This Government must prioritise safety when legislating for E-Scooter use in Ireland

Image of scooter on a footpath with trees beside it.

Wednesday 10th November 2021, NCBI, Irish Wheelchair Association and Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind are today calling on Minister for Transport, Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan to ensure the safety of disabled pedestrians and those with mobility issues is prioritised within the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021 that is going to second stage on Wednesday 10th November.

The three organisations have serious concerns the current draft legislation fails to recognise or support the needs of disabled pedestrians including people who are blind or vision impaired, wheelchair users, elderly people etc.

Presently, the Heads of Bill fails to:

  • expressly prohibit the use of E-Scooters on footpaths or shared spaces,
  • require any audio systems to alert people to the presence of E-Scooters,
  • require specific parking infrastructure meaning E-Scooters could be parked haphazardly on our footpaths and streets.

The Bill allows for a maximum speed limit of 20 kph which is much higher than other European cities.

June Tinsley, NCBI Head of Advocacy and Communications, said “This is a pivotal moment for Government to recognise there are amendments required to this legislation to ensure the safety of all disabled pedestrians and road users. We want to ensure the legislative framework is as robust and enforceable as possible to ensure all pedestrians and road users are safe. No-one’s independence should be compromised with the increased use of E-scooters”.

John Fulham, Public Engagement Manager, Irish Wheelchair Association said; “It is vitally important that with the introduction of e-scooters in Ireland we learn the lesson from elsewhere and that the legislation put in place creates a safe environment which does not place disabled people and those with mobility impairments at risk and in a vulnerable position.”

LĂ©an Kennedy, Advocacy and Policy Officer, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind said; “Whilst Guide Dogs are trained to guide their blind or vision impaired owners through busy routes they can be put under undue stress if they are forced to try to anticipate the unpredictable movements of an e-scooter. Often the pedestrian footway is the only option to maintain someone’s independence and as such e-scooters would be safer for all if they were required to use cycle lanes or roads.”