PEOPLE with sight loss are finding that the increased use of e-scooters on pavements is putting them in danger.
Guide Dogs Cymru is “extremely concerned” over the issue, and is urging the Welsh Government to take action to enable those with sight loss to be able to use pavements safely.
The charity submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the four Welsh police forces on e-scooter issues.
Gwent Police revealed they had seized 19 e-scooters between January and October of last year.
The force also attended a crash last August which involved a modified e-scooter and a car. Currently, e-scooters are only able to be used legally on private land.
There are trials in parts of England where e-scooters, which can travel up to 15mph, are able to be used on the roads, but this has not been extended to Wales.
Angharad Paget-Jones, who lives near Aberavon, has a guide dog called Tudor.
She encountered several e-scooters while walking along the promenade at Aberavon Beach earlier this month.
She said: “The prom is shared between cycles and pedestrians, but the scooters were on the pedestrian side. It’s hard to hear them approaching, then they whistle by so fast it’s frightening.”
Andrea Gordon, external affairs manager for Guide Dogs Cymru said: “E-scooters are an emerging problem for pedestrians, but for many with sight loss they present a serious safety issue, especially when ridden on pavements. People with sight loss often rely on hearing to navigate safely, which makes e-scooters difficult to avoid.
“Guide Dogs Cymru is extremely concerned about the way e-scooters are already being misused and their wider safety within the community, before they have even been approved for public use.
“Although no trials are currently taking place in Wales, the use of e-scooters is growing.
“Legalising all e-scooters would have a dramatic and irreversible effect on our streets. We have one chance to make sure that people with sight loss and other disabilities do not lose out as a result. Pavements are for people not e-scooters. They are the one safe place for pedestrians, and if we are serious about getting more people to walk and use public transport, then pedestrians must have priority on pavements.
“We are concerned that as e-scooter use grows, more people with sight loss will feel forced to stay at home or risk a collision with an e-scooter.
“We believe retailers must be required to provide clear information on the legal status of e-scooters at the point of sale, while the police need to make sure they are tackling illegal and dangerous e-scooter use.”