IAM RoadSmart warns mixing e-scooters, vehicles and pedestrians on roads and pavements is a dangerous cocktail

With reports of a Government consultation on legalisation for e-scooters imminent, IAM RoadSmart has warned that the rise in the use of electric scooters alongside vehicles on our roads and pedestrians on our pavements is bad news for road safety.

Last March the Department for Transport promised a far-reaching regulatory review to clarify the law around the use of e-scooters.

The government said it plans to invest £90 million in towns and cities to test transport innovation, and the review will explore regulations around new types of vehicles including e-scooters and e-cargo bike trailers.

It has been widely reported that the Government is now set to issue a further consultation and appears to be considering legalising the use of e-scooters on pathways and public roads in an effort to encourage green transportation (reference 1).

However, IAM RoadSmart believes that e-scooters and their increasing popularity will lead to many people riding them on public roads alongside bigger and faster vehicles – and will put individuals, including the scooter users themselves, in great danger.

The UK’s biggest independent road safety charity welcomes a long-term approach to transport planning by the government, but new modes of transport need dedicated routes to be truly safe.

It added that there is an urgent need for users of e-scooters to embark on some level of basic rider training and awareness before they start.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Electric scooters are simply not safe enough to be on our roads alongside full size vehicles.

“Mixing with pedestrians is also potentially very unsafe in shared areas. As with cycling, the answer probably lies in dedicated safe infrastructure for vulnerable road users.  Allied to that there is an urgent need for more rider training, information on protective clothing and clarification of e-scooters’ legal status.”

Neil added: “While we welcome innovation, transport changes and trends are happening far faster than the network is developing to accommodate them.

“Another Christmas has come and gone where e-scooters have been bought in large numbers as gifts, and summer beckons, when they will be widely used. With the prospect of even more e-scooters on our roads, so the need for clarity is now even more urgent.”

No new smart motorways until they are ‘guaranteed safe’ says IAM RoadSmart

IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, has welcomed reports that the Government intends to halt all smart motorway building – stating they must be guaranteed safe before any further public money is invested in them.

In the House of Commons on Thursday (30 January) Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, said a £92 million project in Kent will not open to traffic while the dangers of the roads are being assessed.

Other smart motorways due to be completed this year are a 10-mile stretch of the M62 in Greater Manchester, an 11-mile stretch of the M23 near Gatwick Airport and a 13.6-mile stretch of the M6 between Coventry and Coleshill – as yet there is no word on whether these projects will be completed either.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “A stop on new smart motorways until they can be guaranteed safe and understandable for all users makes sense.

“Spending scarce resource on roads that may have to be upgraded again in a few months would be a complete waste of time and put drivers’ lives at risk.

“The focus must now be on quickly establishing what can be done to make existing smart motorways much safer. That must start with a programme to deliver the right detection technology and more frequent refuges, as well as safe completion of current ‘live’ projects”

He added: “Extended education campaigns can also start immediately as well as greater enforcement of Red X violations across the network.”

How to avoid becoming a victim of road rage: tips from IAM RoadSmart

Angry driver

Some of us have become victims of road rage at some point in our lives. If it happens it can easily leave you feeling intimidated and shaken. IAM RoadSmart has some useful advice if you ever find yourself in this situation.

  • If there’s conflict between two parties, there’s a likely chance you’ve both played a part. This doesn’t mean you should react. Try to take yourself away from the problem – let the other driver go on ahead. Even if you feel wronged, letting the other party go will make no difference to the rest of your day

  • Is someone being confrontational or aggressive? If so, don’t make eye contact and don’t react visibly. Try not to think about them so that the incident doesn’t affect you afterwards

  • If the other party is still being aggressive to you and you are in fear of your own safety, call the police

  • If the other party approaches you in your car, can you drive away safely? If you can, consider doing so. But don’t rush off and drive like the getaway driver in a film, or if you think the other driver is going to chase you. If they are chasing, stop in a busy public place and call for help

  • Do you have a passenger who can film any behaviour on a mobile phone? This will help in terms of evidence. Remember to include the registration number of the other vehicle involved

  • Don’t open your door, don’t open your windows fully and don’t start or get provoked into an argument, try to stay calm

  • If you were at fault, admit it and apologise. It may be enough to diffuse the situation quickly. And do not do anything that can be interpreted as retaliation. Even if you weren’t at fault, is the argument really worth it?

Hopefully by now the matter is over and you are driving away. Do acknowledge that this incident will have affected your behaviour. If you feel upset or emotional, pull over for some fresh air or walk around if you need to before resuming your journey.

Find a distraction like listening to the radio – move your mind deliberately onto something else and don’t dwell on the incident.

Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart head of driving and riding standards, said: “Road rage does not affect everyone every day. If you’re finding it is happening very often, you might want to think about how you engage with other road users.

He added: “Unlike pedestrians walking towards each other; who can easily get a feel of what the other person will do, where they might go or the mood they’re in, you have no such opportunities cocooned in your car.”

He concluded: “No-one needs to experience road rage, but it us up to each of us to ensure it stays that way. It is important not to be antagonistic or obstructive, perhaps making a person who is already having a bad day boil over.”

If you have friends or family who drive, please share these tips with them to help them stay safe on the road.

Dealing with low sun

Image result for driving with low sun
One of the biggest driving hazards at any time of year

Now that spring is here, the sun is rising earlier and flowers blooming. However, being dazzled by the sun can be a major distraction and is often a factor in summer collisions.

Even though we have many tools that aid in protecting us from the glare, we often forget to use them. This week’s tips give advice on how to stay safe on the road with the glare of the sun on rampage, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Keep your windscreen clean both inside and out; a dirty screen will magnify the glare.
  • On the outside check for chips or cracks, replace worn wiper blades and make sure your washer bottle is kept well topped up with good quality screen wash to help remove those summer bugs.
  • Keep a cloth or chamois to wipe away the dirt that builds up on the inside
  • Use your sun visor. It may sound pretty obvious but a surprising number of people forget.
  • Invest in polarised sunglasses and remember to take a rest. Your eyes will strain quickly if you are squinting. Read our sunglasses tips for more information.
  • If you are dazzled by the sun, slow down and leave extra space between yourself and the driver ahead. This will give you more time to regain full control and assess the situation.
  • Remember that when the sun is low behind you, you might be able to see just fine, but oncoming drivers might not see you.

Richard said: “It’s easy to get distracted when the sun is out and the world seems a better place. By keeping the screen clean and your view shaded where possible, you will give yourself the best chance of staying safe. If you are wearing sunglasses, bear in mind that the protection they offer will be magnified by any tinted windows and remember to keep them clean – it’s amazing how distorting a sun cream fog can be. Be ready to take them off in tunnels or shaded areas but keep them close to hand.” 

Do you want to find out more ways to stay safe on the road? Try our Advanced Driving Course and get the best out of yourself and your car.