Bird e scooters branded lethal after Sarah Carter, 80, injured in hit-and-run in Canterbury

An 80-year-old woman has branded e scooters “lethal” after a hit-and-run rider smashed into her on the pavement – leaving her with a broken wrist, and cracked jaw and cheekbone.

Retired university librarian Sarah Carter is now at home recovering from her injuries following the incident in Station Road West, Canterbury.

She was crashed into by a young man riding a Bird rental e scooter and is now calling for a rethink of the city-based trial scheme before it ends in a tragedy.

“I was sent flying to the ground and it’s only fortunate that I’m very fit for my age and did not suffer a broken hip or head injury,” said Mrs Carter, who lives in the city centre.

“But it has left me in a lot of pain and I’m not confident I will get back to where I was before.

“Another elderly person could have quite easily been even more seriously injured or even killed.”

Sarah Carter recovering at home (58231405)

Mrs Carter was hit during the afternoon of July 1 as she walked along the road towards the Goods Shed to buy some groceries.

Witnesses say the e scooter rider came flying out of the entrance to flats above Sainsbury’s.

“I remember looking up to see a young man who mumbled some apology,” said Mrs Carter.

“But when others gathered around and came to help me, he vanished.

“I am very grateful to those who did come to my aid, including a doctor who happened to be passing.”

Sarah Carter's facial injuries after she was hit by an e scooter in Canterbury.  Picture: Sarah Carter
Sarah Carter’s facial injuries after she was hit by an e scooter in Canterbury. Picture: Sarah Carter

Mrs Carter, who is a grandmother to four children, was taken by ambulance to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, where she spent five hours in A&E having her injuries sustained and undergoing surgery.

She now has a heavy cast on her right arm and is having to make costly return visits to hospital by taxi.

“I can’t write properly or draw, let alone do my garden, which is making life very frustrating and I expect to continue to suffer in the longer term,” she said.

In March, it was confirmed Bird’s e scooter trial has been extended by Kent County Council until November. The scooters can travel up to 15mph but there are variable limits around the city.

But Mrs Carter says it is ill-conceived and believes that e scooters are “lethal”.

Sarah Carter's broken wrist after the collision - she spent five hours in A&E at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.  Picture: Sarah Carter
Sarah Carter’s broken wrist after the collision – she spent five hours in A&E at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. Picture: Sarah Carter

“Although I can see the possible environmental benefit, the scheme is just not working,” she said.

“No infrastructure has been put in place and it’s just irresponsible of the county council.”

A spokesperson for Bird says the rider was immediately identified and blocked from using the service.

“Our thoughts are with the individual who was injured as we continue to work closely with them and our city partners to provide the support needed at this time,” they added.

“Whilst one incident is too many, we estimate that one in five eligible Canterbury residents have ridden our scooters since the trial started almost two years ago and safety incidents remain extremely rare.

A number of Bird e scooters were left strewn across Station Road West, Canterbury, in September 2021. Picture: Sian Pettman
A number of Bird e scooters were left strewn across Station Road West, Canterbury, in September 2021. Picture: Sian Pettman

“We remain deeply committed to educating our Canterbury riders on safe riding via our in-person training days, on-street advertisements, police patrol and clear in-app messaging.”

The company is working closely with police to share the details of the rider.

Officers are aware of the incident and are investigating.

A Kent County Council spokesman added: “Officers have been made aware of a collision within the electric scooter trial zone in Canterbury and our thoughts are with the person who was injured.

“After liaising with the Department for Transport, we continue to work with our partner Bird, which provides the vehicles for this trial, to ensure warnings to drivers are clear and breaches are taken seriously.”

City councillors Nick Eden-Green and Pip Hazelton have now taken up Mrs Carter’s case, as has county councillor Alister Brady.

In November 2020, an e scooter rider crashed into a woman from behind on the pavement in St Thomas’s Hill leaving her with a broken leg and arm.

Politics student Joshua Mpia, 19, was charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving without a license and given a suspended prison sentence.

He was riding a personally-owned machine which are not allowed to be ridden on the road or pavement, unlike Bird e scooters which have special dispensation to do so.

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