Will Camden join the e-scooter trials that launched in parts of the capital last month? One Hampstead residents group hopes not, citing concerns about “e-scooter enabled crime.”
E-scooters are now available to rent in London after three operators – Dott, Lime and Tier – were selected by Transport for London and London Councils to conduct 12-month trials.
Scooters were initially available to rent in Ealing; Hammersmith and Fulham; Kensington and Chelsea; and Richmond.
The City of London, Southwark and some parts of Lambeth have since joined them.
Ham&High reports that Camden Council is running a consultation until July 12 on whether e-scooters should be trialled there.
However, Susan West, chair of the Hampstead Town Safer Neighbourhood Panel, believes they could lead to a rise in crime, and says they pose a “significant” risk to pedestrians.
“My fear is that our over-stretched police will not have the resources to tackle e-scooter use on pavements or e-scooter enabled crime,” she said. “E-scooter and bike riding on pavements has become so commonplace that pedestrians tend not to notice, consequently becoming less vigilant and more vulnerable to robbery.”
This position echoes one of the findings of a recent survey, which found that 38% of people are worried that e-scooters will cause an increase in crime.
The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum was a little more open-minded about the prospect of a scheme. The group says it supports measures likely to reduce motor traffic, but nevertheless expressed concerns over the safety of e-scooters in Hampstead’s “narrow, crowded and hilly streets”.
As with the trials underway elsewhere in the country, London’s e-scooters are only permitted on roads and cycleways – not on footways.
Scooters are also restricted to a maximum speed of 12.5mph with lights at the front and rear remaining on throughout any rental and with audible warning systems in place that can be used without the rider adjusting their grip of the handlebars.
Most schemes also make use of geo-fencing technology to limit e-scooters’ speeds in certain areas or even to switch off the motor altogether.
Commenting on the consultation, Camden Council’s cabinet member for transport, Adam Harrison, said: “We want our streets to have more space for everyone to walk and cycle, for you to be breathing cleaner air, for children to get to and from school safely and for businesses to be able to flourish.
“We are looking carefully at whether rental e-scooters could be part of this effort, by enabling an alternative mode of transport that is emission-free and reducing the number of motor vehicles on our streets.
“Rental e-scooters – in contrast to those privately owned ones that have proliferated recently – would be trackable and would have to be parked in designated bays.”