THE National Federation of the Blind has called for transport minister Rachel Maclean to be ‘relieved of her duties’ following four deaths in four weeks they say are connected to the e-scooter trials.
In one case, recorded as accidental death, pensioner Philip Jones died after being injured when he tripped over a discarded e-scooter in Northampton.
His brother Dennis was at No10 Downing Street on Wednesday to hand in a petition calling for the e-scooter trials to be halted forthwith.
Mrs Maclean, who is MP for Redditch, is the government minister responsible for the trials.
Dennis said: “I was very close to my brother and he guided me as our father had died when I was 12.
“Phil used a mobility scooter and this was his lifeline for shopping, going out and taking on holidays.
“Blocking the pavement was one of the trial e-scooters, he attempted to move it but it was just too heavy.
“He fell back and broke his hip. I spoke to him in hospital, then after surgery and never spoke to him again, he died due to complications of the operation.
“Although the coroner reported an accidental death, it is clear my brother would still be alive if the e-scooter had not been blocking his path.”
“I owe it to Phil not to leave any stone unturned to establish why the e-scooter trial was allowed to operate in the way it did, by allowing riders to leave e-scooters wherever they wanted.”
Sarah Gayton, street access campaign co-ordinator for the National Federation of the Blind added: “Enough is enough, it’s time to halt the ongoing e-scooter trials.
“People are riding the e-scooters double, whizzing past pedestrians, pulling wheelies and skidding in front of them, as well as dumping the e-scooters on the pavements creating trip hazards and access barriers when they walk off and leave the e-scooter behind.
“It’s clear the Minister for Transport Rachel Maclean has not prioritised the safety and accessibility of pedestrians leaving vulnerable pedestrians to navigate a minefield of dangers.
The Minister has fundamentally failed at her job and needs to relieved of her position immediately.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Safety will always be our top priority and the trials currently taking place help us to better understand the benefits of e-scooters and their impact on public space.
“We continue to engage with vulnerable road user groups to help shape the rules, on top of existing safety features.”