Blind girl says e-scooters have made her walk to school 'dangerous'

E-scooters are becoming popular in many cities across the UK.

A blind girl from Bath has claimed that her walk to school has become "dangerous" and "challenging" because of e-scooters.

Hester Poole, 14, has less than 5% vision and uses a long cane in unfamiliar areas. Despite this she has been able to learn her walk to the school she attends, King Edward's in Claverton Down.

Miss Poole said that being able to walk herself is important for her independence but e-scooters left across pavements or erratic drivers are causing her problems.

Voi introduced e-scooters to Bath and Bristol in October of last year and they have become popular for people in the cities.

Hester Poole said that she doesn't think people understand "challenges" presented by e-scooters.

"I do not think people understand the challenges e-scooters present to someone like me," she said.

"When I made the shift to secondary school, I took time out of my summer holidays to plan my route and learn it.

"It's a very long drawn out process that took weeks and weeks."

Hester mapped the route out by regularly walking it before she started at the school with the assistance of a guide dog.

"It's very challenging when they are parked across the pavement or even being driven on them which they aren't meant to do."

Not only does Hester struggle to see scooters but she also says the lack of noise causes her problems as well.

"They are also so silent, I found it very hard during the winter when it was dark too," she continued.

"I think walking is an incredibly green activity and that's what I am trying to do.

"I'd also like to stress that this problem doesn't only affect me but any disabled person, mums with buggies, elderly people."I think there needs to be better parking areas and greater awareness about how to use them."

E-scooters near Bath Bus Station. Credit: ITV West Country

Back when e-scooters were first introduced, The National Federation of the Blind of the UK called for the trial to be halted after reports across the country of users getting into serious accidents.Hester's mother Sarah said that the scooters are proving extremely "challenging" for her daughter.

"It is concerning but it's also very frightening and unnerving for her when they are drivenon the pavement."

What have Voi said?

A spokesperson for Voi said that its number one priority is the "safety of its riders, pedestrians and other road users."

They said: "In Bath, we have mandatory parking zones and users are required to park their scooters in these areas.

"Voi takes action if users do not follow the e-scooter usage and parking guidelines."Our end of ride photo feature, requires users to take a photo at the end of each ride. Users who let e-scooters lying down on the floor, parked in a way that is obstructing the pavement and causing an obstacle to pedestrians, strollers or wheelchairs, will receive an email containing a warning and an educational message.""After the first warning, riders who park their vehicles incorrectly will receive a £25 fine."

"We are working hard with local councils across the country to ensure that riders know their responsibilities and do not participate in anti-social behaviour or pavement cluttering."

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