Brother of Northampton man, 75, who died after moving e-scooter calls on Prime Minister to end trials

"If you're going to have these scooters, have them used correctly. Not just ridden on the pavements, dumped everywhere."

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 1:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 5:22 pm
Philip Jones died in October last year

A Northampton man whose brother died after trying to move an e-scooter in the town is going to Westminster to demand that the Prime Minister stops the trials.

Dennis Jones told BBC Radio Northampton this morning (Tuesday, July 20) that he is taking a letter to Westminster today urging the government to bring an end to the Voi e-scooter trials in Northampton, which started in September 2020.

The reason Dennis is doing this is because his 75-year-old brother, Philip Jones, died of his injuries 12 days after trying to move an e-scooter, which was on the pavement and in his way on October 17 2020.

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At an inquest in April this year, the coroner ruled that Mr Jones' death was accidental.

However, Dennis said at the inquest: "If he didn't have to get off to move the Voi scooter I believe he would still be here today."

And now, months after his brother's death and subsequent inquest, Dennis is taking action.

Dennis said to the BBC: "My brother has directly died as a result of these e-scooters. They were actually brought in with no consultation. They litter the pavement.

"I would like to see the e-scooter trials stopped and re-looked at properly so there is proper legislation on them.

"The guy from Voi said 'if we put more legislation in, people won't use them'. Well good! If you're going to have these scooters, have them used correctly. Not just ridden on the pavements, dumped everywhere.

"It's an offence, actually, to block the pavement. No one takes a blind bit of notice, they just lay everywhere. It's ridiculous. We've got disabled people and blind people who can't seem them. It's just ridiculous."

Dennis also called on Northampton residents to become 'Philip's ambassadors' and report rule-breaking e-scooter use to the police.

He said: "Voi have ambassadors so I'm thinking of getting ambassador's for Phil.

"I would like the public to report every single one of these scooters not to Voi, but to the police, because it's an offence to leave it on the pavement abandoned. Let's see if we can get something done about them."

A Voi spokesperson said: "We at Voi are proud of the work that we have done with the 18 cities and towns and local authorities, as well as police forces across the country.

"The trials are continually being tweaked to respond to local feedback, with improvements to our operations, technology and infrastructure, from testing e-scooter sounds in Bristol to installing parking racks in cities including Northampton, Birmingham, Southampton and Portsmouth.

"Any death on the roads is tragic, but just like cyclists and pedestrians, e-scooter riders are also vulnerable road users. Dedicated riding space, as well as parking infrastructure, will help create an even safer system for bike and e-scooter users reversing car dependency and making cities safer, healthier and more sustainable for all.

"Almost all of our users are responsible riders, while by far and away, the majority of journeys on shared e-scooters end without incident.

"We will continue to work closely with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and other disability organisations, to understand the needs of vulnerable people, particularly those with mobility or visual impairments."

Councillor Phil Larratt, of WNC, said: “As the authority responsible for the environment and community safety we must strike a balance between both priorities.

“We remain committed to working with residents, Voi, Northants Police, the Government and those who use the scooters to ensure the best outcome for all, but with safety being the primary objective.”