Royal Parks says it has no intention to allow electric scooters due to their speed and stealth

  Posted: 18.05.21 at 16:57 by Jessica Broadbent

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The Royal Parks has put its foot down on the use of e-scooters inside Richmond Park and its other public spaces due to concerns over the devices' speed and stealth.

It says that e-scooters would cause too much disruption in its parks and green spaces, where pedestrians have priority.

The statement comes as Transport for London (TfL) confirmed a year-long London-wide trial of an e-scooter scheme to start on June 7.

Today The Royal Parks told the Evening Standard: “We will watch the London trial with interest, but we do not permit – and we have no plans to permit – the use of e-scooters in the parks.

“The parks and other open spaces we care for are principally places for quiet recreation and where pedestrians have priority.

“It is important that all our visitors feel safe in the parks and we believe that the speed and stealth of e-scooters will have a negative impact on people’s experience of the parks, particularly those with young families, with mobility challenges or with a visual or hearing impairment.

The Royal Parks say its parks are principally places for quiet recreation

“Allowing e-scooters to operate in the parks could discourage those who wish to walk to and through the parks and undermine the ambience of the green spaces."

Richmond council said it had also designated the Thames towpath as a “no go” zone for e-scooters.

The trial, led by Transport for London and London Councils, will allow riders to use electric scooters on roads and cycleways and is designed to see if they can be safely accommodated as part of London’s wider transport network.

The London trial follows others in over 40 towns and cities across the UK, and the government is considering legalising e-scooters on UK roads.

Last August the Royal Parks launched its Movement Strategy trial to create new car-free spaces in Richmond and Bushy Parks and reduce the volume of through-traffic.

The current trial scheme in Richmond Park will end in March 2022, and restricts all through-traffic between Broomfield Hill Car Park and Robin Hood Car Park and closes the vehicle link between Sheen Gate and Sheen Cross.

Some have argued that the use of e-scooters in Royal Parks could have a positive impact by reducing the amount of cars driving through.

The e-scooters will have a limit of 12.5mph, and riders will have to complete an e-learning safety course before they hire for the first time.

They must have front and rear lights that are always switched on.

Others are more cautious about the safety of the scooters, following several deaths including YouTube star Emily Hartridge, who was the first person to be killed while riding an e-scooter in the UK in July 2019.

Hartridge crashed while riding a privately-owned scooter in Battersea.

The Royal Parks has been firm in its stance since the announcement of London's e-scooter trial.

At the end of 2020 it said in a statament: "The Royal Parks (TRP) supports the use of sustainable transport modes for those who travel to our parks and has published a Movement Strategy setting out its aspirations." (This can be read here.)

"The parks and other open spaces we care for are principally places for quiet recreation and where pedestrians have priority.

"For that reason TRP has concerns about any proposals to legalise the use of e-scooters.

"We believe that the speed and stealth of the scooters presents an unacceptable risk to pedestrians, particularly those with mobility challenges, or with a visual or hearing impairment.

"Allowing e-scooters to operate in the parks could therefore discourage those who wish to walk to and through the parks and undermine the peace and ambience of the green spaces.

"TRP does not, and has no plans to, permit the use of e-scooters on the land it manages."

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