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E-Scooters: Blind Woman Left Feeling Anxious After Being Hit

December 13, 2022

    A blind woman who was hit by an e-scooter has said encountering them now makes her frightened and anxious.

    Angharad Paget-Jones, who is severely sight impaired, lives in Port Talbot with her guide dog Tudor.

    The disability rights campaigner and data analyst said she was left “scraped and bruised” after being hit.

    Her comments come as MPs and activists have called for more to be done to raise awareness of the law on electric scooters ahead of Christmas.

    Newport East MP Jessica Morden led a debate in the Commons on the issue, telling UK ministers there was a “dangerous lack of knowledge” on the rules.

    E-scooters are widely sold and seen, but can only be ridden legally on private land or as part of UK government hire trials, none of which operate in Wales.

    UK ministers said they were working to tackle the problem and support the police.

    Ms Paget-Jones said the accident was “minor” but she had also had many “near misses” when walking around Cardiff.

    “It could have been a lot worse. If my dog had been hit that would have been my independence gone. It would have been really scary,” she said.

    Ms Paget said the person on the e-scooter was on his phone, and not paying attention, and she was lucky her friend was there and pulled her dog out of the way, otherwise they both would have been hit.

    “We should be able to walk through the city centre without fear of being hit by anything and yet these scooters are just springing out of nowhere.

    “It does make me a lot more anxious, and I’ve noticed my dog gets anxious, since these near misses keep happening he kind of does a stop to pull me in – it shouldn’t be like that.

    “Going at high speeds past us is frightening, our dogs aren’t expecting it, and we’re not expecting it. They just go so quickly.”

    She added: “It worries me about Christmas that everyone is going to start buying them for their children.”

    Ms Morden told MPs that residents in her constituency felt “intimidated and annoyed” by people using e-scooters illegally.

    She complained of e-scooter riders “breaking speed limits, running red lights and weaving in and out of traffic”.

    “Gwent Police and other forces have taken a lead with social media campaigns making the public aware of rules for e-scooters before they are purchased as Christmas presents, but there seems to be little national steer from either the Home Office or the Department for Transport,” she added.

    She also urged retailers to “behave more responsibly” when it came to e-scooter marketing and the wording of adverts.

    Several police forces have urged people to think twice before gifting an e-scooter this Christmas.

    Inspector Gareth Morgan, from South Wales Police, said: “If you are thinking of purchasing one please be aware that they can only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission.

    “There are trial areas in England but if you own an e-scooter you can’t just take it and use it there, they have to be rented from a hirer that is participating in the scheme because they provide you with the necessary insurance.”

    Riding a privately owned e-scooter on public land could result in it being seized, fines of up to £300 and even penalty points.

    Responding to Ms Morden in the Commons, UK Transport Minister Jesse Norman said he had written to all major retailers selling private e-scooters to remind them of their responsibility to make the law clear to customers.

    A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Safety is at the heart of our e-scooter trials, looking to protect riders, pedestrians and other road users.

    “While riding a privately owned e-scooter on public land is currently illegal, we are considering how best to design future regulations.”

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