By Charlotte Platten, Account Manager
If there is one thing to start a pub brawl at the Cratus Friday drinks, it’s striking up a conversation about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) and E-Scooters. We are not the only ones that have strong opinions on these subjects, despite the nation coming together in the face of a pandemic, LTN’s and E-Scooters have sparked passionate debate and divided opinion. Why are people so divided and is there a solution for harmony?
As a resident of a LTN, cyclist and passionate hater of E-scooters I have, maybe, already made up my mind on these divisive subjects, but it doesn’t mean I am right…
Aside from those with medical needs, I find it hard to believe that anyone who lives in London (zones 1-3) ‘needs’ a car. What I completely understand and have found useful myself, is access to a vehicle for trips and specific activities – hence the popularity of car clubs such as ZipCar. With the effects of the pandemic seeing more people shopping locally, the use for cars dropped dramatically and Councils took up the opportunity to try and reduce traffic and pollution on specific residential streets.
On paper, and as a LTN resident myself, they have transformed my street, like many others, into a quieter, greener and more pleasant place to live. However, if you speak to residents one street, or several, over from a LTN, they have seen an increase in traffic, pollution and noise. So, what can councils do to get people out of their cars and using alternative methods of transport, as making it more difficult and less convenient to drive seems to not be the answer. Maybe, and I hate to say it, E-scooters are part of the answer.
Most people in the UK will now be familiar with E-Scooters as they zip around our towns and cities. They have become a popular method of transport, particularly in London, despite the fact that private use of E-scooters in public places is illegal. Like electric bikes, they increase the distance an individual can travel without using a car or public transport. This is clearly a good thing, as they are a green way of travelling. However, E-Scooters have developed a bad reputation amongst some people, which puts many off using them.
Their rise in popularity has led five London Boroughs and some authorities outside to trial rental schemes of E-Scooters. Confusingly, the only E-scooters that can be used on public roads are those rented as part of these government-backed trials. The locate, use and drop system of using them has been successful with some bike schemes, however, there have already been reports of these scooters dumped at the sides of roads and cluttering up pavements. Their success depends on how these trials go, but with there being little the police can do to fully crack down on the illegal use of E-scooters, I think they are here to stay.
Whilst it is clear that LTN and E-Scooters create greener and quieter streets, they also throw up some challenges that need to be both acknowledged and worked through to ensure greater support for these initiatives. With both likely to be a feature of the future, there needs to be better communication, education and a coordinated response to combat the challenges that they bring.