e-scooter operator Lime responds to concerns of blind people

e-bike and e-scooter operator Lime, which is currently running e-scooter trials in Salford and Milton Keynes, has responded to the concerns of blind and partially sighted people by developing new safety messaging for riders and committing to explore options for an acoustic vehicle alert system.

In partnership with Sight Loss Councils, Lime has implemented new safety advisory messages in its app to alert riders to look out for people with visual impairments and be aware not all disabilities are visible.  It also agreed to work with Sight Loss Councils to explore options for acoustic vehicle alert systems on its e-scooters.

There are more than two million blind and partially sighted people in the UK and the increased use of e-scooters has raised safety concerns that they are fast, difficult to hear and riders may not be aware they are approaching a pedestrian with a visual impairment.

North West Sight Loss Councils Engagement Manager Matt Cliff met with representatives of Lime and highlighted the safety concerns of people with visual impairments.  He said: “We are grateful to Lime for listening to our concerns and recognising our shared focus in designing practical solutions to the problems our members face.”

Alan Clarke, Lime’s Director for Policy and Government Affairs in UK, Ireland and the Nordics added: “We know that for our schemes to provide a long-term sustainable solution to the transport problems facing UK towns and cities, they need to be designed and delivered in a way that benefits all. We’re proud to be working with Sight Loss Councils to develop practical solutions to the problems posed to blind and partially sighted people by shared micromobility schemes and look forward to continuing our work together on these important issues.”

Mike Bell, Senior Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager from Sight Loss Councils added: “Blind and partially sighted pedestrians use mobility aids and sound to navigate the built environment. The introduction of silent, heavy and fast vehicles represents a real danger and creates understandable fears among visually impaired people. It is vital that e-scooter operators understand this and make sure that users receive advice and training to raise awareness and improve safety.”

Sight Loss Councils, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust and led by blind and partially sighted volunteers, have been reaching out to e-scooter operators across the country to promote e-scooter safety, as part of their #StreetsForAll campaign; a campaign raising awareness of the challenges of inaccessible streets for blind and partially sighted pedestrians.

Publication date: 10 December 2020

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