Concerns over 'illegal and dangerous' use of Voi scooters in Rushden
Voi says while the number of users and rides is increasing, proportionally, the number of reports communicated is relatively small
A Rushden resident has voiced his concerns over the 'illegal and dangerous' use of Voi scooters in the town.
After three incidents in the space of just two weeks, Mick Bridgstock is worried about people's safety with the e-scooters which can now be found in Rushden, Higham Ferrers, Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and Northampton.
He has raised his concerns with Voi, North Northants Council, the police and Wellingborough and Rushden's MP Peter Bone.
The incidents reported by Mr Bridgstock involved e-scooters being ridden on the footpath which runs from Rushden's Keats Way to Wellingborough Road.
He described one of these as a 'close encounter' when an e-scooter came up behind him, his five-year-old grandson and his dog on the footpath.
As e-scooters should not be ridden on the pavement, Mr Bridgstock couldn't ignore the issue and told the Northants Telegraph: "This is the third time I have encountered these machines being ridden on this footpath in just two weeks.
"Given that I only use the footpath once a day, and for maybe 15 minutes in the evening to exercise my dog, it is not hard to surmise that there are considerably more such rides on the footpath throughout the day.
"I did again tonight, as on previous occasions, advise the rider he should not be doing it, but to no avail - he continued to ride to Keats Way."
Mr Bridgstock's concerns have been logged with Voi and a spokesman told the Northants Telegraph: "Our user support team has been in touch with Mr Bridgstock to thank him for getting in touch with us and answer his questions with e clear explanation of how our service works.
"E-scooters were introduced in the Northamptonshire trial area to support the green recovery post-pandemic, taking pressure off public transport and helping people travel in a socially distant manner while leaving their cars behind.
"We have seen a growing demand for this convenient, affordable and green mode of transport as so far, over 325,000 rides were taken with the Voi scooters, and over 700,000km were travelled in the six towns covered by the trial.
"While the number of users and rides is increasing, proportionally, the number of reports communicated is relatively small.
"We continue to encourage people to report any instances of misuse or share their suggestions with us via our page so we can swiftly take action.
"As the trial progresses, safety continues to be a top priority for Voi and North Northamptonshire Council.
"Voi continues to invest in education, rewarding its users to complete the RideLikeVoila school and as the lockdown lifts will be promoting local safety events.
"We also provide clear and visible in-app and on the scooter, and we have staff on the ground to monitor the e-scooter activity.
"In instances where users do not follow the e-scooter usage regulations, we work closely with the local police, and we have a three-strike policy through which reported incidents of anti-social behaviour and misuse will lead to warnings, fines and even temporary or permanent bans."
A spokesman for North Northamptonshire Council said: “We are working closely with Voi and have responded to Mr Bridgstock directly.
“The e-scooter trial is part of a wider initiative from the Department for Transport (DfT) which was accelerated as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The trial will help us respond to the immediate need to provide a clean and green alternative to public transport and car sharing for those travelling to work and undertaking essential journeys.
“Safety is paramount for this trial and we continue to work closely with the police and Voi to address anti-social and instances of misuse.
"This includes having a Voi Ambassadors presence in the various towns to monitor e-scooter activity.”
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