In order to make e-scooters more perceptible to other road users, 60 of the small EVs from Voi will be equipped with artificial sound systems in three English cities (Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool). However, the measure is not as unilaterally welcomed as the initiators hoped.
Notably, representatives of the blind and visually impaired community met this measure with opposition: Sarah Gayton of the National Federation of the Blind of the UK (NFBUK) is calling for the tests to be stopped completely. The artificial noise does not create safety. If a blind or partially sighted person heard the noise, they would “probably freeze and stand still, but not be able to avoid it”.
The measure did get some local political support from the seeing community: “It is great to see Voi once again learning from people’s experiences on the road to adapt and change their scheme,” said Andy Street, West Midlands mayor, adding: “The whole point of trialling e-scooters in the West Midlands is to see how best to integrate them into our towns and cities.”