Working for People with Sight Loss

Calls for the Oireachtas Transport Committee to prioritise safety when legislating for e-scooter use in Ireland

Close up on two people's legs as they stand on their e-scooters

Wednesday 19th January, NCBI, the Irish Wheelchair Association and Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind will present their concerns regarding the use of e-scooters in Ireland to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport.

The organisations have called on Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, to ensure the voices and experiences of disabled pedestrians and those with mobility needs are heard and their concerns addressed in the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021.

The three organisations, who published a joint position paper in advance of the Dáil debate on the Bill in November last year will be asking the Committee to propose and support amendments to the legislation to ensure:

  • E-scooters will be prohibited from use on footpaths and in shared spaces;
  • A universal sound solution, which is robustly tested and researched, is installed to allow pedestrians to hear them approaching;
  • maximum speed limits of 12 kph will apply with lower speed limits of 6 kph in certain areas; and
  • there is designated parking infrastructure.

June Tinsley, NCBI Head of Advocacy and Communications, said “The volume of E-scooter usage is increasing daily and it is vital that the correct legal frameworks and infrastructure is in place to ensure the safety of disabled pedestrians. In a recent NCBI survey, 57% of our service users reported e-scooters reduced their confidence to walk or access the community. It is imperative the legislation introduces lower speed limits and requires the installation of an audio system to guarantee pedestrian safety as already there have been too many near misses or accidents.”

John Fulham, Public Engagement Manager, Irish Wheelchair Association said; “The introduction of E-Scooters in Ireland has generated valid concerns amongst the disabled community regarding the continuing safety of people with disabilities. It is important the infrastructure introduced does not place disabled people in a vulnerable position and we welcome the opportunity to present to the committee regarding these issues.”

Léan Kennedy, Advocacy and Policy Officer, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind said; “In a recent survey, 89% of our clients are concerned about the use of e-scooters in relation to their safety and therefore we welcome the opportunity to present to the Committee on this important issue. We are calling for specific amendments to be made to the Bill to safeguard people with vision impairment and children with autism so they can move independently in their communities.”

 

ENDS