Stakeholders from disability and accessibility sectors have joined with TIER, Europe’s largest e-scooter operator, to launch an Ireland Safety Board to raise safety standards in the Irish e-scooter market ahead of the Government’s plans to legalize the vehicles.
Representatives from the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) and the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) are among the senior independent experts in road safety, accessibility, and visual impairment who will be represented on the Board, which will hold its first meeting in May.
The Board, which will be chaired by TIER’s Regional General Manager for Northern Europe, Fred Jones, will meet quarterly to scrutinize TIER’s approach to safety and responsible operations. Alongside this, the Board will explore best safety practices from other sectors, and advocate for new, industry-wide safety measures to ensure that e-scooters are incorporated into Ireland’s transport mix smoothly and safely.
The announcement follows news that TIER will be collaborating with Smart Dublin, Luna Systems, and Insight DCU on the first e-scooter trial in Ireland, serving Dublin City University’s five campuses across North Dublin initially and then, as legislation allows, connecting those campuses. Among a range of focus areas, the ground-breaking project will explore how e-scooters in Ireland can bring about a modal shift from private cars, so reducing congestion and pollution, as well as how sensors can be used to enhance safety for both users and the wider public.
Sitting on the board will be:
- John Dolan, CEO of Disability Federation of Ireland and former Senator
- Chantelle Smith, Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist, NCBI
- Bob Gilbert, Chair of Transport Working Group, Age Friendly Ireland
- Bronwen Thornton, CEO of Walk21 Foundation
- Commenting on the launch, Fred Jones said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see the Irish Government preparing to legalize e-scooters on roads. TIER’s Ireland Safety Board will work to play a key role in shaping safety practices in the Irish market as it grows.
“To make a success of e-scooters in Ireland, the industry must listen to the concerns and advice of a range of different groups, road users, and communities across the country. We look forward to working with the Board and supporting the Government and cities in the coming months.”
Chantelle Smith, National Access & Mobility Manager, NCBI said: “NCBI is pleased to be part of TIER’s Ireland Safety Board and welcome its commitment to listening to the voice of people who are blind and vision-impaired and other vulnerable pedestrians who have concerns about e-scooters. We hope this will be a valuable contribution to the national debate about micro-mobility and making streets safe for all.”
John Dolan, CEO, Disability Federation of Ireland, said: “I welcome the opportunity from TIER to be in a position to ensure that its developments in Ireland support and enhance safety and participation by persons with disabilities using the public realm – and that their voice will be continuously heard.”
Bob Gilbert, Chair of Transport Working Group, Age Friendly Ireland, said: “I look forward to playing a role in ensuring that the highest possible safety standards are applied to the introduction of e-scooters onto the Irish market. I am particularly looking forward to exploring how they can be safely used by an adventurous older cohort as a means of transport.”
Bronwen Thornton, CEO, Walk21 Foundation, said: “Walk21 is committed to a sustainable transport system that gives people choice and opportunity to travel emissions-free and as safely and actively as possible. We support the allocation of space and proactive management of these new vehicles to encourage people out of their cars and onto their feet. We look forward to working with this Board and others in Ireland to protect space for pedestrians while supporting streets that are quieter, cleaner, and more accessible for everyone.”