Northamptonshire promotes respect between road users during this year’s Road Safety Week
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Organisations across Northamptonshire are uniting to promote respect between road users during this year’s Road Safety Week, with a particular focus on e-scooters.
From 15-21 November, road safety charity Brake is holding its annual week of awareness-raising and this year, Northamptonshire Police, West Northants Council, North Northants Council, and e-scooter company Voi, are uniting to promote respect between motorists and e-scooter users.
The popularity of e-scooters has grown substantially in recent years with people able to hire them in towns and cities across the world. It provides a zero-carbon and clean form of transport and is very topical at the moment with the current focus on COP26 in Glasgow and the associated call to reduce emissions and their harmful impacts.
In Northamptonshire, the e-scooter company – Voi, the largest micro-mobility operator in Europe, runs a service scheme that allows users to pay for scooters via its app. The trial scheme has proved popular locally with over one million rides already undertaken, in place of an estimated 560,000 short car journeys.
PC Dave Lee from Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team said: “We want to use this opportunity to encourage users of Voi e-scooters to follow all of the rules, including not riding them on the pathways.
“Equally, we want the drivers of cars to pass scooter users safely, leaving a gap of at least 1.5 metres when doing so.
“A lot of work has gone into promoting safe e-scooter use in the county and we are aware that more needs to be done. This is the start of that work and just by taking that bit of extra care and looking out for your fellow road users, you can help us make the roads a safer place for everyone.”
Councillor Phil Larratt, West Northamptonshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Climate, Transport, Highways and Waste, said: “The trial has been a success so far, with more and more people choosing to use the Voi e-scooters as a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around.
“Safety is really important to us, which is why we’ve been working with Voi and the police on a number of initiatives, including new scooter racks, the ‘end of ride’ photo feature, an online reporting tool to prevent misuse, and a series of free safety events.
“Road Safety Week is the ideal time to promote respect between motorists and e-scooter users, and I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the rules of use as well as the safety advice that's being offered.”
Cllr Graham Lawman, North Northamptonshire Executive member for Transport, Highways and Assets, said: “I’m delighted to support Road Safety Week and would encourage anyone who uses e-scooters to do so sensibly.
“While the scooters do have lights, it’s important to also wear some sort of reflective clothing to increase visibility and also wear a helmet. Drivers too have their part to play by watching out for people on scooters and keeping their distance, particularly when there’s poor visibility.”
Matthew Pencharz, Voi’s Head of Public Policy for UK, Ireland & Benelux, said:
“Safety is at the forefront of everything we do at Voi, and we address it in three ways: education, operations and technology. Our priority is keeping riders, pedestrians and other road users safe so everyone can enjoy this sustainable mode of transport, replacing short car rides and reducing congestion and pollution.
“We want safer streets, so this is why we work closely with the police and the local authorities to ensure riders know their responsibilities. We organise frequent in-person and online safety events, and combine technology features such as the ‘Beginners Mode’, ‘Helmet Selfie’, ‘End of Ride photo’ and geofencing, with staff on the ground and number plates on all our vehicles, to ensure users follow the rules before, after and during their ride.
“We know the vast majority of users think and act safely, but as the nights draw in and the weather changes, we want to reiterate the importance to all our riders that adhering to the rules is for everyone’s safety.”
Rules when riding a Voi e-scooter:
• Riders can earn credits for free rides if they complete Voi’s Ride Like Voila online safety school: https://ridelikevoila.com/enter • You must be aged 18 or over with at least a provisional driving license to ride the e-scooters, and riders should wear a helmet • When a user first rides a Voi e-scooter, ID verification is completed by Onfido to ensure the account holder is the person riding the scooter • Only the account holder can ride an e-scooter and only one person per e-scooter (no tandem riding) • The scooters must be used on roads or cycle lanes. Riding on the pavement is illegal • Riding a scooter under the influence is illegal and if caught, you will be arrested for drink driving. Voi encourages responsible riding and offers a 'reaction time test' feature that aims to discourage drunk riding. Should a rider fail the reaction test, they are presented with a Google search for local taxis • Voi encourages everyone to report instances of anti-social behaviour or misuse via their “report a scooter” page: voiscooters.com/report/uk so appropriate action can be taken. Users face temporary or permanent bans if they do not follow the e-scooter usage rules • More information on safety can be found on Voi’s website here: https://www.voiscooters.com/ride-safe/
It is illegal to use a private e-scooter on public land including roads or pavements. Unlawful use can result in fines, points on your driving licence, or confiscation of the vehicle. Moreover, should you have an accident, you are not insured if riding a private e-scooter.