E-scooter trial put on hold in Coventry five days after rollout

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A 12-month trial of e-scooters has been paused five days into the scheme due to people riding them on pavements.

Coventry City Council has raised safety concerns amid reports they were being used in pedestrianised areas – against guidelines.

Some residents also complained about them being discarded across the city and people going the wrong way.

The authority made the decision to put the trial on hold while it reviews how e-scooters can be used “appropriately”.

The 200 e-scooters were deployed in Coventry and Birmingham, in the UK’s biggest trial of its kind, on Thursday.

Andy Street on an e-scooter

Sarah Gayton, a campaigner for the National Federation for the Blind, said she is relieved by the council’s action but wants the e-scooters to “disappear from the UK”.

“I was absolutely shocked to see riders going on the pavement, whizzing around, going the wrong way, scooters discarded all over the city centre,” she said.

‘Hell on two wheels’

Residents Emma Ward and Ricky Canley ltold the BBC they had seen the e-scooters “abandoned absolutely everywhere”.

Ms Ward said more thought needs to be given to how people travel around the city before they can work in Coventry while Mr Canley branded them “hell on two wheels”.

Although some electric scooters can exceed 30mph (48.3km/h), the ones unveiled by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) last week are limited to 15.5mph (24.9km/h).

TfWM said they are allowed on any 30mph or less road and a reduced speed limit of 5mph would be applicable in pedestrianised areas.

In the first few days of the trial, the authority said the e-scooters, provided by Swedish company Voi, has been “extremely popular” with more than 5,000 rides being taken in the city.

“The initial take-up has been encouraging but we need to ensure that the safety of all people using the city centre is protected and that the e-scooters are used in the proper way, hence our decision to pause the pilot until systems are improved,” the spokesperson added.

A Voi spokesperson said they regretted the decision to pause its service in Coventry but the company was “looking forward to resuming the service with enhanced measures in place to address the early observations from the trial”.

The e-scooter trial is still operating in Birmingham and is due to be rolled out elsewhere across the region in the coming months.

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