A WARNING has been issued by a Leamington sight loss charity after one of its trainee pups was nearly hit by an e-scooter.
Guide Dogs, which has a training school in Warwick New Road, has been raising awareness of the problems e-scooters create for people with sight loss for some time. But now the organisation is warning they could cause problems for guide dogs too after a trainee dog named India was nearly hit by an e-scooter outside the centre.
They say the centre’s proximity to the town centre makes Leamington a hot spot for guide dog training. And with increasing reports of illegal e-scooter use, the charity fears trainee guide dogs could be put at risk of injury or delays as a result of an e-scooter accident.
Spokesman Graham Kensett said: “We know that e-scooters have led to people with sight loss being injured, either through collisions or abandoned e-scooters creating a trip hazard.
“With our guide dog training now back to full capacity since lockdown has eased, there’s the added concern that e-scooters pose a risk to our trainee guide dogs, particularly in areas where we have flagship centres like Leamington.
“Our Leamington centre is our oldest training centre in the UK and a vital hub for guide dog training in the Midlands.
“We’ve already had a report of a near miss, where one of our trainee dogs was nearly hit by an oncoming e-scooter just down the road from our centre. Thankfully the dog and trainer were unaffected, but if a collision had occurred, this could have resulted in the dog being withdrawn from training due to injury or trauma.
“We’re working hard to catch up with our guide dog training now that lockdown restrictions are easing, but we need an external environment that allows us to do this safely.”
Using a privately-owned e-scooter on public roads is illegal and could lead to a fine or licence points.
Despite this, Christmas 2020 saw many retailers offering deals on e-scooters, with stores such reporting sales of e-scooters were up by 450 percent.
The charity is urging those using e-scooters as part of a trial, to stick to roads and dedicated cycle lanes, and to park them sensibly.