Readers' Letters: Electric scooter dreams may prove nightmare

Last Saturday, my companion and I were enjoying a peaceful walk through Pollok Park in Glasgow when an e-scooter whizzed past from behind on our left. No warning, not even the tinkle of a bell.

A couple ride an electric scooter in a cycle lane through Manchester city centre (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A couple ride an electric scooter in a cycle lane through Manchester city centre (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

My understanding is that the operator of the scooter was acting illegally by driving it through a public park busy with families, dog walkers and people enjoying a pleasant afternoon. It was with some dismay that, on returning home, I read Richard Dilks’ enthusiastic endorsement of such means of transport and his eager anticipation of legislation that would greatly increase their numbers (Perspective, May 7). Leaving aside the impracticalities of much of his vision for the future, such as me bringing home the weekly shopping from the supermarket balanced on the handlebars, there are many other issues that he ignores.

While the majority of cyclists behave responsibly, we are all aware of those who go through red lights or think nothing of using the pavements whenever they feel so inclined. My fear is that users of e-scooters, if permitted on roads, would not be content with travelling there and would soon gravitate to the pavements, endangering their use by pedestrians. Motorcyclists are required to have insurance and to exhibit registration plates. If use of roads is to be extended to e-scooters, surely it is only right that they should also carry some form of identification so that, in the event of their acting illegally, they can be identified and reported to the police or other appropriate authority.

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This would offer some protection to those of us travelling on foot. Furthermore, just as motor vehicles are obliged by law to have a working horn installed, so it should be an offence for all other means of transport, including bicycles, not to have audible warning systems. Also, an age limit for e-scooters should be established.

Let Mr Dilks have his dreams, but let’s make sure that they are not more harmful than beneficial

Bill Greenock, Netherlee, East Renfrewshire

Few targets

Richard Dilks writes that e-scooter trials have been hugely popular. He obviously has not spoken to the 2,000 people injured by e-scooters or the relatives of the 11 who died in e-scooter incidents. What about asking pedestrians what they think of e-scooters taking over the pavements and the police doing nothing?

Obviously, no article is complete without the compulsory mention of climate change. In this case Mr Dilks writes "help governments achieve their legally enshrined climate change targets". Actually, only five countries have legally enshrined targets, the rest only made promises and promises are easily broken – as we are seeing less than six months after COP26.

To drive on the roads one needs a licence so e-scooters should be no different, but they should also have an e-scooter licence. In the event of an accident or riding on pedestrian areas both should be suspended for a year. Those overriding the 15.5 mph limiter should be banned from the roads for two years. The Department of Transport is to launch a consultation on legalising e-scooters later this year. Strange that consultations always get the results they want.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

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Faith, not hate

Susan Dalgety's article “What's driving this war on women” (Perspective, 7 May) paints a grossly oversimplified viewpoint on opposition to liberalised abortion laws. Labelling those opposed to abortion women-haters is about as valid as labelling those wanting greater liberalisation as being in favour of infanticide.Many of us have a deeply held religious faith, which holds that God is the author of human life. As that is the case, human life is sacred and we consider that we do not have the right to end that God-given gift of life except for the most serious reasons. As a Catholic I hold the highly controversial view that human life begins at the moment of conception so killing a foetus is an offence against the author of life.While there are probably some in the pro-life movement who are driven by authoritarian motives, the majority are motivated by a love of God and a desire for society to follow His law. That is not going to be a belief that sits well in our post-Christian society but it is a very long way from a hatred of women.Abortion is always going to be a complex, divisive and deeply emotive issue. While reconciliation of opposing viewpoints is going to be almost impossible, it is incumbent on all sides to maintain a proper respect for those holding different views – an idea more often honoured in the breach in discussions or actions on this issue.

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Nicholas Martin, Pathhead, Midlothian

Enough lies

Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff in Downing Street, responds to the Beergate saga by advising Labour leaders to simply say: “Boris tells lies, Starmer did not.”

Here, in just a few words, is the problem of 21st-century Labour – they believe in keeping things simple. The issue is profound, not simple. By treating Beergate as equivalent to Partygate the Tories concerned make a mockery of democracy.

The real point is that Boris Johnson persistently lied to Parliament and has accepted lying to Parliament from several of his ministers.

His economical use of the truth hasn't just been on small matters, either, and it accounts for the reason the more decent Tories spilt from him some time ago. As Foreign Minister in the May government Boris wanted to have the Irish border issue finessed. The puzzle be had to solve was: “When is a Brexit-created border not a border?” The answer he came up with was: “When it's an oven-ready protocol'.

All over the world, right wing governments have been undermining democracy by making lies palatable. The best example of that is Putin's Russia. But those who undermine democracy with impunity may well (like Putin) end up being prisoners in the small world they have successfully created.

Andrew Vass, Corbiehill Place, Edinburgh

Power point

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Frances Scott claimed that Hinkley Point C, the new nuclear power station being built in Somerset, is one of several major projects in England funded by UK taxpayers, including those in Scotland (Letters, 9 May).They are mistaken. This project is funded by EDF (Électricité de France) and CGN (China General Nuclear Power Group). In effect, it is being funded by French and Chinese taxpayers.Moreover, its cost overrun is estimated to be £2.9 billion, not £5bn, and it has yet to be determined how delayed the completion will be.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh


The SNP deputy leader at Westminster, Kirsten Oswald, has produced the latest version of “Indyref 2 is coming” by saying the local council results have shown there was “a real appetite” for a fresh vote.

She called this a “cranking up” for indyref 2 which, of course, means little. For just how long can the SNP find new words that sound convincing but mean nothing? No matter how you interpret the figures from the local elections there is still no majority for winning an independence referendum and those figures that the SNP/Greens currently have will inevitably fall as the true cost of independence is spelled out.

The more interesting question is: What will happen to Nicola Sturgeon’s "cranked-up" leadership when she fails to deliver in 2023.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow


Reflecting on the outcome of the Local elections in Scotland, notably only 1 in 7 of the voting public voted SNP.

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But the fact is that the SNP obsession with centralisation and control from Holyrood runs totally counter to their proclaimed belief in independence.

Local councils are hamstrung by Holyrood budgeting and financial administration, so my question to SNP supporters would be: Why is it better for policing, education and infrastructure locally to be controlled by politicians in Edinburgh who care so little for local issues?

In olden times of our County Council structure, I cannot remember so many failures in road maintenance, the NHS or educational management.

The conclusion has to be that the SNP obsession with conceptual independence and its propaganda to gain support for the obsession has done Scotland down over the past 14-plus years.

The expense to taxpayers of maintaining the Holyrood talking shop would be far better utilised if it was saved and distributed to local councils, pro-rata the size of local populations,

Derek Farmer Anstruther, Fife

Parties picture

Local elections may have delivered the predictable censure to the Conservative and Unionist Party in power at Westminster. Unfortunately they have such a big majority they are in a position to thole that while avoiding the consequences of the latest inflation figures and letting the poorest pay.

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The SNP in Holyrood seem content to say it is all the Tories' fault and not present a real alternative view for the future of an independent Scotland that could motivate the mobilisation necessary to secure and then win another referendum.

Jeremy Corbyn, while denying self-determination, for Scotland might have argued for a different Britain.

At present every kind of mainstream politician correctly supports self-determination for Ukraine while it battles with the new imperial Czar Putin.

Unfortunately, only socialists in Scotland seem to oppose Nato's Trident missile-armed nuclear submarines and argue for universal free school meals, universal free public transport and a living wage for all easily paid for by taxing the rich and the oil companies' profits.

Norman Lockhart, Innerleithen, Scottish Borders

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