Calls made for 12km/h speed limits on e-scooters

Calls made for 12km/h speed limits on e-scooters

Léan Kennedy, advocacy and policy officer for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, wants provisional licence and insurance requirements to be introduced for drivers of e-scooters. File Picture.

A ban on the use of e-scooters on footpaths and a reduced speed limit of 12km/h are among a number of proposals made by disability advocacy groups to the Oireachtas Transport Committee.

The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI), the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, and Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind outlined their proposals to the committee as part of a discussion on the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021.

The organisations have called on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and the committee to propose and support a number of amendments to the legislation.

This would include banning the use of e-scooters on footpaths, the introduction of a speed limit of 12km/h, which would be reduced to 6km/h in certain areas, and the introduction of a universal sound solution. The sound solution would allow scooters to alert pedestrians to their presence.

Calls were also made for designated parking infrastructure to be introduced, age restrictions for e-scooter drivers, as well as insurance and licencing restrictions on the vehicles.

NCBI head of advocacy and communications June Tinsley said that the volume of e-scooter usage is increasing daily, and it is vital that the correct legal frameworks and infrastructure are in place.

In a recent NCBI survey, 57% of our service users reported e-scooters reduced their confidence to walk or access the community,” she said.

Irish Wheelchair Association public engagement manager John Fulham said the introduction of e-scooters in Ireland has generated valid concerns amongst the disabled community regarding safety.

Mr Fulham called for age restrictions on the use of the scooters.

“The proposed legislation makes it an offence to supply an individual under the age of 16 with an e-scooter," he said.

However, it is essential that this provision is coupled with the minimum age requirement for the use of these scooters.” 

Léan Kennedy, advocacy and policy officer for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, said that in a recent survey, 89% of their clients raised concerns about the use of e-scooters in relation to their safety.

She warned that guide dogs can be startled by e-scooters because of their silent nature.

Ms Kennedy called for provisional licence and insurance requirements to be introduced regarding the use of the scooters, in a bid to keep those under the age of 16 from using them.

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