‘DANGEROUS’ electric scooters should be taken off the streets, according to a campaign group for blind people after a recent incident saw a man nearly lose his foot while riding one.
The National Federation for the Blind has long since stressed the dangers of e-scooters to pedestrians and riders, but campaign co-ordinator Sarah Gayton said a recent incident in Bolton-upon-Dearne was a stark reminder of the destruction they can cause.
Luke Barratt is still coming to terms with life-changing injuries he sustained in an accident involving one of the machines on October 26.
Luke, of Campion Close, picked up the scooter after a bout of leukaemia saw his mobility limited, so he could continue to see family who live nearby.
But he now believes they should be banned, after the incident on Carr Field Lane saw the scooter swept out from under him and sent crashing back down onto his ankle which was almost completely severed by the force.
“I just misjudged the kerb, and went flying up in the air,” said the 31-year-old who needed several hours-long surgeries afterwards.
“The scooter carried on going and came down on my fibula and tibia. It almost pulled my foot off.
“I wasn’t aware exactly how quick it went and what the consequences would be.
“I tried to get back on it at first, but then I realised my leg was in one place and my foot was in another.
“I’m lucky there were two or three people there. I got rushed to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield and straight into emergency surgery.
“I’m still in pain - I wouldn’t wish the pain on my worst enemy.
“I’m in remission from leukaemia and I thought it was a quick and easy aid for me.”
Under current law, e-scooters are treated the same way as motor vehicles when on public land meaning they’re only legal for use on roads, not pavements, and must have MOTs, tax and insurance like cars and motorbikes.
A shake-up is expected this year, given e-scooters’ popularity and the fact it’s completely legal to buy one in spite of the restrictions over their use.
“I don’t think they’re safe, I won’t be riding it again,” said Luke.
“I don’t think they need to be controlled I think they need to be banned.”
Sarah said the charity has been compiling dozens of records of similar incidents to highlight the need for more stringent restrictions, given the dangers posed to pedestrians including blind people, their support animals and people with other disabilities and riders.
“These are not safe machines and people underestimate how dangerous they are,” she added.
“They need to be off the streets.”
Luke’s scooter was able to travel 20mph but police said some models can move at three times that speed.
Inspector Jason Booth from South Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Group said: “Some models can reach speeds of more than 70mph and can be incredibly dangerous if safety measures are not followed.
“If you are going to ride one legally on private land then we would strongly encourage you to wear appropriate safety protection, such as a helmet and also consider other people around you.
“Please don’t put yourself or others at risk through inappropriate use, especially if you are riding a model that can reach the top speeds.
“Our officers are also on hand to provide advice and reassurance around these too if you see one being used out and about.”