E-Scooter firm running Cambridge pilot cross-examined by CamCycle Members

…which included me.

You can watch the video here. The Cambridge Cycling Campaign is one of a number of local campaign groups seeking to improve transport in and around our city. I am a member. As well as joining the cycling campaign you can also join any of these:

My general advice is if you can’t get involved in all of them, pick one and support that one well – knowing that other people can cover the other ones. And if you haven’t run out of money by then, there’s always me asking for support in my blogging, reporting, and research. (Please!)

The presentation and questions in the video can speak for themselves – I’m not going to transcribe everything here. My issues are similar to those raised here by the RNIB. In particular:

There must be requirements for the safe parking of e-scooters. We believe that the safest and most effective parking scheme will be for them to be parked in specified bays on the road.

RNIB and street safety with e-scooters for people who are blind or partially sighted.

A number of cities are trialling these at the moment, including Cambridge. Some of the problems we face are similar to those in other cities such as Birmingham here.

And Northampton here

There are a couple of places close to where I live where e-scooters are simply left there by the firm for people to pick up. There was nothing in terms of notices in the neighbourhood telling people that this was going to be happening. Furthermore there were no zones painted in to show where the vehicles should be parked up, and no signs with the basics or who to contact with issues.

“Do racks exist?”

Yes – they have them in Oslo.

Above – Oslo e-scooter racks.

Brexit took away the public policy capacity to do this properly – as did austerity

That’s my take. The Department for Transport really should have thought this through in much more detail, and could have worked up much better arrangements with towns and cities, along with charities and campaign groups such as the RNIB so that their concerns could have been addressed in planning the pilots.

Going forward, I would like to see the new generation of local councillors and politicians standing up to the firms and insisting that proper racks and stands be put in designated places – ones that have been properly thought through. Not just spray-painted in the nearest available area.

Improving streets for non-car users

As part of a wider overhaul of our street designs, providing more width and space for pedestrians, scooter riders and cyclists (human or electric-powered) now needs to become a mainstream activity – noting that one statistic from the e-scooter firm was that the pilot’s initial research said that their vehicles were displacing 20% of car journeys. Such calls are not new regarding overhauling street design. Anyone remember Project Cambridge from 2009? Hence the importance of having historians in your policy teams! (And/or people who have been around for long enough to remember when such things were tried before – and what was learnt).

Note that at the moment the firm is the only one licensed by the Department for Transport to make such e-scooters available. Other privately owned ones being ridden on public highways and pavements are actually breaking the law. But again, it’s inevitable that some sort of licensing will come in because they are popular. And again, Brexit took away much of the policy capacity that the DfT needed to bring in such a scheme.

But we are where we are, and this will be one of the things that the new set of councillors and county-level politicians will have to deal with when they take up office. Until then, there’s still time to put your final questions to the candidates in your area. https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/

If you are interested in the longer term future of Cambridge, and on what happens at the local democracy meetings where decisions are made, feel free to:

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