WARY Slough residents question the safety of the newly introduced e-scooters following hazard concerns.

Last month, Slough Borough Council (SBC) became one of 13 cities and towns in the UK to take part in the e-scooter rental scheme approved by the Department for Transport.

In partnership with Neuron, they have deployed over 250 brightly orange e-scooters across Slough in over 60 parking areas.

Since the trial began, their usage prompted fears as reports claim some users have been using them ‘dangerously’ such as causing damage to motorists’ vehicles or people abandoning the scooters on pavements or in front of people’s driveways.

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SBC and Neuron, who deemed the scheme an ‘overwhelming success’, released a joint statement saying these issues are “minor” – but they do re-educate or even out right ban users from the service if found to be continually breaking the rules, or have been found to have ridden dangerously.

They stated: “In Slough we have implemented no go zones and no parking zones as well as ‘dedicated parking stations’. We take parking compliance very seriously, and this is covered clearly in the riding rules to which every Neuron user agrees before using our service.

“While we can’t eliminate bad parking entirely, we continue to introduce measures to reduce it as much as possible.

“Our operation teams work around the clock repositioning e-scooters safely, and we prioritise reports of bad parking and rectify the issues as quickly as possible.”

SBC fully supported the scheme in hopes it would encourage people to get out of their cars and use alternative and greener methods of travel as well as to combat air pollution.

Are they legal?

Just like other European cities, the Department for Transport has launched a year-long e-scooter rental scheme across the UK to encourage greener travel.

It is illegal to use a privately-owned e-scooter on public roads, pavements, and cycle lanes.

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The rented e-scooters are legal in their trial areas and can only be used on Slough’s roads and bus lanes – including the controversial A4 bus lane.

They also cannot be used on pavements even where cycle are permitted.

Who can use the e-scooters?

Riders must be at least 18 years and own a valid provisional or full drivers’ license where their license details must be inputted into the Neuron app before the e-scooter is unlocked.

Earlier this month, SBC announced NHS and emergency workers were given free monthly passes to use the e-scooters.

Are they safe?

Slough Borough Council reported they can go up to 15.5mph for an experienced rider and a 9mph top speed for beginners.

In their joint statement, SBC and Neuron said: “So far we have had only a very small number of reports of minors using our e-scooters or third party damage.”

Each e-scooter has a registration plate and is GPS-connected, and every trip is logged which helps identify anyone behaving irresponsibly.

There have been no official tallies on how many people have been killed or injured – but there have been a number of studies on this where at least 29 people had died in e-scooter accidents in the US since 2018.

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While wearing a helmet is recommended, it is not mandatory for a rider to wear one.

Misha Byrne, senior transport planner at SBC, said: “Helmets, I think, are quite difficult at this time because of Covid.

“People are maybe reluctant to use them because of Covid and so, we wouldn’t have a campaign or promotion around that at this time.

“As Covid passes, then that’s something we will return to.”

She added Neuron staff do disinfect all the e-scooters on a daily basis where they track which scooter has been used and which hasn’t.

Can fines be issued?

Users found using e-scooters outside their trial areas can be fined with a possible £300 fixed penalty notice and six points to their driving license, if they have one.

If I spot someone using an e-scooter irresponsibly, who should I contact?

You can call or email Neuron where they can ‘quickly investigate’ and ‘take necessary action’ where required.

You can call on +44 1753 981188 or by emailing sloughsupport@neuron.sg