E-scooters: Anne McIntosh calls for clarity on rules
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A poodle named Rupert was the victim of an alleged hit-and-run incident in Walkden last week, with owner Susan Leigh saying “two lads” on an a-scooter did not “bother to come back and check” what had happened to the nine-month-old dog after he was run over by the electric vehicle.
She said: “I had stopped to give Rupert a drink of water and he was chewing on a stick as he loved to do.
“He spotted the scooter before me as it didn’t make a noise.
“The next thing he just shot from his feet and went to the centre of the bike and the bike wheel went over him.”
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police confirmed the incident was reported to them on May 19 and that enquiries were “ongoing”.
E-scooters have been the subject of heated debate in the context of the Government’s Transport Bill, which, as laid out in the Queen’s Speech, is expected to legalise their use on public roads.
Rented e-scooters have been tested out in 57 towns and cities in the UK as part of a series of pilot schemes.
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The goal is to find out whether they offer “clean and cost-effective travel that may also help ease the burden on the transport network, provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing”.
The first pilots were announced in June 2020 by then Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, and trials have been taking place in towns and cities including Basildon, Cambridge, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes and Norwich.
Currently, unless rented as part of the schemes, the vehicles can only be used on private land.
The potential legalisation of the country’s estimated 750,000 private e-scooters has been challenged by people who question the vehicles’ safety.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Baroness Neville-Rolfe claimed delays in regulating the use of e-scooters have created a “Wild West” on UK streets.
The Tory said: “I would ban e-scooters – I think e-bikes are much less dangerous.”
Sarah Gayton, from the National Federation of the Blind, presented a petition against the plans to legalise the vehicles to Downing Street last week.
She said: “They have been causing terrifying situations for pedestrians. So if they’re legalised, they are going to completely take over because the police can’t regulate them safely.
“The urban environment will just literally change and people won’t want to walk anymore.”
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Cases like the alleged death of Ms Leigh’s dog could add weight to the arguments presented by those who oppose the Transport Bill’s plans.
The 63-year-old woman’s neighbour, Cheryl, said the poodle “was her life”.
He told Manchester Evening News: “She is absolutely devastated.
“She didn’t even hear the scooter coming they just appeared and rode over him it was that quick. That could have been a child.
Speaking of the dangers of e-scooters, he added: “They are down there all the time at the moment. They are not allowed there.
“It’s a walkway which cyclists can use but they have to give notice with their bell but any motor vehicle is not allowed on there.”
Anyone with information on the incident is being asked to report it to Greater Manchester Police online or via LiveChat.
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