Just five days after it launched, a Voi e-scooter trial in Coventry has been suspended due to concerns about users riding on the pavement.
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Coventry City Council say that although the trial was popular, with 5,000 rides taken since Thursday, numerous incidents of e-scooters being used in pedestrianised areas were reported, which has led to the suspension of the scheme.
A Coventry City Council spokesperson said: “The trial has been introduced to identify the safest way that e-scooters can be used going forward so it’s right to pause the scheme if concerns are being raised.
“The initial take-up has been encouraging but we need to ensure that the safety of all people using the city centre is protected and that the e-scooters are used in the proper way, hence our decision to pause the pilot until systems are improved."
Voi's contract for shared e-scooters in the West Midlands was the largest in Europe, and began in Birmingham and Coventry on 10th September. They're also set to land in West Bromwich, Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Warwickshire in the coming weeks.
Voi have maintained that it "prioritises working closely with councils and safety of all riders and road users", commenting: "While we regret the pause to our service, we reiterate our desire and willingness to work with all local stakeholders to deliver a safe and successful trial that meets the council's objectives and confirms micromobility as a sustainable, safe and attractive mode for Coventry's citizens.
“We look forward to resuming the service with enhanced measures in place to address the early observations from the trial”.
Commenting on the news, Tom McPhail of e-scooter and e-bike retailer Pure Electric said: “Data from elsewhere in the world has already shown electric scooters are no more dangerous than cycling. Car drivers sometimes don’t stick to speed limits and cyclists occasionally ride on pavements. None of these activities are a good thing and happily most people do respect the rules most of the time. We’ve already got a pretty good idea about what the electric scooter rules should look like and these trials will help refine that understanding.”
“We’d like the government to confirm they will be legislating as soon as possible, so that we can bring legal clarity to the situation.”