We’d long assumed that the bicycle was the Daily Mail’s most detested form of transportation. Turns out we were wrong.
Affordable and environmentally friendly – of course the Mail hates e-scooters. The only real surprise is that the dislike appears to be so deep and ferociously-held that it can actually translate into unprecedented sympathy for a cyclist.
At least that’s what we’re taking from a recent article headlined, “Moment a man on e-scooter hurtling down the road illegally smashes into a cyclist and knocks the rider flying on busy high street.”
One of the quotes reproduced from ‘social media’ about the incident even seems to be repurposed from an anti-cycling article: “People on scooters act like they own the road/pavements!” says the anonymous complainant.
The audience thus primed, the newspaper then breaks the news of London’s e-scooter trials.
In a sign of what’s to come as those trials get underway, this article was followed three days later by, “E-scooters 'are 100 times more dangerous than bicycles', admit transport chiefs – as trials for the vehicles begin in London next month.”
That statistic comes from within a 136-page Transport for London (TfL) report. It is based on US data, which found that e-scooter riders needed hospital treatment after accidents every 3.1 years on average. (A rate equating to 2.2 to 2.5 injuries per 10,000 trips.)
Conceding that comparisons between countries are “incredibly difficult,” TfL sets this alongside the number of cyclists killed or seriously hurt in London – 0.027 per 10,000 journeys.
The woolliness of those figures is of course one of the reasons why a 12-month e-scooter trial is taking place.
The article then quotes Sarah Gayton, street access campaign co-ordinator at the National Federation of the Blind and Matthew Scott, the Police and Crime Commissioner in Kent – neither of whom are especially positive about the trial.
Gayton says it is, “pure recklessness for the trials to start in London and we would ask TfL to withdraw from them.”
Scott says: “We’re in danger of... placing additional burdens on policing. Too many people are using them in places they shouldn’t.”
The piece then finishes with a somewhat perfunctory quote from a TfL spokesperson, who says: “We’re determined to make sure London’s trial of rental e-scooters is safe and operators taking part meet the highest possible standards.”