E-SCOOTERS were described as “a danger” at Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council, as calls were made for their regulation.
Councillor Gerry Flynn called on the Transport Minister “to urgently put regulations in place to protect members of the public from the users of these vehicles on public roads and footpaths”.
His motion added that “some serious issues are materialising for vulnerable people and the use of guide dogs by the visually impaired is being compromised by the presence of these vehicles on footpaths”.
Among those who spoke in favour of the motion was Councillor Johnny Flynn who shared his own experience of narrowly avoiding being knocked down by an e-scooter.
Councillor Gerry Flynn noted that regulation of e-scooters, as mechanically propelled vehicles, is not due to be put in place until next year.
“They have been set loose on the public without regulations,” he said.
“The Minister for Transport has created huge issues for the public. These things are mechanical vehicles, but the soundings from the minister is that no regulations will be put in place until 2023.
“What about accidents and vulnerable people? The use of guide dogs, in particular, is being seriously compromised by these scooters.”
The motion was seconded by Councillor Donna McGettigan.
“At the Mater Hospital, one in five people who have been in a collision with an e-scooter are unconscious. That will tell you how serious they can be. They are a danger. I can’t really hear them coming up behind me. Something needs to be done.”
Councillor Ann Norton said a lot of younger people are using these scooters to get to work.
“In the cities they’re being used a lot more because of traffic,” she said.
“Unfortunately, they are having huge effects on people. Some are on the footpaths and I’m not sure if that’s legal or illegal. They come up beside you.
“There is a fear of someone whipping by and snatching your bag or knocking you over. That’s serious enough, but guide dogs are trained very specifically. They need to hear their environment and understand.
“I know people without peripheral vision and this is causing huge anxiety. People who have them should know the laws.”
Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy noted concerns about insurance.
“We can only hope Minister will regulate,” she said. “We’re not looking for a ban.”
Councillor Johnny Flynn said he had nearly being knocked down by an e-scooter.
“I didn’t see the user at a blind spot on the patch,” he said. “I managed to avoid being struck, but there are people who are more vulnerable. I have also seen them on roads without lighting or anything to improve visibility.”
Councillor Michael Begley said a lot of e-scooter users were younger children.
“I’ve often seen two children on one e-scooter,” he said. “Parental control must be applied too.”