Bucks Council defends e-scooter rollout despite series of safety concerns raised by resident

A loophole allowed someone to dump a scooter in a river in Bucks untracked
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Bucks Council has defended its e-scooter rollout despite one resident raising a series of safety concerns regarding how the vehicles are used throughout the county.

Of particular concern was the fact that Zipp Mobility, the company that manufactures the scooters, cannot track the vehicles once they run out of battery.

However, the council insists that instances where scooters run out of battery, as the software disables the e-scooter when it is almost without power.

One of the older models of e-scooter that was available to rent in BucksOne of the older models of e-scooter that was available to rent in Bucks
One of the older models of e-scooter that was available to rent in Bucks

In instances where this does happen the council says Zipp works closely with the police to prosecute offenders.

Alarm was raised when one untracked scooter ended up in the River Wye in High Wycombe in June.

An investigation carried out by Zipp concluded that the scooter was likely stolen, after the last legal user of the rider had failed to end his rental via the app.

That user had contacted the scooter company informing it that he could not cancel his rental.

A e-scooter found dumped in a Bucks riverA e-scooter found dumped in a Bucks river
A e-scooter found dumped in a Bucks river

It is believed that at this point an offender stole the scooter and subsequently dumped it in the Bucks river.

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Previously the company had accepted that issues with the application used to hire and park the scooters had issues, making it hard for users to access the scooters, or discontinue their rides.

The resident has also contacted the company regarding suspected anti-social behaviour on the electric vehicles.

Often issues reported to the scooter company can only be explored after the fact, as people are not monitoring how the scooters are being used once they are rented out.

Zipp said in an email correspondence with the resident that on rare occasions parents have allowed children under 17 to ride the vehicles, something which is against the company’s guidelines that each rider must agree to.

In response to claims that it is too easy for people to ride the vehicles recklessly, the council said: “All e-scooters in the DfT trial are classed as motor vehicles and the same rules (and penalties) apply as if driving a car. The only difference is where they can be ridden, as e-scooters can use dedicated cycle paths and shared-use footways. With each e-scooter being tracked, Zipp are able to give the police detailed information about dangerous riding; including the location, time, and name / address of the renter. Zipp can also ban that renter from using their system in the future. Aylesbury has an extensive network of shared-use footways, where e-scooters are legally allowed to be ridden. The small blue signs indicating the shared-use paths can sometimes be missed by people reporting pavement riding in these locations.”

"When signing up to the Zipp system, riders are required to undertake an online training programme to understand the rules of riding the e-scooters. Zipp regularly message users through the App with specific campaigns, as well as holding in-person events,” the council adds.

"Buckinghamshire Council, Zipp and Thames Valley Police are currently working collaboratively on planning campaigns/events for the coming months.”

The resident still feels as if the scooters and Zipp’s process is not up to scratching, stating she feels as if she is a “test crash dummy”, having to endure this trial.

Zeus Scooters, Zipp’s parent company collaborated with the council to provide responses for this article.