Northampton residents are calling for a crackdown on the “irresponsible” use of legal Voi scooters and illegal private scooters across the town.
The Voi scooters were first introduced in the town in September 2020, and many believe they are causing chaos for both road users and pedestrians.
One Abington resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “Since the arrival of legal scooters, it has opened the floodgates on the private scooter influx.
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“They have been given implicit permission to ride around because they know there won’t be any consequences.”
A Freedom of Information request made by a resident to the Northamptonshire Police revealed, as of February 2022, 192 formal actions had been taken against Voi scooter riders for illegal use in the last year.
As well as that, 18 private e-scooters had been seized by the police in public places and 12 police operations had been run to enforce legal use during the same time period.
The resident who requested the information said: “It didn’t surprise me that so little had been done by the police.
“For a town that cracks down on irresponsible drivers on the roads, there is a disproportionate lack of activity on e-scooters.
“There needs to be a threat of punishment to get through to people.”
The Abington resident – who claims to see 10 scooters an hour pass their house – now drives to take their two dogs to the local park.
They said: “Riding scooters on the pavement causes aggravation to my dogs and if they were to be hit, the consequences would be awful.”
In response to the claims about e-scooters, a Northamptonshire Police spokesperson said: “Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams spend a lot of time patrolling their local areas and will always listen to concerns raised within the community – the misuse of these e-scooters being one.
“We will always look to take positive action, as well as educate riders who are spotted riding any electric scooter inappropriately – such as on a pavement. However, using private e-scooters on public roads is illegal and riders are not covered by insurance companies.
“Officers will stop riders and seize e-scooters when the opportunity arises, so we would urge anyone thinking of buying one to reconsider as there’s a very strong possibility it will be seized and if caught, they could face points on their driving licence and a possible fine.”
Also responding to the claims, a Voi spokesperson said: “Our number one priority is safety, which is why we take a leading role in driving up safety industry standards and ensuring the overwhelming majority of Voi riders act in a safe and responsible manner.
“Voi fits number plates to all its e-scooters, offers online and in-person safety education, and operates a tough ‘three strikes’ policy, through which incidents of misuse will lead to warnings, fines and even permanent bans, to encourage safe riding.
“We can see the future as being able to conveniently access zero-emission, lightweight alternatives to polluting motor vehicles.”
However, Voi believes “this can only be achieved with strict provisions holding those riding private e-scooters, which are illegal in public spaces, to the same accountability as Voi riders to ensure the safety of pedestrians and other road users in Northampton”.