One of the UK’s leading, and most outspoken, newspaper columnists has told the Highways News podcast Highways Voices that if you were designing a recipe for injury in busy town and city centres, you couldn’t come up with a better one than e-scooters.
Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens appeared on Highways Voices to add detail to recent comments in the paper where he wrote that claims e-scooters are a green solution “is such obvious bilge that only a fanatic could believe it.”
“I find very worrying that they are spreading so fast, and nobody seems to be paying attention to the dangers that they pose,” Mr Hitchens told the podcast. “I happen also to be very sceptical about electric bicycles, which have also become much more common. Having spent 40 years taking part in campaigns for special bicycle lanes separate from traffic, to find them being invaded by what are in effect electric motorbikes which I regard as a danger to all the ordinary cyclists… I'm just astonished that large social and transport changes are taking place almost entirely without public discussion.”
Mr Hitchens insisted that e-scooters do not fit in with an active travel solution because that would involve making “a bit of an effort, rather than twisting a throttle.”
In the interview he does describe his views on transport as “quite radical” explaining, “I think the the invention of the motorcar was probably one of the greatest tragedies to afflict mankind and the enormous overuse of private motor cars has been a disaster for civilisations, which I think could have developed much better without them.
“The redesigning of cities and lives around a device which if used according to the manufacturer's instructions will make its uses ill - a very strange diversion from a civilisation which up until then had been developing much more in the direction of electric trams and electric railways, which I think would have been a much, much better direction to take supplemented, of course, by walking.”
He concludes his interview discussing improvements to transport saying, “whatever you do, there is no problem to which electric scooters are the answer.”
In the podcast you’ll also hear who wins this week’s “Adrian’s Accolade” and get details from Darren Capes of the Transport Technology Forum about how Local Authorities can claim their share of £15 million to repair and upgrade their traffic signals.