The Malta Independent 30 September 2022, Friday
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Dangerous driving by e-scooter users 'represents serious danger to visually impaired' - foundation

Wednesday, 10 August 2022, 10:19 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Malta Guide Dogs Foundation, which trains visually-impaired persons to become independent in their mobility through the use of the white cane and guide dogs, has aired a number of concerns over e-scooters.

The Foundation believes that the introduction of e-scooters in Malta can be seen as a positive development, only if the rules applicable to their use are improved and properly enforced. "However, this has not been the case so far, as evidenced by numerous complaints received from the visually-impaired. In fact, the dangerous driving and the careless abandonment of scooters cause inaccessibility and represents a serious danger to the visually impaired, who move around on their own with the support of a white cane or a guide dog."

The foundation said that it "fully supports the recent position taken by a number of local councils in Malta against the inappropriate manner that scooters are being used."

In order to mitigate and possibly eliminate this negative effect on the visually-impaired, the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation highlighted a number of points that need to be urgently addressed.

"Since scooters are silent, these should make an acoustic signal, such as hooting the horn and also slow down when approaching a visually-impaired person aided by a white cane or a guide dog," the foundation said.

"Scooters should not be carelessly abandoned on footpaths and pedestrian areas, so as to block the way, adding to the many other obstacles that unfortunately already exist."

The foundation also said that the authorities need to enhance enforcement and see that the use of scooters does not impinge on the safety and independence of visually-impaired persons.

"Unless these points are quickly addressed, the risk is that many visually-impaired will increasingly feel discouraged to go out on their own! Consequently, the precious work performed by the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation so far and which gave such persons a greater degree of independence in their mobility, simply risks being lost."

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