Pedestrians hit out over 'menace' of e-scooters plaguing Lancaster's streets
Calls are being made for increased police patrols and for pedestrians and drivers to be made aware of a new 'menace' plaguing the roads and pavements of Lancaster and Morecambe.
There has been a recent rise in the use of electric scooters (or e-scooters) and there are fears that 'it's just a matter of time before someone is seriously injured by one of them'.
Local resident Colin Hewitt, who runs every day along the cycle path from Morecambe to Lancaster, has spoken of his close shaves with the speedy mode of transport, especially during the darker nights.
The 60-year-old is asking for more police patrols along the popular route or the introduction of initiatives in order to crackdown on the problem. He said: "There is a major problem of e-scooters on the public roads, particularly along the cycle way. I can only guess the speed, but should a person collide with one, I suspect it would cause serious injury, especially to an elderly person.
"The scooters are quiet so you cannot always tell that they are behind you. When it's dark and you are running, it's very difficult to hear them approaching."
He added: "I would like to see improved lighting and more signage educating riders that it is illegal to ride scooters in this area and to also make users aware of the problem to stop any future accidents. I have contacted the police about this problem too and am appealing for increased police patrols. I am happy to take part in initiatives to tackle this problem."
Similar fears have been expressed by Lib Dem councillor for Morecambe Town Council, Jim Pilling. He said: "I think that more could be done to inform people of the law on e-scooters. A public information campaign, backed up by signage in problem hotspots would help.
"E-scooters are regularly used on cycle tracks, public parks, the prom, pavements and even on roads and pose a real hazard to pedestrians. Because of their speed and silence, people are not aware of their presence until they overtake, especially when it is dark, and this is an obvious danger. Young children and dogs are particularly vulnerable because of their unpredictable movements. I urge action on this before a serious accident occurs."
It is not currently illegal to own an electric scooter, but they can only be legally used on private land by those aged 16 and over. If someone is riding a private e-scooter on public roads, they could face fines and vehicle seizures over their misuse. Because many e-scooters don’t have visible rear lights, the ability to signal or number plates, they cannot be used legally on roads.
A spokesman for Lancaster City Council, said: "It is an offence to use privately owned e-scooters anywhere within the Lancaster district other than on private land.
"As a member of the Lancaster District Community Safety Partnership we will continue to work with the police to remind local residents that e-scooters are not permitted to be used on our roads, pavements, promenades and in our parks, but enforcement of the legislation is the remit of the police."