Visually Impaired Federation: rules needed for electric scooter “nuisance”

The Federation has partnered with electric scooter company Voi to come up with rules for using the scooters in a more responsible way for visually impaired people.

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Voi scooter in Helsinki, April 2019 / Credit: Henryk Björkström

The Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired Näkövammaisten liitto says that electric scooters are a “nuisance” that don’t belong on pavements, and can be especially hazardous for people with sight impairments.

While the association doesn’t oppose the scooters as a new form of mobility, they got together with one scooter operator Voi to come up with guidelines on how to use them more responsibly.

“The most important thing is that they are used properly. Together with Voi we decided to come up with three rules for electric scooters” explains Juha Sylberg, Accessibility Specialist at Näkövammaisten.

The first rule is to watch your speed, and keep in mind that electric scooters should be used in the bike lanes not on the pedestrian side of the pavement. “A silent electric scooter on the sitewalk is a threat that is difficult for visually impaired people to anticipate” the Federation says.

The second rule is to park the scooters correctly so they don’t become a trip hazard. If you see a scooter abandoned in the road, pick it up. “It only takes a moment and makes life easier for the visually impaired.”

The final piece of advice is to use the bell, since the electric scooters are so silent that visually impaired people might not hear them coming.