E-scooters and similar lightweight, small, convenient types of electric vehicles could transform our transport system making urban transport less polluting, less noisy, less space-consuming, less dominating of our urban spaces.
But they need to be used in the right places and that isn't on footpaths.
With e-scooters being allowed on footpaths in Auckland for another period, as well as in other major and increasingly smaller centres, the threat to pedestrian safety and feeling of safety is getting more severe. This is particularly the case for older people, people caring for young children, and temporary or permanently disabled people but affects everyone who uses footpaths.
If people aren't safe or don't feel safe on footpaths then they are less likely to use them. For many people who depend on footpaths to get about, this could deprive them of the ability to go shopping, visit friends, get to work and to be part of their communities. Others may be put off walking for exercise which makes a hugely important contribution to maintaining people's health.
'We support these new forms of mobility but only if they are kept off footpaths. Footpaths are for people on foot and for people using mobility aids such as wheelchairs and white canes. Vehicles capable of high speeds (25-45 km/h) are incompatible with people capable of walking at only 3-5km/h. There is no way to enforce speed limits on footpaths so thinking it's okay as long as riders don't go more than 10 km/h is nonsense. And relying on people being caring and considerate is naivety.' says Dr. Chris Teo-Sherrell, convenor of the Footpaths4feet coalition.
The Footpaths4feet coalition* is running a petition to Parliament asking it to ensure that there are safe places created on-road for e-scooters and other such vehicles to use and that they be banned from being ridden on footpaths.
This is the final week for the petition and we encourage everyone concerned about keeping footpaths safe to sign it on the parliamentary petitions webpage (search for footpaths4feet on Parliament's frontpage www.parliament.nz... )
The Footpaths4feet coalition* is made up of Living Streets Aotearoa, Grey Power, Age Concern NZ, CCS Disability Action, Alzheimers NZ, Blind and Low Vision NZ, Association of Blind Citizens, Visual Impairment Charitable Trust Aotearoa, Retina NZ, Deaf Action, Health Action Trust, Dunedin Pedestrian Action Network, Disabled Persons Assembly
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