Hair-raising moment bus narrowly misses Voi e-scooter in video showing ‘dangerous’ riding in Bristol

The footage has been taken by a campaigner wanting a trial of Voi e-scooters in Bristol ended

A video of Voi e-scooter riders driving ‘dangerously’ across Bristol, including a shocking near-miss with a double-decker bus, has emerged as the trial is extended in the city for another nine months.

Sarah Gayton, street access campaign co-ordinator at the National Federation of the Blind, captured the footage after travelling to the city to urge political leaders not to extend the scheme due to her concerns over safety.

She told BristolWorld the instances she captured on camera of users pavement riding, double riding and swerving round pedestrians were the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and that she actually saw more examples of riders disregarding the rules while walking around the city.

In the beginning of the video, an e-scooter rider zooms across a pedestrian crossing without looking and is seconds away from getting hit by a double-decker bus.
In the beginning of the video, an e-scooter rider zooms across a pedestrian crossing without looking and is seconds away from getting hit by a double-decker bus.
In the beginning of the video, an e-scooter rider zooms across a pedestrian crossing without looking and is seconds away from getting hit by a double-decker bus.

“Hit a pothole or a curb on one of these scooters and you’d be off, many don’t wear helmets and even when they do they’re not the correct ones,” said Ms Gayton. “I don’t think the scheme is safe and that’s that.”

In one part of the video, an e-scooter rider whizzes through a pedestrian crossing at the Centre without looking and is just seconds away from being hit by a bus.

The footage also captures two people riding on an e-scooter on the busy Bearpit roundabout, both without helmets.

It comes during the same week that the West of England Combined Authority mayor Dan Norris announced he had taken the decision to extend the scheme, as he needed ‘more information’ about the vehicles with regards to safety and fire risks after a huge blaze broke out at the Voi depot in Brislington earlier this year.

Mr Norris told BristolWorld: “The Voi scooters are very quiet and can kind of pop up on the pavement unexpectedly,” he said.

“We’ve heard about people tripping over them when they’re parked, too, and I know there have been instances where people using e-scooters have been injured in Bristol.”

Ms Gayton added: “Cyclists and drivers tend to have cameras these days but not pedestrians, and that’s why I walk round with a camera - these incidents happen very fast and it would be difficult to capture them otherwise.

“I think that the e-scooters are dangerous as they are, but they certainly weren’t made for Bristol due to the way the city is designed.

A pair of ‘double riders’ were captured at the Bearpit roundabout.
A pair of ‘double riders’ were captured at the Bearpit roundabout.
A pair of ‘double riders’ were captured at the Bearpit roundabout.

“There are a lot of shared-space pavements in the city that see pedestrians using the same routes as cyclists, and that now includes e-scooters.

“The Centre is a disaster. Pedestrians have to navigate a busy cycle lane, which is now thronged with e-scooters as well, in order to get to the crossings - that’s insanity to me and it wouldn’t pass through planning regulations now.

“For visually impaired people, the e-scooters are difficult to hear, users have been known to drive over peoples’ canes in other cities and they’re also a trip hazard as they’re parked up on pavements.

“There’s a bit in the video where a male on an e-scooter is travelling down a hill and he clearly expects a pedestrian to get out of the way. What if that man couldn’t see?”

An e-scooter rider is caught in the video riding on the pavement, which is not allowed, precariously close to a pedestrian.
An e-scooter rider is caught in the video riding on the pavement, which is not allowed, precariously close to a pedestrian.
An e-scooter rider is caught in the video riding on the pavement, which is not allowed, precariously close to a pedestrian.

What are the rules?

  • Voi scooter riders must have a provisional driving licence and be at least 18 years old
  • It’s still illegal to ride a privately-owned scooter, unless on private land - only e-scooters that are hired or leased through the WECA trial can be used legally on roads, cycle lanes or cycle tracks.
  • E-scooters are not allowed to be used on pavements.
  • It’s compulsory to wear a cycle helmet but the Government advises it - and also recommends hi-vis clothing.
  • The Government speed limit is 12.5mph but in the trial the scooters do not exceed 10mph.
  • Double-riding on an e-scooter is not permitted and is dangerous as it can throw the rider controlling the vehicle off balance.