Wheelchair user urges riders to stop leaving e-scooters on footpaths all over Milton Keynes

Carelessly-abandoned scooters are a real hazard for people in wheelchairs

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 12:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 12:56 pm

Hired e-scooters abandoned in the middle of pavements and footpaths are causing havoc for wheelchair users all over MK.

Trying to negotiate around the scooters is dangerous and often impossible, said one disabled man who has daily problems with the machines while out on his daily jaunts.

Tony Richardson, 55, regularly has his route blocked by scooters 'parked' on their side in the middle of a footpath, across a gateway or at a junction.

Double trouble
Double trouble

He already takes a tumble from his wheelchair at least once a month due to the lack of dropped kerbs around MK. But now the e-scooter obstacles are making his problems even worse.

During one outing, Tony took photos of a dozen different scooters - all of them blocking his route and forcing him to steer up onto grass or a kerb.

"The e-scooter hire scheme is not a bad idea in itself, but monitoring of their misuse seems to be non-existent," he said.

"I like to try and get out, to keep fit, as much as I can. The feel good chemicals are my hit, from exercise and social interaction. But the last thing I need are yet more obstacles...How can anyone think that a scooter sat in the middle of the path is okay?"

Tony regularly takes a tumble when he's forced to swerve up a kerb

Tony added: "The Parks Trust has told me that scooter users are asked to photograph the scooters as they’ve left them. If this is actually happening, why then are the scooter companies not taking action against the last user?"

Around 900 e-scooters are available for hire in MK as part of a 12 month trial launched last summer.

MK Council has established a Stakeholder Advisory Group, with representatives form police, scooter hire firms, the Parks Trust and disabled groups to assess the impact of e-scooters on the disabled community an also people who are visually impaired.

The council's guidelines on parking scooters state: "Users will be guided and instructed on where to leave scooters so that they do not cause obstruction to others. This means leaving at the side of a Redway or open space at a destination. Users will be encouraged to leave scooters in appropriate places through rewards (reduced future rides for example). Users are encouraged to take a photo of the parked scooter to help identify good parking. Ultimately if users persistently leave scooter in inappropriate places they can be ‘banned’ from the scheme."

This scooter completely blocked the footpath for Tony's wheelchair
Obstructing an underpass
Another inaccessible path
Another offender