are telling us of more collisions from Garston to Wavertree.
We do know that the situation is serious enough for the Council to have established a liaison group between the Royal Hospital and our Public Health team to look at the situation.
We understand that the Police are also concerned about their use but absolutely lack the resources to ‘police’ either the Voi scooters but also the increasing number of private scooters on are roads which are 100% illegal.
In addition to the safety aspects we also see a number of other issues:
- Many are clearly being ‘driven’ by young people who cannot possibly have the provisional licence needed to use them. This can only get worse during the long summer holidays as we saw a clear hike in underage use during the Easter holidays. People need to have at least a provisional licence to use the VOI scooters.
- They are being used on the pavements when they should only be used on the road. Something that can go at 12.5 kilometres an hour is clearly a cause of concern to the elderly and those with young children
- Many are being used with a total disregard for the Highway Code which is causing alarm to other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. I have seen many occasions in which users have weaved from pavement to roads and then crossing busy main roads with a total disregard for oncoming traffic and the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
- They are being left inappropriately and often block pavements forcing pedestrians and people with prams and wheelchairs into the road. The Voi scooters are big and heavy and therefore difficult to move if they are not ‘turned on’.
The Council has already acted to improve safety if these are being used in parks and have limited speed in parks to 5 kmh by use of a GPS system.
There are now proposals to extend the pilot and we need to fully understand the issues, particularly safety issues, before we can agree to continue this experiment.
The problems are even more acute with private scooters on the road. They can go much faster as the controls can be altered to increase up to a maximum speed of about 50 mph. Unlike the council scheme they are uninsured. This means that if they cause an accident to road users or pedestrians it is highly unlikely that a claim could be made against them for the damage or hurt.
We urgently need to get two messages across:
- That the private scooters are illegal and people using them can be fined and be subject to other penalties including the confiscation of the scooter.
- That these are not toys and if they are going on the road, legally or illegally, can cause physical hurt to not only the users but others on the roads and pavements.
In principle this is a great idea that is good for the environment and will help reduce the number of cars on the road, especially for short journeys. However, unless we introduce more checks and balances into their use it is an idea that will surely lead to serious injuries and deaths.